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Montana Tech and CodeMontana Partnering to Increase Student Numbers in the CS & SE Programs

$160,000 in scholarships available to students interested in Computer Science and/or Software Engineering

BUTTE, MT – Montana Tech and CodeMontana are teaming up to offer $160,000 in scholarships over the next three years to students interested in enrolling in the Computer Science and/or Software Engineering degree programs at Montana Tech.

At the Montana Economic Development Summit held on the Montana Tech campus in September, RightNow Technologies founder Greg Gianforte announced CodeMontana, an initiative to teach Montana high school students computer programming through an online software development curriculum. The program is designed to expose high school students to computer science in an engaging way. The goal is to prepare Montana students for technology careers here in Montana and to introduce 1,000 math and science savvy Montana students to computer science in its first year.

"This generous scholarship opportunity from Montana Tech for Montana high school students will brighten the future for many,” added Gianforte. “We have far more high paying jobs in Montana for computer science majors than we have graduates because not enough of our young people are pursuing this field of study. These Montana Tech scholarships, in conjunction with CodeMontana, hopefully will change that." 

To help these students pursue higher education, Montana Tech is offering forty $4,000 scholarships over the next two years to students interested in studying Computer Science and/or Software Engineering at Montana Tech. The scholarships will be awarded to students who have completed the first four modules of the CodeHS online curriculum, which for Montana high school students can be accessed free for 90 days by joining the CodeMontana Program (http://www.codemontana.org). High school students outside of Montana are eligible for the scholarship, but need to join CodeHS (http://www.codehs.com) as an individual if their high school is not using the CodeHS curriculum.

“We are thrilled to partner with CodeMontana on this very important initiative,” added Jeff Braun, department head of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Montana Tech. “Computer Science and Software Engineering careers are consistently ranked in the top 10 with starting salaries for college graduates between $50,000 and $85,000. We feel students that complete these CodeHS modules will be well prepared for our curriculum and this scholarship will make a positive impact across Montana.”

By 2020 it is estimated that there will be one million more jobs than computer science graduates in this country, according to code.org. Also, Computer Science degrees result in the highest paid jobs, yet only 2.4% of college graduates nationally received degrees in computer science, and the percentage is lower in Montana. Compounding the problem, 9 out of 10 high schools nationally do not even offer computer programming classes.

CodeMontana participants access an engaging, self-paced online curriculum--developed by two Computer Science graduates from Stanford University--that teaches them the basics of software development. Participants then compete for $10,000 worth of prizes while learning how to program.

To become eligible for the Montana Tech scholarships, students must complete the first four CodeHS modules: Programming with Karel, Basic Javascript and Graphics, Animation and Games, and Basic Data Structures, including all challenge problems in each module. Students must then be admitted to Montana Tech as a first time freshman majoring in Computer Science and/or Software Engineering with an ACT Math score of 24 or higher or SAT Math score of 590 or higher.

A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded each semester for the first four regular academic semesters as long as the recipient continues to make progress in the computer science or software engineering curriculum and maintains a B average. The first scholarships will be awarded on March 1st and must be accepted within 30 days. Additional scholarships will be awarded on April 1st and May 1st, provided scholarships are still available. To apply, students can sign-up at http://cs.mtech.edu/codemt.

Montana Tech offers many additional scholarships, including the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and Advantage scholarships that can save out-of-state students up to $8,850 per year.

For more information, please contact Jeff Braun at 406-496-4206 or visit http://cs.mtech.edu/codemt.