Reach Higher Montana, a Change in Direction


As we launch our new strategic plan that guides us to a new direction, one thing that won’t change is our enthusiasm for serving Montana students.

To know where we’re going, you have to know where we’ve been. Reach Higher Montana launched as the new brand for public benefit programs previously delivered through the Student Assistance Foundation in July 2016. As we launch into a new strategic plan that guides us to a new direction for much of our work for the next five years, one thing that won’t change is our enthusiasm for serving Montana students.

Our Focus
Our new path focuses our outreach to high school students in priority communities - primarily, those classified as A, B, or C schools that are located further than 30 miles from the nearest college campus, and are not already served by other similar programs. We’ll continue to help students find and apply for scholarship opportunities, and we’ll expand our efforts to help students understand their options for additional education or workforce opportunities to pursue after they graduate high school. We’ll leverage the Montana Career Information System (MCIS) to help students explore careers, interests, and educational paths - starting at 9th grade, and continuing throughout the high school years. We’ll support expansion of dual enrollment opportunities in our priority schools by supporting educators in their achievement of the requirements to teach college-level coursework in their schools. We’ll also provide funding to communities who want to explore, develop, and implement strategies they’ve designed to meet the specific needs of their students.

FAFSA completion assistance
We will discontinue providing FAFSA completion assistance, as the process has been streamlined and improved significantly over the past several years. Gone are the days of multi-page forms, cross-walked to specific lines on tax returns, all to be completed within a very short window of time. For the past several years, the FAFSA has used “prior-prior year” tax data, and provided an option to directly import tax data into the correct fields on the FAFSA. The FAFSA opens earlier, too—October 1 for the 2020-2021 academic year. We know there will always be difficult FAFSA situations that require personal assistance, and truly, the best people to address these situations are the financial aid professionals at Montana’s colleges. We’ve partnered with these folks for years, and can personally attest to their dedication and knowledge of all the financial aid intricacies. We will provide lots of resources on our new website for educators, students, and parents researching financial aid information, and of course, we’ll still remind students of important financial aid deadlines.

New and improved website
Users are able to walk through the detailed planning process for life after high school using this resource. We hope this site can serve everyone across Montana as they explore opportunities for life after high school. We have worked hard over the last few months to provide more in-depth information via videos, guides and new features.
Learn more about our strategic planning process on the following pages, and if you aren’t already following us on social media, check us out to stay informed of new developments and opportunities.