Graduation Matters Montana, Student Assistance Foundation Award 17 Grants Supporting Student Access To College

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and Kelly Cresswell, vice president of Foundation Activities at Student Assistance Foundation (SAF), are pleased to announce the 17 Graduation Matters Montana communities who will be receiving more than $46,000 in grants from the Graduation Matters Montana Student Assistance Foundation College Readiness Fund. Communities will receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. Remaining money from SAF’s $50,000 donation will be used for bonuses to districts that meet Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion goals of 35 percent.

“This investment in our Montana students is crucial to opening doors for their future,” Superintendent Juneau said. “Graduation Matters communities will be able to do even more to assist their students and families in setting goals and finding the best path for life after high school graduation.”

The Graduation Matters Montana Student Assistance Foundation College Readiness grant awardees average a 32 percent FAFSA completion rate.

“We are pleased to once again partner with local communities to increase the FAFSA completion rate of their high school graduates,” said Cresswell. “Access to funding to pay for education can be a major hurdle in transitioning to college, and completing the FAFSA is the avenue to access federal financial aid resources.”

This collaborative grant has proven to be successful in supporting college readiness. Over the last three years, Montana students and their families have accessed an additional $4.3 million in federal aid for college. Along with increasing completion of the FAFSA, schools will use the grant to provide students and their families with college and career exploration opportunities. Grantee schools will also participate in College Application Week Nov. 2-6, an effort to raise awareness about college opportunities and increase the number of Montana students who apply for college.

High Schools Receiving Awards from the Graduation Matters Montana Student Assistance Foundation College Readiness Fund: Anaconda ($4,000), Billings ($5,000), Bozeman ($3,500), Butte ($1,800), Columbia Falls ($1,200), Corvallis ($5,000), Custer Co. ($3,000), Hardin ($2,700), Helena/Capital ($2,000), Hot Springs ($500), Jefferson ($2,500), Libby ($2,500), Park High ($3,000), Ronan ($3,000), Thompson Falls ($500), Troy ($2,400) and Wolf Point ($3,500).