Montana is home to many ambitious students seeking higher education after high school. One of the struggles of attending college or university is the steep cost. Many students take on a part-time job or find another way to help pay for college, but the high cost remains a concern for many potential college students.
Montana residents should take advantage of the wide array of scholarships available to students of all backgrounds and grade levels. Scholarship money can come in handy as it doesn’t have to be repaid like a loan does, meaning it’s essentially free money. Though competition for scholarships can be fierce, applying for these free financial aid opportunities can still be a great help in paying for college.
Many schools in Montana offer Montana scholarships specifically for residents of the state. As these opportunities are for state residents only, students that are eligible should apply to as many exclusive Montana scholarships as possible to increase their chances of winning.
Collectively, Montana residents hold $4.2 billion in student loan debt, although this debt belongs to a minority of state residents. Just 123,700 borrowers with student debt live in Montana, which is 11.4% of the population. The average student loan debt per person is $33,953. The majority of student borrowers, 52%, are under 35 years old. 21.8% of Montana residents owe between $20,000 and $40,000.
Several colleges in Montana consistently rank among the more popular choices for Montana high school seniors. Carroll College and Rocky Mountain College are two top choices for incoming freshmen college students, in addition to Montana State University and the University of Montana.
The Montana University system includes quite a few of the most common college choices for graduating Montana high school students. All of the colleges contained within the system fall under the same administration and leadership.
Montana State University, with exclusive research programs like the Center for Bison and Wildlife Health, is a popular choice for Montana students. The average cost for out-of-state students is $26,950 for tuition, while the in-state cost is only $7,520. The total undergraduate enrollment as of the 2020-2021 school year was 14,240 students.
Montana State University, like many public four-year universities, is committed to making college affordable and accessible. The Montana State University Premier Scholarship is available only to Montana resident freshmen. The amount covered in this scholarship ranges from $1,500 to $2,500. In addition, 44% of incoming freshmen from Montana received a Premier Scholarship.
Another popular college is the University of Montana. With prices similar to Montana State University, out-of-state students will have to pay $28,252, while the in-state cost is $7,520. The undergraduate enrollment during the 2020-2021 school year was smaller, at around 6,900 students. Both the University of Montana and Montana State University are part of the Montana University System.
The University of Montana offers a snapshot of the demographics typical of most Montana schools. Including both the undergraduate and graduate students, there are 6,829 full-time students and 2,979 part-time students. The gender distribution is relatively even, at 4,024 male students and 5,784 female students.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for scholarships is how relevant an opportunity is to you. Students should carefully look for scholarships that align with their personal interests, academic interests, or family background, as these are the opportunities they will be most eligible for.
Location can also be a factor. As a Montana resident, applying to Montana scholarships will be greatly beneficial. The more exclusive an opportunity is, the less competition applicants will face.
This scholarship, exclusively for Montana and Minnesota high school seniors, focuses on mental health issues. Students must write about their experiences with living with a mental illness to apply. The award money is $4,000, and the application deadline is May 20, 2022.
It’s important to also consider applying to general scholarships. Applying to a mix of general and exclusive financial aid opportunities can allow students to find more scholarships that are relevant to their interests and needs.
High school students can get ahead on their college finances by beginning their scholarship search early. High school students of all grade levels can take advantage of opportunities like the ones below!
In addition to scholarship opportunities for all high school students, graduating seniors can apply for scholarships offered specifically to their grade level. These scholarships have fewer eligible applicants, resulting in less competition.
Even if you've finished high school there are still plenty of scholarship opportunities you can apply for! Scholarships such as the following are open to those who have already started college, so undergraduates and graduate students can still benefit from scholarship aid.
There are many Montana scholarships and financial aid opportunities that are exclusively open to women. Unless otherwise specified, students of any gender can apply to any given scholarship, but many donors opt to open scholarships specifically for women due to the obstacles they face.
These opportunities are meant to make education more accessible and affordable for women seeking higher education who are in need of financial assistance. Women seeking a college degree should consider these exclusive opportunities to help cover any college costs they may incur over their academic careers.
The application process for most scholarships is fairly simple. First, students should decide what method they will be using to apply. This could be finding scholarships through their school's guidance office, a community organization, or through an online scholarship platform such as Bold.org.
In many cases, all students need to do to apply is create an account with their personal information. This allows the donor to determine whether the student is eligible and meets all of the scholarship's requirements. If the scholarship requires an essay, students will need to prepare and submit a short statement on the topic listed as well.
If students are applying through a scholarship platform, such as Bold.org, making a free profile can help make the application process more efficient. Inputting personal information into the profile allows the site to submit that information on your behalf each time you apply for a new scholarship. In addition, doing this can help make your search results more relevant as the search engine can better match you with scholarships based on your needs and interests.
Students of all grade levels can start applying for scholarships at any time. As long as you're at least fourteen years old and in high school or college, you can begin applying! There's no right or wrong time to start, though starting to look for scholarships earlier can allow students to have more time to find relevant opportunities.
There are exclusive and general scholarships offered to high school students, high school seniors specifically, undergraduate students, transfer students, and graduate students. No matter your age or grade level, there is an opportunity available for you.
Students who begin the application process earlier in their academic careers may be more prepared as they will have more time to research opportunities and apply. Most students will continue to apply for scholarships throughout the year, and many continue to apply throughout high school and college.
Whether students have the future all planned out or aren't sure what they want yet, applying early and often has the benefit of allowing students to save up some money for future educational opportunities. For students considering graduate school or other possibilities, this can be a helpful safety net as they consider where their academic journey will take them.
Most scholarships will be very upfront with what they are looking for in a student. Common restricting factors are grade level, family background, academic interest, and location.
Scholarships may have no criteria at all, allowing any students to apply. Or, they may have several specific criteria, allowing only a niche group of students to apply. Make sure you understand whether you're applying to an inclusive, general scholarship, or an exclusive scholarship. The vast majority of students will qualify automatically for general scholarships, but not all students are eligible for exclusive scholarships.
Be sure you match all of the listed criteria before applying. Students that match some, but not all, of the listed requirements will not be considered eligible.
When looking for financial aid opportunities, students should carefully consider what scholarships will be relevant to them. Students interested in STEM, for example, should research STEM scholarships, as they will likely be eligible for these opportunities.
Typically, scholarships are not counted as income and are therefore not taxable.
As long as the money students receive from scholarships is used for necessary educational expenses, the money cannot be taxed. If the scholarship money is used for anything other than necessary educational expenses, the money can be taxed.
Necessary educational expenses include tuition fees, mandatory course enrollment fees, and textbooks. If an expense absolutely must be paid in order for a student to receive a diploma, it is likely a necessary educational expense.
However, housing and travel expenses, for example, are not listed under necessary educational expenses. Though these expenses may seem necessary for attending college, using scholarship money for this purpose will allow it to be taxed.