This FAQ page is a reference resource only and in no way guarantees individual application results. Each situation is unique and reviewed pursuant to program requirements and the Board of Regents Residency Policy 940.1. Outcomes are determined only through the formal application process via the Award MT Portal.

For program specific frequently asked questions, click on one of the options below. Further information is linked on the left or within the FAQ sections.




Program Questions

  • Professional Student Exchange Programs (PSEP) are programs geared toward providing bona fide Montana resident students affordable access to select out-of-state programs in specific healthcare fields that are not available within Montana.
  • Montana currently participates in 5 Professional Student Exchange Programs. For information about these programs, click the link below. Continued state participation in these programs is subject to ongoing approval and appropriation by the Montana Legislature, who may, at any time, modify the programs and support levels. 
  • Support awards are very competitive and state funding levels are generally not sufficient to support all qualified applicants.  Students who do not receive the state support will not qualify for the reduced tuition rates if admitted.

PSEP Programs Information for MUS

Please visit the WICHE website and click on your program area to see which schools participate.

The Montana Rural Physician Incentive Program (MRPIP) was established by the 1991 Montana Legislature to encourage physicians to practice in rural and medically underserved areas of the state or to serve medically underserved populations by providing loan repayment assistance to approved physicians practicing in qualifying areas.  Funding for the incentive program is provided by a fee that is assessed to all Montana medical and osteopathic medical students supported by the state through the WICHE, WWAMI, and ICOM medical education programs. 

It is important to understand that if you are selected for any of these programs, you will have an obligation to pay this fee annually throughout your program enrollment as a condition of participation.  The MRPIP fee is separate from other medical school tuition, fees, and expenses and is payable separately and directly by each student to the MRPIP fund by November 1st of each academic year.  The amount of this fee may change each year as the WICHE support fee rate increases.

  • WICHE Allopathic and Osteopathic students
  • WWAMI/WWAMI TRUST Allopathic students
  • ICOM Osteopathic students

Note while your school may work with you to package your fee amount into your financial aid award, it is your responsibility to send the funds to the OCHE office by the due date.

  • Due annually by 11/1 or 2/15 at the latest
  • MRPIP invoices are sent each summer

Email our office if you need assistance breaking the fee into multiple payments

  • The WWAMI/WWAMI TRUST and ICOM programs have a contractual obligation requirement which requires students to select a contract type.
  • All Montana students entering the WWAMI and ICOM medical education programs are required to enter a contract with the State of Montana regarding their intentions to return to the state to practice medicine.  These contracts represent binding agreements that must be signed before a student confirms their enrollment in the WWAMI and ICOM programs. Under the contract requirements, students must decide to either
    • commit to return to the state to enter active full-time medical practice in Montana for a minimum of 3 years within 1 year of completing their professional medical training; or
    • decline to commit to return to the state to enter active full-time medical practice in Montana within 1 year of completing professional training and pay a higher MRPIP fee than the returning students. 
  • WWAMI and ICOM students who contractually commit to return to the state to practice will pay the established standard annual MRPIP fee rate, while those students who contractually decline to commit to return to the state to practice right away, will pay the MRPIP fee at a rate calculated at 2.5 times the standard rate.    All students applying for certification and admission to either of these programs must be prepared to make a contract decision between the two contracts before they confirm enrollment in either program. 
No, your contract selection won't impact the amount of state support received.

Failure to return to practice would be considered a breach of contract; the total amount of state support provided to you during your schooling would be converted to a loan that you would be required to repay.

Approximately $165,000 for WWAMI & $98,000 for ICOM

Signed contracts are binding legal agreements. Towards the end of the first year of the program, WWAMI/WWAMI TRUST and ICOM students are given a one-time only opportunity from OCHE Office to change their contract type.

  • This change is binding and should be considered carefully
  • A contract change may result in an additional MRPIP fee owed or refunded, depending on contract change type.

If approved for state support through a PSEP program, to remain eligible for program support each academic year of your program:

  • Maintain satisfactory academic standing;
  • Retain your Montana residency status according to the Montana Board of Regents Policy 940.1;
  • Pay your MRPIP fee annually, if applicable;
  • Be responsive to all information and form requests form our office throughout your program enrollment.

The following items represent actions consistent with Montana residency status; these items must be maintained continually throughout your professional program.

  • File annual full-year resident Montana income tax returns claiming all taxable income, including income earned in states other than Montana. Taxes filed in any other state should be filed as a full-year non-resident.
  • Maintain your Montana voter registration and vote by absentee ballot in Montana (do not register to vote in a state where you are a non-resident).
  • Maintain a valid Montana driver’s license and continue to register your vehicle(s) in Montana unless state law in your chosen school requires you to change it despite your full-time, non-resident student status while there.
    • In such cases, you should notify our office immediately and submit verification of your file to document the state requirement.
  • Refrain from taking any actions, receiving any benefits, or establishing any ties based upon residency in any other state.

Continuation of any PSEP program depends on Montana legislative appropriation. 

  • Once certified, it is the student’s responsibility to log any offers of admission received in the Award Montana Portal, including a copy of the offer letter. Failing to do so may disqualify you from receiving state funding considerations.
  • Note, for WICHE only offers of admission received by and reported to our office by the ranking deadline will be included in the ranking process for WICHE funding. The ranking deadline will be listed in your residency certification letter.
  • Offers received after this date or offers that are not reported to our office by the deadline, will receive funding consideration only on an alternate basis.

Certification Application Questions

Certification verifies Montana residency and should be completed a year prior to enrolling in a Professional Program. Residency certification is a requirement for all PSEP programs and must be submitted with medical school application information.

           i.e. students wishing to enroll in a professional school in 2025 would need to apply for certification during the 2024 cycle.

For further information, read PSEP Certification.

  • The PSEP residency certification application opens July 1.
  • For Veterinary Medicine applications, the deadline is September 1.
  • For all other fields, the  deadline for applications is October 15.

Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Additional information, documentation, or clarification of materials provided may be necessary as your application is processed. All requests are communicated via email from and via the Award Montana Portal. Be sure to save this address to your contacts, and check your email often, including Spam and Junk folder.

  • After April 5, our office will work to review any offers of admission information that you have logged for the various professional schools you've applied to. Our office then works with the professional programs to review your eligibility to receive state support through any of those programs. Our office will contact you with award information between May and July of the next year. Please be sure that you are diligent about logging any offers of admission you receive so they can be included in the review process, as state support is limited and very competitive.
    • Note: awarding may be delayed during Legislative session years until the PSEP budget has been passed and signed by the Governor.
  • Students already enrolled in a program may apply for certification and funding as an alternate – already enrolled applicant.
  • Award priority order is first given to new incoming certified students, then alternate applications if funding is available.
  • Review the BOR Policy on Residency in detail.
  • Ask yourself if you have all required ties and related documentation for the required time period (24 months prior to the certification deadline)
  • Reach out to our office with any questions as early as possible; email is the best way to reach us.
  • Gather all necessary documentation
  • Copies of MT Drivers License
  • Copies of MT Vehicle Registration Information
  • Copy of Voter Registration Information
    • Not your voter registration card, but the date you formally registered to vote in MT.
  • Official College Transcripts sent directly from your campus to our office
  • General Personal Information
  • Detailed history of your living locations from birth, in and outside of MT
  • Financial Information
  • Detailed summary of the actions you took to establish residency
  • Our office may also request additional information as needed, depending on your situation including;
    • Tax verification
    • Tax affidavits from parents
    • Amended Tax Filings
      Verification from Registrar office(s) about enrollment status at out of state institutions.
    • Others information as requested
Following residency certification, prospective students apply to professional programs they are interested in, according to the school’s admission timeline. It is advisable to apply to professional school early, especially to those schools with a rolling admissions process
  • Once certified, it is the student’s responsibility to log any offers of admission received in the Award Montana Portal, including a copy of the offer letter. Failing to do so may disqualify you from receiving state funding considerations.
  • Note, for WICHE only offers of admission received by and reported to our office by the ranking deadline will be included in the ranking process for WICHE funding. The ranking deadline will be listed in your residency certification letter.
  • Offers received after this date or offers that are not reported to our office by the deadline, will receive funding consideration only on an alternate basis.

Additional Resources:


Please email Award Montana for further help.

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Physician and Nursing Loan Repayment Programs

For basic information about Loan Repayment Programs, please refer to MRPIP or MINIP.

Montana Rural Physician Incentive Program (MRPIP)


We recommend that the supporting institution contact be either an HR Official, or a direct Manager, Supervisor, or CEO.

No, OCHE will not need to contact your loan servicer or lender; OCHE will request that you work with your loan servicer to provide any requested information such as the loan verification form (LVF).

Consider listing the site where you spend the majority of your location first and add any other locations as needed. You may wish to detail out where all you practice, and what rural populations or areas you’re serving on a separate document and upload it with your application.

Once approved for MRPIP, you do not need to reapply each year. A formal contract would be sent to you outlining all details of payments and terms for review and signature. Your responsibility shifts to completing a loan verification disbursement form through the Award Montana Portal prior to each MRPIP payment being sent.

Yes, even if your loan balance is less than $150,000 you can be considered for the program if you meet program eligibility requirements. If awarded, your award amount would be adjusted to match your current loan balance as MRPIP doesn’t over award funds.

  • If approved as a participant of MRPIP, you’re expected to complete loan disbursement verifications promptly so that your MRPIP payment can be processed timely. Failure to provide the requested documentation for loan disbursement within six months of the initial request will result in the cancellation of that loan disbursement. Failure to provide the requested documentation for the next loan disbursement, the second payment issued in a year, will result in the removal of the physician from the program with an invitation to reapply to resume remaining payments.
  • Timely completion of annual physician tracking forms which our office collects and maintains participant data to enable us to continue to request and receive ongoing state funding and legislative support for these programs. It is very important to the future of these programs to maintain this ongoing statistical data. Please be assured that no personal information will ever be disseminated or disclosed to any third party; the information is utilized only for program and legislative purposes and will be provided in aggregate and in data format only.
  • Complete a disbursement verification form when prompted by the system, upload the required documents and respond to any questions.
  • Your supporting institution will also have to complete a practice verification form.
  • OCHE staff will review these required submissions prior to a payment being processed to your lender.
  • When the payment is sent, you will be notified via email.

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Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program (MINIP)

There are no FAQs for this program at this time. Feel free to email Award Montana with a specific question.

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Montana University System
Office of Commissioner of Higher Education
P.O. Box 203201
Helena, MT 59620-3201


Director of Student Assistance
Amy Unsworth