The FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid is required in order to be considered for either the Montana American Indian Tuition Waiver or the Montana State University Non-Resident Tribal Homeland Scholarship.  A new FAFSA must be filed each year.  The FAFSA for an upcoming award year is available October 1 of each year and December 1st of each year is the priority filing date.  For additional assistance with this process, please contact the Office of Financial Aid Services.

Montana American Indian Undergraduate Tuition Waiver (Resident):

The Montana American Indian Waiver covers tuition only.  The waiver will adjust according to the student’s enrollment if a student is attending less than full time.  The student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress with financial aid to be eligible.  The award is available for undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, certificate, and Gallatin College students.  Note: Montana State University – Bozeman also offers a version of this waiver for graduate students.  The same criteria applies.

Must provide documentation of one quarter or higher blood quantum for a member of a non-Montana Tribe (waiver is not limited to Montana Tribes), or if member of a Montana Tribe submit Tribal Membership (does not have to be one quarter blood but does have to be a member of a Montana Tribe).  Note: If a student does not have either of these types of documentation, then the student should speak directly with the financial aid office to discuss options.

Must be a Montana Resident.

Must have submitted a completed FAFSA that shows the student has eligibility for need based aid but does not require grant eligibility.

Tribal Homeland Scholarship Waiver(Non-Resident):

The Tribal Homeland Scholarship waives the out of state portion of the tuition.  Student is responsible for the resident tuition and all applicable fees.  The waiver will adjust according to the student’s enrollment if a student is attending less than full time.  The student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress with financial aid to be eligible.  The award is available for undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, certificate, graduate and Gallatin College students.

The Tribal Homeland Scholarship does not require a specific blood quantum but must provide membership or some type of documentation of lineage to a Tribe that whose ancestors once called Montana home (some historical connection to Montana).  For eligible Tribes: http://www.montana.edu/admissions/images/HomelandsScholarshipInfoSheet.pdf

Student must have submitted a completed FAFSA.

However, if a student is from a Tribe not on the list and the student can make a case for his or her Tribe then there is an appeal process. 

Additional Useful Information:

If a student continues to meet the requirements, no renewal process is needed.  The waiver will be automatically updated to the next school year.  However, if there is a break in enrollment or a period of time when the requirements were not met, the student will need to contact The Office of Financial Aid Services to have the waiver reinstated.

The tuition waivers are available for summer.  There is a separate process for summer so please contact the Financial Aid Office if you for more information or check on the website http://www.montana.edu/summer/finaid.html

Additional Resources:

There are many scholarships available for Native American Students.  Montana State University has provided a Resource Directory http://www.montana.edu/native/ that aid in the search for additional opportunities.  Students need to be aware of the following:

All additional funding such as scholarships, tuition waivers, Tribal Funding, vocational rehabilitation benefits, etc. must be reported to the Financial Aid Office to be included in a financial aid award.  This is a requirement for federal financial aid.  The on-line reporting form can be found here.

Many Scholarships as well as Tribal Higher Education Offices require the completion of an application.  A piece of this application process is a form often referred to as a “needs analysis” form.  The purpose of this form is to determine what a student may still be eligible for in addition to what has already been awarded.  There are often priority dates deadlines or due dates.  It is up to the student to ensure that this has been submitted to The Office of Financial Aid Services in a timely manner as well as ensuring the forms have been returned to the applicable provider.

Be aware of the following:

The Office of Financial Aid Services receives a large volume of requests during the spring and early summer.  Please be sure to allow extra time for processing.

The Office of Financial Aid Services is limited on how much information can be provided from the FAFSA.  Therefore there may be questions that cannot be supplied if the office is forwarding the needs analysis form directly to the source.  However, this information can be given directly to the student and the student can then submit this form to the scholarship or Tribal higher education provider.

For other scholarship opportunities, be sure to check with your academic department.

Useful websites:

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program

http://gmsp.org/

 

American Indian Graduate Center

www.aigc.com/

 

American Indian College Fund

www.collegefund.org/

 

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

www.aises.org/

 

American Indian Education Foundation

www.nrcprograms.org/

 

Cobell Scholarship

http://cobellscholar.org/

 

Please visit our Directory for additional opportunities and Resources:

Native American Resource Directory

http://www.montana.edu/native/