On Friday the Montana Law Enforcement Academy announced their partnership with the Missoula College regarding students earning a degree upon graduating from basic training. Missoula College Dean Shannon O’Brien said this has been a long time coming.

"We do have an exciting opportunity for those folks who are going in to serve and protect us," O'Brien said. "The graduates from the law enforcement academy will be able to earn 18 credits toward an associate's degree upon graduation."

O’Brien said this would give academy graduates a "jump start" on an associate’s degree and then onto a four-year degree in criminal justice or police science.

"It looks like there were at least 20 cadets who raised their hand when they were given this opportunity, so I would image we would see upwards of 75 per year is what we're hoping for," O'Brien said. "They will save almost $1,200 and the Department of Justice has agreed to pitch in their  fees of transferring here, which is very generous. So, we're excited about that, too."

Missoula College faculty and staff are scheduled to move in May of 2017.