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Grants are need-based financial aid you can use for any educational expense and do not have to repay after graduation. The Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program and is designed to help undergraduates from medium to low-income households. You can view additional guidance for federal aid types on the Federal Government website.

Federal Pell Grant

Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is determined each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligibility is determined by Department of Education and a Student Aid Index (SAI) is assigned. The amount of Pell Grant is based on this SAI and the student’s enrollment status.

A student attending full-time (12+ credits) will receive maximum eligibility based on their SAI and the Federal Pell Grant eligibility determined by Department of Education each year.

Students enrolled in less than 12 credits will receive a pro-rated amount based on the percentage of hours enrolled divided by full time enrollment. (ie: student is enrolled in 8 credits – 8/12=.667 percentage of the allowed maximum Pell based on their SAI)(rounding is as follows: .500 to .999 is rounded up & .001 to .499 is rounded down)

A student who is enrolled Less than Half Time (LTHT) (below 6 credit hours), may lose Pell Grant eligibility due to the allowed Cost of Attendance (COA). Due to this potential reduction and beginning with fiscal year 2024-2025, the Financial Aid Office (FAO) will calculate Pell Grant eligibility for the year at the LTHT Pell amount if you are enrolled at LTHT during the Fall semester. This is to avoid potential repayment by the student for ineligibility at LTHT. If the student is enrolled greater than LTHT (6 or more credit hours) in the Spring semester, Pell Grant eligibility will be recalculated and awards applied to the student based on their attendance and new COA as of the Spring Census Date (15th day of the full semester).

A student ceases to be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant once they have completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree or have received the equivalent of six years of full-time grants, whichever comes first.

A student’s Cost of Attendance is calculated for each semester as of our Census Date, which is the 15th day of the full semester.

Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant must begin attendance in all their classes. Pell Grant eligibility is based on attendance and will be reduced if the student’s attendance takes them below full-time attendance.

If at the end of the semester a student’s recorded grades show they received one or more failing grades (‘F’, ‘FN’, ‘DN’, ‘W’, ‘I’, ‘NR’; ‘NP’), they may have to repay some or all of their Federal Pell Grant as well as other federal student aid.

You can view additional Pell Grant information on the Federal Government website

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

To be eligible for the FSEOG, a student must also be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Federal Regulations require this grant to go to the neediest students which means it is awarded to the lowest SAI first.

This grant is limited where the Pell Grant is not. This means fewer students will receive the FSEOG award.

UM Western awards $600 per year for full time (12+ credits) status and is then pro-rated based on enrollment (75% for Three-Quarter (9-11 credits), (50% for Half-time (6-8 credits) and (25% for Less Than Half Time (1-5 credits). These awards are disbursed half for Fall and half for the Spring Semesters.

Federal Teach Grant

The federal TEACH grant is actually a forgivable loan provided to students who are planning to teach high need subjects in low income schools. The grant is worth up to $4000 per academic year and is NOT need-based.

Undergraduate students who are in specific Education majors and have been accepted into the Teacher Education Program (TEP) are the only students eligible. Post-baccalaureate and Graduate students are not eligible.

Students must submit UM Western’s Teach Grant Certification form; Teach Grant Counseling; and complete an Agreement to Serve (ATS). Go here, if you would like to see a preview the Agreement to Serve (ATS).

If a student does not complete the teaching requirement detailed in the ATS, the grant will revert to an unsubsidized loan with retroactive interest back to the date of first disbursement. Go here to view additional Teach Grant Information.

Here is the link to the Federal Government site for the Teach Grant Program.

State Funding

Funds are available through the State of Montana and the forms are available on the Montana University System site and through funding provided directly to schools. Montana seeks to make higher education affordable for its residents by keeping tuition rates low.

Most states only allow students to receive their grants if attending schools in their state. However, some states may allow students to receive their grants even if they are attending out of state. Check with your state’s affiliated offices for guidance.