Students across the university system will be hosting rallies on Tuesday, February 26 to encourage increased support for higher education in the state.

Here in Missoula, ASUM President Alex Butler said there will be rallies in Missoula and Bozeman.

“We’re a part of a statewide day of action to support higher education funding,” said Butler. “Our campus, along with MSU and other campuses will be hosting rallies and other events across the state on Tuesday, and our effort is to draw attention to restoring investment to higher education. Our whole message is to show the state that students educated in the state stay here and continue to work and give back to their communities.”

Butler outlined some of the events planned for the Missoula campus.

“Here at UM from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. we are going to hold a rally in the UC atrium,” he said. “I will speak and give some broad context as to where we are now and historically where we’ve been with regards to higher education funding. Then, the students will tell their stories, whether it’s about the tuition waivers and financial aid they’ve received, or their plans to graduate and go back into their communities. We’ll also have Mariah Welch, who is the President of the Montana Associated Students will share here story and advocate to all the students across the state.”

Butler said the level of state support has dropped dramatically over the pest several years forcing a much higher burden on students and their families to pay for their education.

“In 1992 the support was in the mid 70 percent for how much the state was allocating to universities, while today the support is from 38 to 39 percent, so that decrease in state support has now led to massive increases across the backs of students,” he said. “We’re advocating for not only the tuition freeze and the $24 million buyback, but we’re also pushing to restore the $5 million in need-based state aid.”

The rally will be from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in the University Center atrium, and the public is invited to attend.