Financial Aid and Student Loans in Montana

If you’re a student considering your academic career in Montana, you’re probably looking forward to hitting the books and getting on with your degree program. And the good news is that Montana is the 8th most affordable state in the country to pursue your higher education, averaging $22,043 per year at four year universities. Still, you probably don’t want to spend too much time worrying about how you’re going to pay for it all.

No matter how strong the desire is to begin the next phase in your educational life, investigating and applying for student aid is the first crucial step of any student’s college life.

At Funding U, we understand that the search for college funding can be confusing. The various deadlines, applications, scholarships, grants, and loans available to students makes it easy to get lost in the data. We’ve prepared the article below about financial aid options in Montana to provide a comprehensive overview of what to expect and how to reach out for more information.

What scholarship programs does Montana have?

Scholarships are one of the best financing options available for students who qualify. It provides set amounts that never need to be paid back, decreasing the overall debt load upon graduation.

At Funding U, we encourage students to apply for all the scholarships that are available to them. It is often challenging to acquire a scholarship, but the effort is well worth it to secure your financial future after graduation.

Scholarships often have specific eligibility requirements, depending on a level of academic excellence throughout high school, for example. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular scholarship options in the state of Montana with a quick overview of the requirements, awards, and additional links to learn more.

Reach Higher Montana Scholarship

Montana high school and enrolled college students have access to the Reach Higher Montana Scholarship. It grants 75 applicants $1,000 per student towards tuition.

In terms of total scholarship offerings, the Reach Higher Scholarship is generous. It is also not nearly as rigorous in its requirements as many other academic scholarships.

Eligible students must be residents of Montana and US citizens with a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, lower than other comparable scholarships. Students must attend an approved Montana state college at least half-time. Interested applicants should apply after December 1st when the award is open for applicants.

Gianforte Manufacturing Scholarship

When considering scholarships, most people think of standard four-year colleges and regular academic programs. Most students rarely believe that scholarships are also available to those attending community college to learn a trade, for example.

The Gianforte Manufacturing Scholarship is devoted to awarding those seeking education in specific industries. It is only available to those attending two-year Montana community colleges.

Eligible students must be Montana residents and US citizens or eligible non-citizens. They should be attending one of the pre-approved community colleges. Each institution has a corresponding list of trade courses that qualify for the scholarship, so students should check the list below to make sure their course of study is approved.

Students must also be enrolled for a minimum of six credits in their approved program and have an expected family contribution of less than $10,000 (as determined by the FAFSA application).

Kelly Kuntz Memorial Scholarship Fund

Students in Montana seeking a financial advantage in a business major would do well to look into the Kelly Kuntz Memorial Scholarship Fund.

It awards a single $2,000 scholarship to eligible students who have already attended college for at least a year. Though it isn’t exclusive to business majors, these students receive preferred status in the application process.

Eligible students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5, be residents of Montana, and US citizens. They must also have already concluded the first year of college and preferably be enrolled in the school of business. Otherwise, the scholarship also considers past participants in the Montana High School Business Challenge.

You must submit your applications for the scholarship between February and April.

Paul O’Leary Memorial Scholarship

The rather obscure scholarship is offered to students in either Montana or Idaho. It is specific to students interested in studying welding or metallurgy.

The Paul O’Leary Memorial Scholarship provides only one award annually, with a total amount of $1,000 for those who have demonstrated academic excellence. Students must also have hands-on experience with welding.

Eligible students must be at least 18 years old and attend a school in Montana. Applicants must prove financial need through submitting a FAFSA application and should have at least 2.5 GPA cumulative with a 3.0 in courses dealing with welding or metalwork.

Students need to submit the application with all necessary paperwork—including a 300 to 500-word essay—by March 1st.

2 Plus 2 Honor Scholarship

If you already have an associate’s degree from a two-year campus or a Montana community college, you may be eligible to apply for the 2 Plus 2 Honor Scholarship. It waives tuition at any 4-year university in the Montana system.

The award is both renewable and transferable between campuses if the student excels in their studies regardless of location. Only specific community colleges and 2-year programs are eligible, so check the list to ensure your school qualifies.

Qualified applicants must be residents of Montana and US citizens, having earned an associate’s degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4. The scholarship is only available for those enrolled in a four-year college for the semester after graduation.

The award is also specific to only specific four-year universities within the Montana University system.

Montana Access Scholarships

Though the Montana Access Scholarships aren’t significant amounts, even the small awards assist a prospective student in overcoming the gap between the received funding and tuition or to pay off their textbooks.

The Montana Access Scholarships are a new program that awards students in the state university system $500 per semester. The scholarship is specific to Montana’s university system, so check with your institution’s financial aid office for eligibility and applications.

Eligible students must be residents of Montana, US citizens, and seeking an undergraduate degree or associate program at one of the schools in the Montana University System (MUS). Renewing the award requires that you apply each year with a FAFSA and be Pell grant-eligible.

Students must also be enrolled full time, though they can submit an application if they are enrolled part-time and over 25 years old.

What grant programs does Montana have?

Another terrific option for students trying to finance the college experience is an education grant. It is usually less exacting in its eligibility requirements than academic merit scholarships and doesn’t require repayment.

At Funding U, we encourage students to investigate all the grant options possible for the area. Grants are generally easier to apply for and never require repayment, making your financial future brighter as a graduate. Montana doesn’t have many grant options that are native to its university system, though.

In this section, we’ll go over the few available grant options, discuss the eligibility requirements, and the average award expected. Keep in mind many grants are first-come, first-served, so you’ll want to make sure your application is in on time.

We’ve mentioned the due dates involved to make it easier for you to keep track and apply on time to get the most out of the possible aid packages.


One of the few grants available in the Montana University System (MUS) is the PASS grant, which stands for ‘Problem, Adjust, Stay, Succeed.’

It’s designed specifically for students who’ve faced some form of unavoidable financial hardship that impacted their studies, resulting in a decline in their GPA or status. The total grant varies based on the student’s needs and circumstances, but it can extend to an overall benefit of up to $1,000.

The grant is only renewable up to $1,000 and requires reapplying each semester. Eligible applicants must be residents of Montana and US citizens currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at one of the MUS schools.

Students need to complete at least six credits and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Applicants must demonstrate continued financial need and provide an explanation or documentation of the unforeseen circumstances surrounding any financial problems they face.

Federal Pell Grant in Montana

The federal Pell Grant is the most common grant option available to students. Not exclusive to Montana, it’s open to all students applying for financial aid with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are few requirements for a Pell grant other than acceptance and enrollment at a university, a high school diploma, and demonstrated financial need based on the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC.)

What student loan programs does Montana have?

Unlike many other states, Montana has no native loan programs to offer prospective students. Financial aid loans work much like other loans, but these aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy. It sticks with you until it is paid off in your lifetime.

At Funding U, we advocate that you use these student loans only as a last resort in your academic financing. Peruse our “How to Pay for College Checklist” for more information.

Federal Student Loans

Most students, who are US Citizens or eligible non-citizens, qualify for standard federal student loans. To apply, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) It will help calculate your Expected Family Contribution and is usually the first step to obtaining other grants, scholarships, and awards.

For more information, click here.

Private Co-Signed Student Loans

More banks and private lenders are offering loan programs to prospective students. It often includes an interesting set of requirements and provisions specific to the lender. Most private loans also require a co-signer to take on some of the responsibility as a guarantee against default.

Learn more about private co-signed loans here.

No Co-Signer Student Loans in Montana

Funding U offers no co-signer student loans to individuals currently in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend.

Learn more about no co-signer student loans here.  Note: Loans vary by state and residents of Montana are not eligible at this time.

What schools does Funding U lend to in Montana?

Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities. We do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools.

Our eligibility requirements are based on models that predict how likely a student is to graduate, and we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum six-year graduation rates that schools must reach to be eligible. Find out more about how we determine our eligibility here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Montana that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently considering based on the school’s six-year graduation rate.  NOTE: Funding U does not offer loans to residents of the state of Montana.  However, if you are attending a school located in Montana and are a resident of another state that is eligible you may apply.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Carroll CollegeNoNoYesYes6984
Montana State UniversityNoNoYesYes5776
Montana State University-BillingsNoNoNoNo2957
Montana State University-NorthernNoNoNoNo3560
Montana Tech of the University of MontanaNoNoYesYes5274
Rocky Mountain CollegeNoNoNoNo4967
The University of MontanaNoNoNoNo4669
The University of Montana-WesternNoNoNoNo4577
University of ProvidenceNoNoNoNo4669

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