Scholarship & Award Information
Scholarships are a form of financial aid. They are a grant or funds that do not need to be repaid. They differ from other forms of financial aid in that they are based on some type of outstanding ability in one or more areas, such as academics, art, music, athletics, or community service. Scholarships are not necessarily based on financial need, as are all other forms of financial aid. Some, however, do have financial need as a factor.
Scholarships come in many forms and amounts. They can range from as little as $100 to help pay for books, up to tens of thousands of dollars for all four years of college. Most academic scholarships come from one of five sources: 1. Federal government 2. State government 3. Individual colleges 4. Local businesses and organizations 5. National businesses and organizations. The vast majority of scholarships come from the colleges themselves. These may be campus-wide or for a specific major. Both Montana State University and the University of Montana have several excellent scholarships available for entering freshmen.
Generally, the better your grades, the higher your test scores, and the more activities and community service you participate in, the better chance you have of winning a scholarship. However, many scholarships are based on financial need. Often times, there are some scholarships with very narrow restrictions and only a few students would qualify. If in doubt, check with Mrs. Morgan. You have nothing to lose and everything to win when you apply for scholarships.
Scholarships, Criteria, and Deadlines
Be attentive to the scholarships as they are posted via the counselor’s monthly update, on the bulletin board, and on the district’s website. It is impossible to put every scholarship that colleges, universities, and vocational schools offer out for seniors to apply for. It is your responsibility to be searching out scholarships that fit your needs. The counseling office will pass along scholarships that arrive through the school.
Please check the criteria carefully. For example, if the scholarship requires you to attend a Montana school and you are going out-of-state, you will not qualify.
Scholarships have deadlines. Be sure to give yourself enough time to complete applications thoroughly. Do not wait until the last minute to get applications completed, references turned in, or transcripts sent. Many applications must be typed. It takes time and effort to put together a quality application.
Seniors are strongly encouraged to take the ACT or SAT before December of their senior year. It is best to take both tests by the end of the junior year. Often times, extra-curricular events in the fall will conflict with test dates. If tests are taken during the junior year this can be avoided. All Montana juniors have the opportunity to participate in the ACT during April at no cost. Most colleges will accept results from either test, however it is the responsibility of the student to check with the college to find out which test is required.
When you apply for a scholarship from a college, you must also pay the application fee for admission. Do not expect to receive a scholarship if you have not been admitted to the school. At some colleges the admission’s fee is waived. Be sure to ask someone in the admission’s office if they offer this option.
Applications for all Montana colleges are available in Mrs. Morgan’s office. Most out-of-state colleges do not furnish Thompson Falls High School with applications for admissions. Students must write, call, or email and request applications from the admissions office. The most efficient way is to apply online. Check the college’s website for information.
Several representatives from colleges and vocational schools around Montana will be visiting our school during the year. Listen to the daily announcements for these scheduled visits.
Use the following helpful hints as you begin the process of applying for scholarships. The students who are most successful at earning scholarships are students who follow these points:
1.Remember that applying for scholarships is the responsibility of the student.
2.Thompson Falls High School is not notified of all scholarships available at a particular college, so students are encouraged to write to the college they hope to attend and ask for information on freshman scholarships.
3.Don’t procrastinate! Get busy on this part of your college planning early and stay on top of it. Your success will depend on your perseverance, organization, and your ability to meet deadlines.
4.Be sure to give your teachers, counselor and personal reference adequate time to write recommendations for you. Two weeks is a good rule of thumb. Give them a list of activities and awards that are noteworthy in the recommendation. When given sufficient time, teachers can write a meaningful letter that truly reflects each student’s unique qualities.
MGSLP Scholarship Application Tips:
Montana University System Honor Scholarship
The Montana University System Honor Scholarship (MUSHS), formerly the High School Honor Scholarship, is a four-year renewable scholarship that waives the tuition and registration fee at the eligible Montana college you decide to attend.
To apply for this scholarship you must:
Ø have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 GPA
Ø graduate from a state accredited Montana high school
Ø have been enrolled full time and in attendance in an accredited Montana school for at least 3 years prior to graduation, including their senior year
Ø be a U.S. citizen
Ø have taken the ACT or SAT on or before the test dates of December of the senior year.
Ø be on track to complete the MUS rigorous core requirements by high school graduation
Applying for the MUS Honor Scholarship is a multi-step process. You need to:
Ø take the ACT or SAT by December of the senior year; documented test scores taken by these dates must be included with the MUSHS application
Ø apply for admission and be accepted by one of the eligible colleges in Montana by February of the senior year; a college acceptance letter from one of the eligible campusesmust beincluded with the MUSHS application
Ø complete the MUSHS application
Ø submit the completed packet to Mrs. Morgan by March 15 of the senior year.
Recipients will be selected based on their class ranking and their ACT/SAT scores.
Applications are available in Mrs. Morgan’s office.
To view the MUSHS tutorial, visit the following site:
Governor's Best and Brightest Scholarship
The purpose of the Governor’s "Best and Brightest" Scholarship is to provide Montana residents with greater access to Montana’s postsecondary institutions and Montana’s tribal colleges, through scholarship grants based on academic achievement and financial need. The goal of these scholarships is to relieve student debt burdens, allowing more Montanans to stay in the state upon graduation.
To watch a video presentation about the Governor’s Scholarship,click here. (Broadband or DSL internet connection highly recommended)
The Governor’s Best and Brightest Scholarship Program is divided into 3 areas:high school merit scholarships,merit-at-large scholarshipsandneed-based scholarships. Each scholarship is administered in a different way.
A student is eligible to receive a scholarship providing the student:
- Is a resident of the State of Montana;
- Has been accepted by or is enrolled at an eligible Montana post-secondary institution;
- For scholarships based on financial need, has completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and does not have an expected family contribution (EFC) exceeding the cost of attendance at the post-secondary institution the student will attend;
- For scholarships based upon merit, has obtained a high school GPA of at least 3.0 or a score of at least 20 on the ACT or 1440 on the SAT college admission test; and be enrolled full-time at an eligible post-secondary institution;
- Has not been awarded a Montana University System Honor Scholarship;
- If a male, has met the Title IV selective service requirements;
- Is not in default on a Title IV or state of Montana education loan;
- Does not owe a refund to a federal Title IV or state of Montana student financial aid program;
- Is not incarcerated;
- Seeking a first certificate, associate, or baccalaureate degree;
- Enrolled for the next chronological semester or term;
Merit At-Large Scholarships
Students must apply online for the merit-at-large scholarship and submit a completed application to MGSLP no later than March 15 of their senior year. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted.Applications are available on-line.
Non-traditional and home school students are encouraged to apply.
The merit-at-large scholarship can be awarded to students who plan to attend either a 2 or 4 year institution. A student attending a 4 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 8 semesters. Students who attend a 2 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 4 semesters*.
*If a student receiving a merit-at-large scholarship transfers to a 4 year school, they may petition MGSLP to extend their scholarship to the full 8 semesters. Merit-at-large scholarships will be scored by the MGSLP Scholarship Committee and once enrollment has been verified, recipient information will be forwarded to the post-secondary institution.
High School Merit Scholarships
Merit scholarships are awarded to graduating Montana high school seniors who plan to attend either a 2 or 4 year institution. A student attending a 4 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 8 semesters. Students who attend a 2 year campus will receive $1,000/semester ($2,000/year) for 4 semesters*.
*If a student receiving a merit scholarship transfers to a 4 year school before completing their first certificate or associate degree, they may petition MGSLP to extend their scholarship to the full 8 semesters.
To receive a scholarship, students must demonstrate academic excellence, by having either a 3.0 GPA, or scoring at least 20 on the ACT or 1440 on the SAT.
Applications must be submitted to Mrs. Morgan by March 15 of the senior year.
Recipients are chosen by their designated high school official, utilizing the same methodology as the Montana University System Honor Scholarship.
Colleges will be allocated need-based awards each year by MGSLP based upon the most recent full time equivalent enrollment (FTE) information provided by financial aid offices to MGSLP for students enrolled in a 2-yr certificate or associate programs. MGSLP will then advise each college of the specific number of general, health science, technology, and trade/green scholarships it must award. Each institution will receive a minimum of 5 need-based scholarships, regardless of the actual FTE calculation and the financial aid office will be responsible for identifying and awarding scholarships to need-based recipients. Need-based scholarships in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded annually for a maximum of 2 consecutive years. Financial need is the only criteria the scholarship will be based on.
For more information visit:
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
WUE is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Through WUE, students in most western states may enroll in many two-year and four-year college programs at a reduced tuition level: 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. In all cases, WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. Students residing in the following states may be eligible to participate:
Alaska Colorado Hawaii Idaho
Montana Nevada New Mexico
North Dakota Oregon South Dakota Utah Washington Wyoming
For more information go to:http://wue.wiche.edu/
There are many companies which offer scholarship searches and financial aid advice. Some may charge fees for services that are often available free through other companies. The companies that advertise "free money" for college, guarantee a scholarship, or say that the information they have is not available elsewhere are the ones to be wary of. Check with Mrs. Morgan before paying any company for services related to scholarships or financial aid.
Download a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) athttp://www.fafsa.ed.gov/or call 1-800-4-FED-AID. Submit online or mail in the form as soon as possible AFTER January 1 of the senior year. Keep a copy. Parents save your year-end payroll stubs to show your earnings for the year. You might need them for financial aid eligibility reviews by schools.
The Student Assistance Foundation and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry partnered to offer at no cost the Montana Career Information System (MCIS).This powerful tool is the premier source of career related information. Use it to learn more about occupational interests, education options, programs of study, scholarships and financial aid. Go tohttp://www.smartaboutcollege.org/ and under the red heading Get to College you will find a link to MCIS. Click on that link and register to use the MCIS. If you use nothing else, this tool will give you some incredible information.