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Higher ed expert offers insight, slams Montana's financial aid practices

February 4, 2013View for printing

"We're in a death spiral -- that is, our universities are turning away from the state, and the state is turning away from the universities," Mortenson said. "It's not in the interest of either the state or the universities to pursue this, but that's the kind of consequence of this kind of practice."

"Shifting the cost of higher education from taxpayers to students when you know a growing share of your population is low-income and can't afford even the first dollar of higher education ..." Mortenson said, pausing for effect and hitting himself on the forehead. "I'd use stronger language, but I think that serves."

A scholar specializing in higher education policy offered insight based on decades of research and ripped the track record of Montana's financial aid system Thursday during the Student Assistance Foundation's Montana College Affordability Summit.

"I'm kicking shins a little bit right now," said keynote speaker Thomas G. Mortenson to an audience of about 50 people gathered at the Great Northern Hotel for the summit. "You've been coasting along for at least 20 years in Montana. It's about time you wake up."

By EDDIE GREGG Independent Record

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