Paying for College

Paying for your UM Education

Native American students meet their educational expenses through a combination of self and family support, Pell grants, state grants, scholarships, loans, part-time employment and tribal scholarships. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your first step in paying for college. UM cannot begin building your aid package until you have been admitted to UM and filed a completed FAFSA. We encourage you to apply to UM and submit FAFSA by December 1st each year. UM offers eligible Montana Native American Indian residents the Montana American Indian Tuition Waiver. In addition, UM offers a number of annual scholarships including the Entering Student Scholarship Program, Davidson Honors College, ROTC, specific academic departments and more!


Scholarships help students with the overall cost of attending a University. The best aspect of scholarships is that they do not have to be paid back and do not cost you anything except the time it takes to apply! We recommend applying for scholarships as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome. Our site only provides a few scholarships for the thousands that are available. Visit our scholarship page for more information here.

Tribal Higher Education

The purpose of the Higher Education Grant Program is to provide supplemental financial assistance to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native scholars entering college who are seeking an associate or baccalaureate degree from a nationally accredited institution.  More information on how to contact each Tribes Higher Education Department can be found here.


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 here.

Student Employment

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 UMs electronic job board, Handshake, that lists both work-study and non work-study employment opportunities. Questions about using Handshake should be directed to the Experiential Learning and Career Success Department.

American Indian Tuition Waiver

To qualify for the American Indian Tuition Waiver a student must meet all of the following:

  • Be one quarter (1/4) degree of Indian blood and/or be an enrolled member of a state-recognized or federally recognized Indian tribe located within the boundaries of the state of Montana.
  • Be classified as a Montana resident
  • Have demonstrated financial need each year of enrollment as determined by the FAFSA

Blood quantum and/or enrollment status can be documented with a CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood) letter or card; Tribal Enrollment Card; Form letter(s) documenting descendency (birth certificate) that equal ¼ or more; and document of parent (grandparent) enrollment and/or degree of blood.

To apply, complete the American Indian Student Tuition Waiver Application and submit it to the Financial Aid Office along with blood quantum and/or enrollment status.

Grizzly Promise

The Grizzly Promise places college within financial reach and reflects UM’s commitment to an accessible and affordable education for all. 

If you’re from a family with an income of $50,000 or less, UM is dedicated to making sure your tuition is covered so you can attend University of Montana tuition-free.

The Grizzly Promise funds up to four years, or eight semesters, of UM tuition and fees. The financial assistance covering your tuition will be made up of a combination of scholarships, grants, waivers, and other institutional aid. Check Here for more information.