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Juniors and seniors in high school who participate in CodeMontana this year will be able to receive college credit through Montana Tech, the company announced Thursday.

Launched last fall, CodeMontana is a company that allows middle and high school students across Montana to learn a computer programming curriculum for free through a 90-day online program.

“Our goal is to let students know there are good-paying jobs here in Montana for people with a computer science degree,” Greg Gianforte, one of the company’s co-founders, said.

The curriculum will still be offered for free, but anyone wishing to receive three college credits will need to pay a $148.74 tuition fee. Students receiving credit will be able to chat with a Montana Tech professor to address any questions, Gianforte said.

The computer science class is on the Montana University System course credit list, and students who attend college at any MUS campus will be able to transfer the credit from Montana Tech, Gianforte said.

Credit will be offered during both fall and spring semesters this year. The last day to register for course credit this fall will be Sept. 8.

“Students with aspirations to go into the Computer Science career field are an incredible asset to Montana and students who take advantage of CodeMontana’s coursework are a great addition to Montana’s Computer Science programs,” Montana Tech computer science department head Jeff Braun said in a statement.

In addition to credit, Montana Tech is offering a $4,000 scholarship to students who complete 100 percent of the CodeMontana curriculum. To qualify, the student must be entering into computer science or software engineering and have an ACT score of at least 24.

In its first year, 1,200 high school students participated in CodeMontana.

“It was sort of like giving a glass of water to a thirsty man in the desert,” Gianforte said.

Gianforte said he and co-founder Rob Irizarry started CodeMontana after noticing a need for computer science degrees in Montana. According to Gianforte, only a few Montana high schools offer computer science classes, so they found and paid for curriculum online in order to offer it to students for free.

Gianforte said the curriculum is like giving students a superpower, because “this allows them to actually create technology.”

Montana Tech saw three times the number of students enroll in computer science courses for this fall, and Montana State University Dean of Engineering Brett Gunnink said he frequently hears from prospective students who have participated in CodeMontana.

CodeMontana has a goal of enrolling 5,000 students in its program this year. To learn more or to register a student for the curriculum, visit

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