We take seriously our education mission and believe that experiential education should be available to everyone, regardless of income level. Accordingly, we work hard to help you explore available options to finance our education programs.
Swan Valley Connections maintains a scholarship fund for students who have the passion and commitment to excel in one of our college field programs, but who require financial assistance to join us for this life-changing experience.
Scholarships from our general fund are based on a combination of financial need and academic merit. We are grateful to the Evelyn H. Fuldner Foundation for supporting our general scholarship fund. The generosity of the Fuldner Foundation provides seed funding to help us grow and expand our scholarship opportunities to inspire a new generation of conservationists, scientists, educators, and citizens.
We also offer the Agnes Beck Memorial Scholarship which honors the legacy of a remarkable woman and is reserved for students who currently have in-state residency status at any Montana university. To apply for either a general scholarship or the Agnes Beck Memorial Scholarship, please follow the procedures outlined here.
We can accommodate payment plans (for example, spreading your tuition payments out over three installments) if you find that paying your tuition in one lump sum is impossible.
FEDERAL STUDENT AID
If you receive federal aid, chances are good that you can transfer that financial aid to cover the cost of our tuition. The process for accomplishing this is outlined below.
AMERICORPS SEGAL EDUCATION AWARDS AND VETERAN'S BENEFITS
We accept Americorps Segal Education Award vouchers and Montgomery/Post9/11 GI Bill education awards. If you are eligible for either of these options and intend to use them for tuition, please let us know as soon as possible because processing of these awards can take some time. While Swan Valley Connections is not itself a Title IV school, our courses are offered for credit through the University of Montana, with credits being processed through UM's School of Extended and Lifelong Learning.
FEDERAL STUDENT AID
Many universities, including the University of Montana, will allow you to transfer your federal financial aid to cover the costs of our field programs. This process is called a consortium agreement. Some universities will NOT allow consortiums; check with your school's financial aid office to find out.
Directions: Request consortium agreement paperwork from your Financial Aid office. You will see that it requires several signatures, typically from your advisor and from our office. The first thing you need to do is get your advisor’s signature, which will undoubtedly require you to submit our syllabi for their approval. Please request our syllabi if you have not already been sent them.
Once your advisor has signed the document, mail it to us for our signature. We will provide a breakdown of tuition, room & board, books, and associated fees. Depending on your particular school's consortium paperwork, you may need to further get signatures from your own financial aid office.
If you happen to be a University of Montana student, the UM financial aid office will need to sign. The consortium form usually asks for the name of the "Host Institution." If you are currently enrolled at the University of Montana, you will enter "Swan Valley Connections" under Host. If you are a student at any other university, you will enter "University of Montana" as the Host Institution.
This process can take as little as a week or as long as a month, depending on the time frame at financial aid and your organizational skills. You will also need to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible to expedite this process.
For current UM students, the best person in the Financial Aid office to contact is Holly Kulish, 406.243.4168 or Holly.Kulish@mso.umt.edu, who handles consortium agreements.
If your school does not do Consortium Agreements, and you do receive federal financial aid, you may want to find out whether you can apply for an "In School Deferment." This form shows that you were in school with Swan Valley Connections, so that your loans do not come due unexpectedly.
IMAGE: Lauren Kearns