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Best private colleges in Montana

Written by:
April 2, 2024
Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

Best private colleges in Montana

Almost all the oldest universities in the United States are private colleges. Harvard and St. John's College, for example, were founded before the 18th century and boast alumni and founders, respectively, who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Stacker compiled a list of the best private colleges in Montana, using data from Niche released in 2024. Niche ranks schools based on a variety of factors including academics, value for money, professors, campus, and diversity.

Private institutions today remain distinguished from other types of institutions by their source of funding. While public colleges and universities are at least partially subsidized by state government funding, private institutions are funded by tuition dollars, endowments, grants, and donations. As a result, private schools tend to be more expensive: The average tuition for full-time in-state undergraduate students at public four-year colleges was $11,260, and $29,150 for out-of-state students in 2023, while average tuition for students attending private four-year institutions was $41,540, according to the College Board's 2023 Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report.

Private and public schools play important roles in the postsecondary landscape, offering top-tier education and valuable opportunities outside the classroom. But some characteristics of private institutions—namely size, reputation, and flexibility—make them more appealing to prospective students.

Private colleges, which tend to be more selective, generally offer smaller class sizes and, by extension, more direct instruction and support. Large lectures with around 100 students are more of an exception at private schools when compared to public colleges. Private colleges may also attract more distinguished faculty based on prestige.

While the quality of education received at private institutions is not necessarily better than what students receive at public schools, graduates from more selective colleges with name recognition generally tend to have higher earnings, according to a study on earnings outcomes by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The study also notes, however, that within specific majors, the institution that a student attends can have a significant effect on earnings outcomes. For students entering college without a well-defined idea of what discipline they want to pursue, the flexibility to explore various subjects at a liberal arts institution often makes private colleges an appealing option.

Read on to see the highest-ranked private colleges in Montana.

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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#3. Carroll College

- Location: Helena, MT
- Acceptance rate: 84%
- Net price: $24,285
- SAT range: 1100-1280
- Niche grade:  B-
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#2. Rocky Mountain College

- Location: Billings, MT
- Acceptance rate: 81%
- Net price: $19,726
- SAT range: 950-1180
- Niche grade:  B-
A group of college students working on their laptops.
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#1. University of Providence

- Location: Great Falls, MT
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- Net price: $22,801
- SAT range: 1140-1280
- Niche grade:  B-

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin, additional writing by Lauren Liebhaber, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 46 states.

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