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Carroll announces a new grant program

Luke Jensen, 18, a senior at Butte Central High School, gives his contact information to John Cech, the president of Carroll College, as Jensen and his father Rick sit down to a PowerPoint presentation about the Helena-based Roman Catholic university.

At Butte Central High School Thursday afternoon, Carroll College officials announced a new grant opportunity for Montana’s Catholic seniors.

In fall 2019, Carroll will offer free on-campus housing for up to 30 students through their new Montana Catholic High School Room Grant, made possible through donor and benefactor contributions. The grant could deduct nearly $10,000 per year for four years from the tuition of Montana Catholic high school seniors.

To keep the grant all four years, potential winners must meet a few requirements, like live in one of three halls on campus and remain a full-time student.

During the announcement in Butte Central’s auditorium, Carroll College President John Cech said research shows students who live on campus have higher GPAs and graduation rates. Cech said this research influenced the room grant and another program Carroll is looking to launch: four years of free tuition for the top Catholic seniors from every public and private high school in the state that apply to the college, if they live and eat on campus.

The 2018-19 cost of attendance for full-time students including estimated book fees and personal and transportation expenses is $49,988 annually, according to the Carroll website. Overall, college representatives showed that 99 percent of the college’s students receive financial aid, and the average annual gift package is $21,299. The room grant and potential free tuition program would add to that.

Cech also noted before the presentation that Carroll College was the first Roman Catholic institution for higher education in the state, and many of its founding members came from the Butte and Anaconda area.

“Butte is a part of our college’s heritage. We have an affinity for and connection with the community, especially Butte Central,” Cech said.

According to Principal J.P. Williams, seven of Central’s 24 seniors have already applied to Carroll College. With the room grant announcement, he has encouraged all seniors to apply to the school.

“With this grant and the other awards Carroll offers, like Merit Scholarships, students could get over half of their tuition bill paid for. That’s not even counting outside scholarships,” Williams said.

The scholarship announcement at Central is part of the Butte Catholic high school’s efforts to better connect with state colleges.

Williams said he has reached out to Tech, Carroll, Montana State, and the University of Montana in hopes they will create partnerships with Central.

Williams wants to focus on establishing these colleges as four schools graduating students feel like they have a shot at attending — academically and financially.

So far, Williams said Central administrators have dual credit courses through Montana Tech planned for next year, and last Thursday, the whole high school took a field trip to Carroll College.

“After reaching out to colleges, it seems like they’ve been waiting to make partnerships with Butte Central,” Williams said. “Creating these partnerships will benefit kids and cities because they will keep Montana kids in Montana.”

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