The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an integral part of applying for college, scholarships, work-study, grants, and more. Reach Higher Montana gives you the tools and resources to support your student’s FAFSA needs. Use our information to help your students reach higher!
FAFSA Resources We Love
These resources will help you and your students through the FAFSA process.
- FSA ID - Start with the FSA ID. Before you can file the FAFSA, you need to have an FSA ID. Both the student and one parent (if student is dependent) need to have their own FSA ID.
- Federal Student Aid - FAFSA filing starts here. Using your FSA ID, login to FAFSA and start finding money for school! The FAFSA opens October 1, and Montana’s priority filing deadline is December 1. To complete the FAFSA, students and parents will need their tax information from two-years prior to the anticipated start of college.
- High School Counselor Update - Keep up-to-date with this video provided by Montana Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA). The information focuses on Helena, but could be applied to other areas. If you have questions, ask the school's financial aid office.
- IRS Data Retrieval Tool - You will have the option to import tax information directly from the IRS into the appropriate fields on the FAFSA using this tool. This could also prevent your FAFSA being selected for verification, which may slow down processing time.
- FAFSA Mobile App - You can now file your FAFSA from anywhere; even from your phone. There are a lot of great perks to filing from your phone, as of now the IRS data retrieval tool is not available via the mobile app.
- Completing the FAFSA Form - This is a comprehensive guide produced by studentaid.gov that outlines every detail of the FAFSA. Use the table of contents to locate answers for specific topics.
- Form Your Future Social Media Tools - The National College Access Network (NCAN) has developed social media posts as a fun way to inspire students to get their FAFSAs filed!
Host Your Own FAFSA Night Event
FAFSA Help events bring students and families together to discuss the importance of filing the FAFSA for college. It’s not just for student loans - filing the FAFSA is important for scholarships, federal grants, work-study opportunities, and more. Help students and parents learn why the FAFSA matters and how easy it is to file!
- The FAFSA Help Guide – Our guide walks you through every step in executing a successful FAFSA Help event. From timelines to checklists, we’ve got you covered!
- Financial Aid Contacts – College financial aid staff are truly the FAFSA experts! They’re a great resource to ask FAFSA questions and to help host your event. No college in your community? Email us at info@ReachHigherMontana.org and we’ll put you in touch with a financial aid professional.
Want a well-attended event? Use these templates to promote your own FAFSA Night!
This video covers the Best Practices for hosting your own FAFSA event. From planning to marketing, to helpful hints to make your event go smoothly.
Joe Michaud from Jefferson High in Boulder, Montana shares how he successfully hosts FAFSA events at his school.
Dual Enrollment Educator Scholarship
The Reach Higher Montana Dual Enrollment Educator Scholarship aims to increase high school students’ access to high-quality dual enrollment opportunities by expanding the number of educators eligible to teach courses for college credit, especially in Montana’s small communities.
Educator currently teaching in Montana, preferably in a high school classified as A, B, or C.
Committed to offering dual enrollment course(s) in current school upon completion of educational requirements (Master’s degree, plus nine graduate credits in content area for General Education Core; additional education as needed for Career and Technical Education courses).
- Up to $5,000 per year, for up to two years.
How to Apply:
- Application opens in March each year.
Our 2020 Dual Enrollment Educator Scholarship Recipients
Damian Estrada, Whitefish High School
Estrada currently teaches AP Biology, Biology, Chemistry, and Geometry. The scholarship will allow Estrada to earn additional graduate credits in the field of Biology/Genetics, which will prepare him to teach Biotechnology as a dual enrollment course for Whitefish High School students. Biotechnology is a three-credit course at both Flathead Valley Community College and Montana State University. Estrada has taught in the Whitefish School District for six years.
Misty Ketola, Reedpoint High School
Ketola currently teaches English Language Arts, AP English, Journalism, and College Composition. The scholarship will allow Ketola to earn a graduate degree in literacy and complete her requirements to teach College Composition through Dawson Community College. Upon completion of her Master’s degree, Ketola aims to offer her students dual enrollment opportunities in Writing 101/College Writing I, Writing 202/College Writing II, Writing 203/College Writing III, Creative Writing, and Literature 110/Intro to Literature. Ketola has taught in the Reed Point School District for six years.
Thomas Temple, Dawson County High School
Temple currently teaches Geology as a dual enrollment course and is teaching Physics on a provisional basis while completing requirements for full certification. Temple will complete a Master of Science in Science Education program through Montana State University. Temple has taught in the Dawson County High School District for twenty-four years.
For questions regarding the scholarship, please contact Executive Director, Kelly Cresswell kcresswell@ReachHigherMontana.org.
College Signing Week
College Signing Day was created to celebrate ALL students making the commitment to pursue postsecondary options. Our goal is to promote excitement and awareness around the importance of making plans beyond high school, at all age levels, whether a student is enrolling in a 2 or 4-year college or university, enlisting in the armed forces, or registering for a certification or trade program.
Please plan on participating, you will help to expand opportunities for young people in your community by exposing students to career and college options. For any questions, please contact Sam Garetson, GEAR UP Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Maria Lillrose, ETS College Access Manager, email@example.com.