Montana State University

Office of Financial Education

177 Strand Union Building
P.O. Box 174180
Bozeman MT 59717-4180

Tel: 406-994-4388
Fax: 406-994-5488


Types of Financial Aid


Scholarships are a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid. To access information about scholarships opportunities at Montana State University click here.


Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need and do not have to be repaid. Grants are available only to those students seeking their first undergraduate degree. To view more information about grants available through Montana State University's Office of Financial Aid Services click here.

Work Study

Work Study is a federal or state-funded program offered to eligible students who demonstrate financial need. The money earned is intended to assist with meeting educational expenses.  If Work Study is awarded as part of a financial aid package, the student is eligible to apply for a Work Study job. To see more information about work study and available work study jobs click here.


Federal loans are awarded based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The links and descriptions below will assist you in learning more about the various types of loans that may be available to you, your eligibility and the requirements you need to fulfill. Unlike other types of financial aid, loans do have to be paid back with interest. To see more information about loans click here.

Loan Types

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program, until repayment begins and during authorized periods of deferment. To learn more about Federal Direct Subsidized Loans click here.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based and have a fixed interest rate of 6.8%.  Interest accrues once the loan is disbursed and until it is paid in full.  Students may elect to pay the interest while enrolled in school or request to defer payment on the interest.  If you defer the interest, it will be added (capitalized) to the principal. For more information about Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans click here.

Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loans

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are awarded to graduate students who are enrolled in at least six credits in a degree-seeking program.  There is no annual loan limit for the Graduate PLUS Loans but students cannot borrow in excess of their cost of attendance. For rates and more information on Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans click here.

Federal Direct Parent Plus Loans

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans are loans parents may apply for on behalf of their dependent student.  Your student must be admitted into a degree-seeking program and enrolled at least half-time (six credits). For more information about rates and how to apply click here.

Federal Perkins & Nursing Student Loans

A Federal Perkins or a Nursing Student Loan is a fixed low-interest (5%) loan for students with exceptional financial need.  MSU awards Federal Perkins and Nursing Student Loans primarily from funds generated from former students repaying these loans. To read more about Federal Perkins and Nursing Student Loans click here.

Alternative Loans

Alternative Loans are available from some private lenders and used as a last resort to fill unmet need between what you have received from federal financial aid sources and the cost of attendance.  Alternative Loans are not federally funded.  The terms and conditions on alternative loans vary widely and we strongly recommend you research the various rates, fees, and repayment options. For more information about Alternative Loans click here.

Loan Balance

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. It receives data from schools, agencies that guaranty loans, the Direct Loan program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs. NSLDS is a convenient and centralized location for students to check their current loan balance. To access your loan balance click here.


After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month grace period before you must begin repayment of your Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans. For more information on managing your repayment click here.

Entrance Counseling

Federal Regulations require all students who have been awarded Federal Direct Loans to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note before funds are disbursed to their student account. Students who have not borrowed a student loan in the past or new Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers are required to complete Entrance Counseling prior to their loan disbursing.  The purpose of Entrance Counseling is to ensure you understand the terms and conditions of borrowing federal aid. For more information click here.

Exit Counseling

The federal government requires that you complete student loan Exit Counseling before you graduate or stop attending at least half-time (less than 6 credits). For more information on where to complete your Exit Counseling click here.