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.

 

 

 

 

Scholarships and Waivers

For basic information about scholarships and waivers, please refer to MUS Administered Scholarships and Waivers.

MUSHS and STEM – Students must be graduating from a Montana High School accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education, therefore homeschool students and some students graduating from private high schools in Montana are NOT eligible to apply. Some private high schools ARE accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education, please view the list of eligible high schools.

MUSHS and STEM – If a student took Algebra I in middle school and needs to “count” that course to meet the math requirements AND it is not listed on their high school transcript, the student will be required to upload their middle school transcript in addition to their high school transcript when they apply.

MUSHS – Students must meet the Rigorous Core Requirements

STEM – Students must complete 4 years of college preparatory math.

MUSHS – Accepting an offer does not obligate the student to enroll at a certain campus, it does ensure the award is available if they matriculate to a qualifying campus. The campus can be updated at any time while utilizing this award.

STEM – Accepting an offer does not obligate the student to enroll at a certain campus or in a certain major, it does ensure the award is available if they matriculate to a qualifying campus and they declare a qualifying major. The campus can be updated at any time while utilizing this award.

Majors are checked every semester; students do not need to communicate a change to Award Montana as long as they remain enrolled in a qualifying major. If the new major doesn’t qualify, the scholarship will be suspended, and the student will be notified via email.

View the list of qualifying STEM/Healthcare majors.

MUSHS – No, more awards are offered than the target number of awards each year, anticipating a certain percentage will decline the offers (due to going out-of-state or private, etc…) so additional offers are not made “down the line”.

STEM – No, every eligible student is offered a STEM Scholarship.

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A student can accept both, but tuition can only be waived once, therefore only one will be utilized (they cannot be “stacked”). It is generally recommended students accept ALL offers and let the campus help determine the most advantageous combination of awards.

Yes, tuition waivers can only be applied toward tuition (see the question above), but the STEM Scholarship can be used toward any Cost of Attendance, so students can utilize both (STEM can be “stacked” with a tuition waiver).

MUSHS – Students must begin by the Spring semester immediately after receiving the award. Some campuses will allow students to take a gap year, but they will “charge” them for 2 semesters of eligibility, this is up to each campus, please check directly with the campus Financial Aid Office for further clarification.

STEM – Students must begin the Fall semester immediately after receiving the award. If they do not, the scholarship will be suspended, students can appeal due to extenuating circumstances. If/when an award is suspended, the student can log into the Portal and click on “Suspension Appeals” on the top row of tabs to provide an explanation and related documentation supporting the request.

In addition, students who are entering military service can request a “Deferral” BEFORE they miss a semester, by sending an email to AwardMontana@montana.edu  these will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

MUSHS – Per policy, a student’s 8 semesters of eligibility must be continuous (Fall/Spring). However, exceptions can be granted by the campus (typical considerations may be due to health issues, outside academic experience, or military) this is up to each campus, please check directly with the campus Financial Aid Office for further clarification.

STEM – Per policy, a student’s 8 semesters of eligibility must be continuous (Fall/Spring). Appeals may be granted for reinstatement after an award has been suspended.

Students can appeal due to extenuating circumstances. If/when an award is suspended, the student can log into the Portal and click on “Suspension Appeals” on the top row of tabs to provide an explanation and related documentation supporting the request.

In addition, students who are entering military service can request a “Deferral” BEFORE they miss a semester, by sending an email to AwardMontana@montana.edu these will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

MUSHS – This award should be applied to accounts a few weeks prior to the beginning of each semester after the campus verifies the students are meeting the requirements.

STEM – This award may be applied differently depending on the campus a student attends. Some will add it to the student’s account as “pending” or “anticipated” and the student will not be required to pay this portion of their bill. Other campuses will show it as “pending” or “anticipated” in the Award Letter but it will not be applied to the account until after the 15th day of class each semester. In this case, a student may need to set up a payment plan (no cost through the Financial Aid Office) to extend this portion of their bill until after that time. If a student pays their bill in full, the campus should issue a refund once the funds have been applied to their account (this can take an additional week or so).

ALL Funds will be sent to the campuses AFTER the 15th day of class each semester AFTER Award Montana verifies the students are meeting the requirements.

MUSHS – This award does not require certain majors.

STEM – Majors are checked every semester as of the 15th day of class; students do not need to communicate a change to Award Montana as long as they are enrolled in a qualifying major. If a student declares a new major that doesn’t qualify, the scholarship will be suspended, and the student will be notified via email.

View the list of qualifying majors.

MUSHS – Most campuses do not allow use during summer semesters and if they do, they typically “charge” the student for one eligibility semester (this may be advantageous for a student that knows they will graduate earlier than 4 years). This is up to each campus; please check directly with the Financial Aid Office to inquire how they handle these requests.

STEM – These awards are only available for Fall and Spring semesters.

MUSHS and STEM – Students are required to enroll in at least 12 credits each semester while utilizing these awards. However, students on track to graduate within 4 years are not required to enroll in 12 credits during their final two semesters.

Students must have met the cumulative credits requirements prior to reducing their credit load for their final semester(s); 30 credits after 2 semesters, 60 after 4 semesters and 90 after 6 semesters.

 

MUSHS and STEM – Yes, as long as the credits have been accepted by the student’s home campus (they should show up in their online campus account). The cumulative requirements are checked prior to the beginning of each new year and also include courses taken during summer semesters as long as they have been accepted by the student’s home campus.

MUSHS and STEM – Prior to transferring to a new campus, students must log into the Award Montana Portal and fill out the Campus Change Form on the top row of tabs. Once the transfer has been reviewed and approved, the student will receive an email. (Please note: this notification only transfers the MUSHS and/or STEM awards, all other transfer actions must be handled through the campuses directly).

MUSHS – Yes, appeals are processed by the campus Financial Aid Office, check their website for a Scholarship Appeal Form, and/or contact the Financial Aid Office directly.

STEM – Yes, appeals are processed by Award Montana, if/when an award is suspended, the student can log into the Portal and click on “Suspension Appeals” on the top row of tabs to provide an explanation and related documentation supporting the request.

MUSHS – This waiver is only available for undergraduate students and cannot exceed 8 semesters, once a student receives their degree, the scholarship is no longer available. If the student requires more than 8 semesters to obtain their degree, campuses are not required to extend to a 9th semester, however, they do have the option to do so as a discretionary waiver. Please check with the Financial Aid Office directly to inquire how they handle these requests.

STEM – This award is only available for undergraduate students and cannot exceed 8 semesters. However, if a student notifies OCHE prior to graduation that they will receive their bachelor's degree in less than 4 years, and the campus confirms this status, OCHE will pay the remaining scholarship amount during the student's final semester. To qualify, students must email a notification to AwardMontana@Montana.edu  prior to their final semester.

MUSHS – The campus will automatically check the renewal requirements each semester/year. If a student falls below the requirements they will be notified by the campus. If the student had extenuating circumstances, they can appeal for possible reinstatement through the Financial Aid Office.

STEM – Award Montana will automatically check the renewal requirements each semester/year. If a student falls below the requirements, they will be notified via email. If the student had extenuating circumstances, they can appeal for possible reinstatement in the Award Montana Portal, by clicking on the “Suspension Appeals” tab in their account.

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Students must file a FAFSA every year; the campus then calculates to verify if they have Unmet Need

COST OF ATTENDANCE (this amount is posted on every campus website)
- Minus SAI = Student Aid Index (from the FAFSA)
- Minus ALL other scholarships and grants
= Unmet Need (before loans) *

*Note: Students must have at least $1 of Unmet Need to qualify for this award.

  • For renewing students and students who apply early, Award Montana will begin requesting verification of the eligibility requirements from the campus a few weeks prior to the beginning of each semester. Funds will be sent once the requirements are confirmed, typically around the time classes begin. This can sometimes be delayed (depending on the workload at the campus, or if there are any issues regarding eligibility).
  • For students who apply closer to the beginning of the semester, Award Montana waits until after the posted deadline to request eligibility requirements from the campuses, and typically doesn’t send funds until a few weeks after the posted deadline. (Fall semester: Sept. 15; Spring semester: Feb 15).
  • If a student pays their bill in full, the campus should issue a refund once the funds have been applied to their account (this can take an additional week or so).
  • Qualifying students enrolled in less than 6 credits do not qualify and their award will be suspended.
  • Qualifying students enrolled in 6-11 credits will receive $750 that semester.
  • Students enrolled in 12 or more credits will receive $1,500 that semester.

The maximum lifetime award amount is four full-time or eight part-time semesters (or an equivalent combination).

Once a student is Active in the Program, they do not need to reapply unless they have a break in enrollment (fall/spring) or have not met the eligibility requirements. If this happens, the student will be notified via email. If a student wants to utilize the award for a future semester, they will need to re-apply in the Award Montana Portal.

NOTE: students can always check their status in the portal anytime on the "Application & Awards" tab at the top of their homepage, if the "Program Enrollment" is listed as “Active”, they don’t need to reapply in our system.

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Waiver amounts will vary by student and by semester based on the following calculation;

TUITION ONLY (No Fees) (no Flat fee courses)
Minus Federal Military Tuition Assistance
Minus Federal Grants (PELL Grant, SEOG, etc…)
Minus State Grants and/or scholarships
Minus Private grants and/or scholarships
TUITION Balance*** = National Guard Tuition Waiver (up to in-state tuition only).

Yes, the student should only be charged in-state tuition if they qualify for the waiver (even though there may not be an amount left to waive).

Yes, at a qualifying campus, it can be used for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs for tuition only.

NOTE: it cannot be used for flat fee courses or Program fees (sometimes referred to as super-tuition) these are fees charged to students in certain programs (e.g. business majors). Tuition waivers do not cover program fees, even though they are sometimes referred to as being a tuition charge.

Students should verify the tuition amount for their chosen program with the Financial Aid Office.

Once a student is Active in the Program, they do not need to reapply unless they have a break in enrollment (fall/spring) or have not met the eligibility requirements. If this happens, the student will be notified via email. If a student wants to utilize the award for a future semester, they will need to re-apply in the Award Montana Portal.

NOTE: students can always check their status in the portal anytime on the "Application & Awards" tab at the top of their homepage, if the "Program Enrollment" is listed as “Active”, they don’t need to reapply in our system.

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Waiver amounts will vary by student and by semester based on the following calculation;

TUITION ONLY (No Fees) (no Flat fee courses)
Minus Federal Grants (PELL Grant, SEOG, etc…)
Minus State Grants and/or scholarships
Minus Private grants and/or scholarships
TUITION Balance*** = MT Honorably Discharged Veterans Tuition Waiver (up to in-state tuition only)

Yes, at a qualifying campus, it can be used for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs for tuition only.

NOTE: it cannot be used for flat fee courses or Program fees (sometimes referred to as super-tuition) these are fees charged to students in certain programs (e.g. business majors). Tuition waivers do not cover program fees, even though they are sometimes referred to as being a tuition charge.

Students should verify the tuition amount for their chosen program with the Financial Aid Office.

Once a student is Active in the Program, they do not need to reapply unless they have a break in enrollment (fall/spring) or have not met the eligibility requirements. If this happens, the student will be notified via email. If a student wants to utilize the award for a future semester, they will need to re-apply in the Award Montana Portal.

NOTE: students can always check their status in the portal anytime on the "Application & Awards" tab at the top of their homepage, if the "Program Enrollment" is listed as “Active”, they don’t need to reapply in our system.

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Professional Student Exchange Programs

For basic information about PSEP, please refer to MUS PSEP or Apply Montana MUS PSEP.

  • 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.

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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.
Not all programs accept certifications following the due date. Please reach out to OCHE staff at awardmontana@montana.edu to enquire about submitting a late application. Note late applications receive secondary consideration for funding compared to certifications submitted by the required application deadline.

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 awardmontana@montana.edu 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.

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Physician and Nursing Loan Repayment Programs

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

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.

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

 

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