University Relations and Communications


November 14, 2016


Jessica Kannegiesser

National Publication Affirms What Adult Learners Across the Region Already Know

MSUB ranks fifteenth nationally as one of the best institutions for Adult Learners



University Relations, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES —“Washington Monthly” College Rankings recently ranked MSUB 15th for Best Four-Year Colleges for Adult Learners in 2016.


Criteria for the rankings included ease of transfer, flexibility of programs, services for adult students, tuition and fees, students over the age of 25, adult student’s median earnings rank and loan repayment ran.


“For decades, MSUB has be renowned across Montana for our ability to help adult learners attain an affordable and valuable education, while balancing family-life,” commented Chancellor Mark Nook.  “This affirmation of excellence on a national-level is something each faculty and staff member at MSUB should be proud of.” 


Sophomore Jessica Kannegiesser exemplifies an adult learner thriving at MSUB.


Kannegiesser, 32, is majoring in business management and marketing.


She has overcome a lot to study at MSUB and is forging a brighter path for herself, and she says, “more importantly, my son.”


The bright-eyed single parent describes how life unraveled after she graduated from Billings Senior High in 2002.


“I went to cosmetology school but after a boyfriend moved away, my life kind of fell apart and I struggled with addiction for a few years,” Kannegiesser said.


Five years ago, she changed her lifestyle.


“When I found out I was pregnant with my son I shaped up,” she said.


Continuing her personal and professional growth included a desire to obtain more education.


“I kept hearing radio ads for MSUB and one day I just drove here,” she said. “That decision was one of the best I’ve made and I started school in January of 2015.”


Today, she’s an active, albeit non-traditional, face on campus.


In addition to serving on the College of Business student advisory board, Kannegiesser is also the coordinator for the newly formed MSUB Junior Jackets program through the Student Union.


Junior Jackets is designed to promote free and low-cost family-friendly events sponsored by student organizations, departments and the university. Being involved and mentored by other faculty with the program has helped Kannegiesser succeed academically, she said.


“Being involved with Junior Jackets has literally been a lifesaver,” Kannegiesser said. “It’s pushed me into a leadership role and I’m involved in something that’s important to me: providing space for students where they can bring their kiddos to campus.”


MSUB is in good company on the “Washington Monthly” guide. Other four-year colleges on the top of the list include topped-ranked Golden Gate University-San Francisco and the University of Utah (#2). Neighboring University of Wyoming received a #16 ranking.