BIG SANDY — Following his push to secure funding for minority-serving institutions as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that Montana Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and other higher education institutions that serve low-income students will receive $9,132,440 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding is provided to help higher education institutions cover operational costs, build IT capacity, and continue supporting students as they practice distance learning throughout the public health crisis. Following negotiations of the CARES Act, Tester successfully fought to include support for TCUs and other minority-serving institutions that was previously excluded from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s original version of the legislation. 

“Now more than ever, it’s critical that Montana’s higher education institutions—especially those serving our Tribes and low-income populations—have the tools they need to weather this crisis,” said Tester. “This funding will ensure that our TCUs, community colleges, and other institutions of higher learning are able to cover operational costs and continue cultivating the next generations of Montana leaders.”

Of the funding, $8,417,240 is provided by the Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to be split between seven TCUs and seven additional higher education institutions. The remaining $715,380 is awarded to three institutions as part of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund:

· Salish Kootenai College - $3,084,156

· Blackfeet Community College - $993,649 

· Chief Dull Knife College - $455,345

· Stone Child College - $956,585 

· Fort Peck Community College - $681,360 

· Aaniiih Nakoda College - $456,371 

· Little Big Horn College - $1,006,602

· Helena Community College - $33,811

· Montana State University Billings - $108,011

· Montana Technological University - $83,553

· University of Providence - $18,696

· University of Montana - $377,984

· University of Montana-Western - $57,093

· Montana State University Northern - $104,024

Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education:

· Dawson Community College - $357,669

· Miles Community College - $253,222

· University of Providence - $104,309

As a former teacher and school board member, Tester has been fighting tooth and nail to ensure Montana students have the resources they need to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, he announced more than $41 million for Montana K-12 schools to help meet the needs of students as they transition to online learning. Earlier this month, he announced that the Montana Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund would receive more than $8.7 million in funding to bolster education in the state. Additionally, Tester introduced bipartisan legislation to provide $2 billion in funding for rural communities in an effort to keep internet service available and affordable for low-income families in underserved areas. 

Visit for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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