At the Montana Board of Regents meeting in Billings on Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner Tyler Trevor took the board through a lengthy presentation of the 2018-2019 overall budget, which totals nearly $1 billion.

Looking back at the tuition freeze program that lasted a decade, Trevor said it was the right move at the time.

“If you think about the tuition freeze not happening, and $74 million not being added to our base to support those resident students, that’s in our base going forward right now,” said Trevor. “Imagine if it wasn’t and we had to fight every one of those years and we kept that same trajectory that we had going on from 1992 to 2005, we’d have tuition that would be double the amount we have right now to support this enterprise.”

Trevor said, overall, the Montana University System enrollment is forecast to drop slightly.

“Fall ends up being a really good indicator of what your fiscal year enrollment will be,” he said. “We budgeted for a decline of 1.5 percent, and as of Sunday we were 3.3 percent down, so we might be seeing a little less enrollment than we had originally anticipated.”

Specifically, University of Montana enrollment 2018 versus 2019 is forecast to be down about 6.9 percent to a total of 9,207 students. By comparison, in fiscal year 2015, enrollment was at 11,824. The official enrollment numbers are not tabulated until after the 15th day of classroom instruction.

Enrollment officials said they planned for a decline of a little over five percent.