Financial Aid

American Indian Student Aid Information

The M overlooking the UM Campus

Non-Federal Types of Financial Aid:

American Indian Student Tuition Waiver 

This waiver eliminates tuition costs charged to a qualifying student. It does not, however, waive any other charges. The application is available at in the documents and forms section. Complete the application only if you meet the following requirements:

  • A Montana resident.
  • Have a minimum of ¼ blood quantum or are an enrolled member of a state-recognized or federally recognized Indian tribe located within the boundaries of the state of Montana.
  • Blood quantum or enrollment status can be documented with a Tribal enrollment card or other Tribal documentation like a certificate. If you do not have Tribal enrollment card, yet have ¼ blood quantum, documentation may be accepted such as parents‟ enrollment card and birth certificates. If you are a new applicant please attach a copy of the documentation. Students who have already submitted and received the waiver do not need to apply again for the next academic year. However, an application needs to be submitted if attending summer semester. Documentation is only needed once.
  • Have financial need determined by filing a FAFSA.
  • Must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (see section below).

Tribal Higher Education Funding 

Tribal Higher Education funding is administered by each Tribe based on their criteria and standards. Questions regarding deadlines and eligibility should be directed to the respective Tribal Higher Education Office. Contact information is located in the Tribal Education Departments tab on the AISS website.

  • Tribes require a financial needs analysis to be done by UM‟s Financial Aid Office; forms for this should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at least two weeks prior to the tribal deadline.
  • Loan eligibility will be determined after any Tribal Higher Education funding has been reported; at that time a request for loans must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office in writing.

Types of Federal Financial Aid:

Jay Treaty

American Indian Students are not subject to the requirement to be US citizens and are eligible to fill out the FAFSA to receive federal aid due to the protection of the Jay Treaty.Federal and State Grants - Students will be offered the maximum grant aid possible, based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA application. Some funds are limited, so applying early (before February 15th) is vital for receiving the largest possible award.


The types of loans available to you will depend on many variables. For more information about the individual types of loans available, visit the Financial Aid Office‟s Loans page at 


Students who are awarded work-study will only receive the funding if they secure a work-study position. For those who do, payment comes in the form of a paycheck after work is performed. Students can apply for jobs by inquiring in individual departments or by using UM‟s electronic job board:


The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The application is the first step in receiving federal aid including Pell Grant, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loans and work-study.  The FAFSA application provides schools with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is used to determine the types of financial aid to be offered. 

The Financial Aid office cannot begin your aid package until you have been admitted with a fully processed FAFSA on file.
Some tips for a successful FAFSA application:

  • Apply early to get the most aid possible (our priority aid deadline is February 15)
  • Prior year income information may be used before Feb 15th and corrections made later
  • For faster processing-file electronically and sign with the FAFSA PIN
  • Include the UM school code #002536 (Mountain campus and Missoula College campus)
  • To avoid partial filing, continue to the confirmation page
  • FAFSA is a free service-do not pay to process the application

Students who are under the age of 24 must file as a dependent student unless they meet certain criteria. This means they must supply their parents’ information when they file the FAFSA. To be considered independent for the 2017-2018 academic year, a student must meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Be born before January 1, 1991.
  • Be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program.
  • Be married on the date of application.
  • Have children who receive more than half of their support from the student.
  • Have dependents (other than children or spouse) who live with the student and receive more than half their support from the student at the time of application.
  • Both parents are deceased, or the student is or was in foster care, or the student is or was a ward or dependent of the court at any time since turning 13.
  • Be on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
  • Be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Be an emancipated minor as determined by a court in the student’s state of legal residence.
  • Be in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student’s state of legal residence.
  • Be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.


Approximately 30% of all students that submit a FAFSA are selected by the US Department of Education for a process known as verification. Most students who are selected for verification are Pell Grant eligible or are from lower income family situations. Selected students will be asked by UM to provide additional documentation that will be compared to what was provided on the FAFSA. Doing so ensures that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate and that students receive the correct amount of federal aid. More information is available at on the Verification page.

  • If selected for verification login to CyberBear and go to Tab 6 “What‟s Next” of the Financial Aid offer to see what needs to be provided. Links to the required forms or instructions will be attached to each specific requirement.
  • Please be aware that completing verification is a manual process that can be time consuming and we ask that students be patient and allow time for the financial aid office to determine their award eligibility.
  • To ensure that aid will be available prior to the start of each semester all documentation must be received by the deadline dates above.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving federal financial aid are required to make timely and satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree/certificate. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA (undergraduates) and successfully complete at least 70% of the credits they attempt. If students withdraw, fail or get incomplete grades in a course it will decrease the percentage of completed credits and may affect a student's eligibility to receive financial aid. Students that fail to make SAP may be placed on financial aid suspension and would have to submit an appeal to be considered for reinstatement of financial aid. Further information can be found in the Maintaining Eligibility section of our webpage: