A college education has become a significant expense for most families and requires careful planning. Whatever your financial situation is, we encourage you to use this information to help you understand college funding so you can navigate the financial aid process with greater ease.

State Financial Aid

States provide many financial aid opportunities to help ease the cost of a college education. Please select the state you reside in to learn about state sponsored internships, scholarships and financial aid programs for undergraduate students and assistantships, fellowships, and residency programs for graduate and professional students.


The following are financial aid programs available to students who are residents of the state of Montana. For more detailed information on state financial aid programs contact:

Montana University System

Office of Commissioner of Higher Education

46 N. Last Chance Gulch

Helena, MT 59620-3201

Phone: 406-444-6570



Scholarships are a form of gift aid, which means that they do not have to be paid back. Scholarships can be awarded based on merit or financial need. There are numerous scholarship opportunities available – far too many to list them all here! Talk with your high school guidance counselor, or a financial aid administrator for more specific Information.

The following are a few examples of scholarships that are available to Montana student

Governor’s Best and BrightestScholarships

The Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship is divided into three areas: merit scholarships, at-large scholarships, and need-based scholarships. Each scholarship is Administered in a different way.

The Community College Honor Scholarship

The Community College Honor Scholarship is awarded annually to graduates from Montana’s community colleges. The award is issued as a one-year fee waiver, waiving the cost of undergraduate tuition and the registration fees during the recipient’s first year at a Montana University System campus.

Montana University System (MUS) Honor Scholarship

The MUS Honor Scholarship is awarded annually to high school seniors graduating from accredited Montana high schools. The MUS Honor Scholarship is a four-year (eight semester maximum) renewable scholarship that waives all tuition and registration fees at a Montana University System campus

National Merit Scholarship

College tuition and registration fees shall be waived for National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists from Montana. This scholarship (fee waiver) will be valid through the first consecutive two semesters of enrollment, excluding credits earned prior to high school graduation.

Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG)

The student must have exceptional financial need to qualify for this grant. The amount of the award is determined by the school. The amount awarded is generally about $500. This program is funded by the state of Montana and is matched with Federal funds.

Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP)/Baker Grant:

The MTAP/Baker Grant is available for Montana residents who have earnings greater than $2,575, have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) between $0 and $6,550, and whose parent(s) or dependent(s) are Montana residents. Early application is essential because this is a limited fund. The range for the MTAP/Baker Grant is between $100 and $1,000.

2 Plus 2 Honor Scholarship

  • The 2 + 2 Honor Scholarship is awarded annually to students who graduate with an associate degree from a 2-year campus of the Montana University System or a Montana Community College (listed below). The scholarship consists of a waiver of undergraduate tuition at any 4-year unit of the Montana University System and may be received up to a total of four continuous (fall/spring) semesters. The 2 + 2 Honor Scholarship Application is available in PDF format.
    The scholarship is transferable between eligible campuses provided the student maintains a minimum 3.4 GPA at the home campus at the end of the academic year and demonstrates progress toward a degree by completing at least 30 credit hours per year.
    The scholarship does not cover mandatory or class fees. Students should ask the campus for a list of fees that are not covered by the scholarship.
    This waiver may not be used in conjunction with any other MUS tuition waiver or a Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship.

MUS Honor Scholarship

What is the MUSHS?
The MUS Honor Scholarship is a 4-year renewable scholarship, which waives the recipient’s tuition when used at an eligible campus. Its average value at a 4-year Montana campus is $4,000 a year or $16,000 for four years. The Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program intends to offer up to 200 scholarships(contingent upon continued funding of the program) annually. View the 2015 MUSHS Fact Sheet.
The scholarship does not cover mandatory or class fees. Students should ask the college for a list of fees that are not covered by the scholarship.

Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship Program

The purpose of the Governor’s “Best and Brightest” Scholarship Program is to provide Montana residents with greater access to Montana’s postsecondary institutions and Montana’s tribal colleges, through scholarship grants based on academic achievement and financial need. The goal of these scholarships is to relieve student debt burdens, allowing more Montanans to stay in the state upon graduation. View the 2015 Governor’s Scholarship Fact Sheet.
The Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship Program is divided into 3 scholarships: High School MERIT scholarships, MERIT-AT-LARGE scholarships and NEED-BASED scholarships. Each scholarship is administered in a different way.

Merit AT-LARGE Scholarships

Graduating high school students and students already attending college may apply, non-traditional and home schooled students are also encouraged to apply.
The Merit-AT-LARGE scholarship is awarded to students who plan to attend either a 2 or 4 year institution. A student attending a 4 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 8 semesters. Students who attend a 2 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 4 semesters*.
*If a student receiving a merit-at-large scholarship for a 2-year campus transfers to a 4-year school before completing their first certificate or associate degree, they may petition MGSLP to extend their scholarship to the full 8 semesters.

NEED-BASED Scholarships

Colleges will be allocated need-based awards each year by MGSLP based upon the most recent full time equivalent enrollment (FTE) information provided by financial aid offices to MGSLP for students enrolled in a 2-yr certificate or associate programs. MGSLP will then advise each college of the specific number of general, health science, technology, and trade/green scholarships it must award. Each institution will receive a minimum of 5 need-based scholarships, regardless of the actual FTE calculation and the financial aid office will be responsible for identifying and awarding scholarships to need-based recipients. Need-based scholarships in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded annually for a maximum of 2 consecutive years. Financial need is the only criteria the scholarship will be based on.
Students should visit the Financial Aid Office of the campus they plan to attend to request a Need-Based scholarship.

National Merit Semi-Finalist Scholarship

Tuition shall be waived for Montana students receiving a National Merit Semi-Finalist Scholarship. This scholarship (tuition waiver) will be valid through the first consecutive 2 semesters of enrollment, excluding credits earned prior to high school graduation. The holder of the scholarship must enter one of the Montana University System campuses within nine months after high school graduation. A satisfactory standard must be maintained to be eligible to use the scholarship for both semesters. The scholarship is not transferable, and becomes void three years from the date of issue. For additional information or questions email: mtscholarships@montana.edu

New West Health Care for Montanans Scholarship

The New West “Health Care for Montanans” Scholarship is awarded annually to students seeking a health care career within the state of Montana. The scholarship can be used at the following campuses:

  • UM Missoula
  • UM Montana Tech
  • MSU Bozeman
  • MSU Northern
  • MSU Billings
  • UM Helena COT
  • Flathead Valley Community College
  • Carroll College
  • University of Great Falls
  • Rocky Mountain College

Montana State Grants

  • There are two state funded grant program in Montana: the Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG) and the Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP) – Baker Grant. Both of these grants are awarded through the financial aid office of the participating college.
    To apply for either (or both) of these grants, the student must be accepted by the college’s admissions office and apply for financial aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA should list the Montana school that the studentplans to attend. Funds for MHEG and MTAP are limited, so early FAFSA filing is encouraged.

Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG)

The Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG) is the original state appropriated need based grant program in Montana. Along with the State Work Study program, MHEG first received funding during the 1975-1976 academic year under its original name, the Montana State Student Incentive Grant. The initial appropriation was $57,730; FY 2011 appropriation of MHEG was over $600,000 (including the Federal match).

MTAP Baker Grant

The Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP) is the largest state appropriated need based grant program in Montana, receiving over million in state funding for FY 2011. MTAP awards are known as Baker Grants in honor of Dr. Jeffrey D. Baker, Montana’s Commissioner of Higher Education from 1993-1996.
This grant is awarded, based on need, to Montana resident students who have earned at least 500 times the Federal hourly minimum wage. For the 2010-2011 award year a student must have earned at least $3,275 during the previous calendar year; this will increase to $3,625 for the 2011-2012 award year.Recipients must also have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), calculated by theFAFSA, of less than 8,050; which is the 2013-2014 maximum Federal Pell Grant award (5,550) plus 2,500.
The purpose of this grant is to offset any Federal Pell Grant dollars the student may have lost due to earned wages. It is the belief of the Board of Regents and the financial aid community that students should be rewarded for working and earning money to pay for their college costs.

Tuition & Fee Waivers

Fee waivers are non-cash scholarships. The Montana University System offers various fee waivers to students who meet specific criteria. If you are eligible, your tuition is waived. Fee waivers, however, do not cover registration, mandatory, class or other miscellaneous fees.

American Indian Fee Waiver

– Persons of on-fourth (1/4) American Indian blood or more are eligible for a waiver upon demonstration of financial need.

Faculty and Staff Tuition Waiver

– Tuition may be waived for permanent University System employees who are employed at least three-fourths (3/4) time for the entire period of enrollment. Each campus may waive other fees, but in no case may registration and building fees be waived.

Honorably Discharged Veteran Fee Waiver

– To be eligible, the student must have been honorably discharged from the service and have served with the United State forces in any of its wars. The person must also be a resident of the state of Montana.

War Orphans Fee Waiver

– A waiver is available, upon approval of the Commissioner of Higher Education, for children aged 25 or less, whose parent(s) served on active duty during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts. Such members of the armed forces must have been Montana residents at the time of entry into service, and must have been killed in action or died as a result of combat related injury, disease, or other disability.

Senior Citizen Fee Waiver

– To be eligible the student must be classified as an in-state resident for the fee purposes and must be at least 65 years of age.