(1) Prior to a determination by the department as to the amount of funding an individual should receive for the cost of tuition, an individual must apply for and pursue a federal Pell Education Grant.
(2) The department will only provide funding for the cost of tuition for a client at the program of higher education, community/junior college, vocational school, technical school or institute, or hospital school of nursing that the department determines is the most cost effective.
(3) The department, except as provided in (3)(a) and (b), provides funding for the cost of tuition for an individual at a public or private program of higher education up to but not exceeding the highest tuition charge in the Montana university system.
(a) The department provides funding for the cost of tuition to a program of higher education that is more expensive than the highest tuition in the Montana university system if the department determines that the program is not available otherwise or that the overall cost of attendance to the department inclusive of tuition, room and board, texts and supplies at the program with the more expensive tuition will be less than the overall cost of attendance at the program in the Montana university system.
(b) For tuition to a nationally recognized program, designed and staffed for persons with severe disabilities, the department provides funding for the cost of tuition.