Pathways and Achievement grant

Montana GEAR UP Achievement Grant (AG)

Congratulations to the 244 GEAR UP Juniors from 23 schools across the state who were awarded the $1,500 Achievement Grant this winter. These students will be eligible to apply for the Pathways Scholarship worth over $22,000 their senior year. Click here for a list of the 2014-2015 Achievement Grant Recipient List

Achievement Grant Recipients, to request your award:
1.  Enroll at a qualifying campus.
2.  Print and fill out the Notice of Intent to Enroll Form.
3.  Mail the form with your final high school transcript to:

Montana GEAR UP Scholarship Department
Po Box 203101
Helena, MT 59620-3101

For questions, please contact the Montana GEAR UP Scholarship Department at 1-800-537-7508 or

Montana GEAR UP Spirit of Community Scholarship

The Spirit of Community Scholarship will be awarded to a high school senior who demonstrated leadership skills through a commitment to community service and hopes to pursue a career in Education or Nursing. The Spirit of Community Scholarship is worth up to $15,000 annually, up to four years, and may be used to cover the student’s cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books/materials, room, meal plans, etc.) at any accredited college or university in the state of Montana that awards an associate’s degree or higher. Scholarship will be awarded based on academic achievement, community service involvement, leadership, and financial need.

Eligibility Requirements:
In order to apply for the Spirit of Community Scholarship you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a currently enrolled senior at a Montana GEAR UP high school
  • Be on track to complete the MUS college preparatory curriculum upon high school graduation, as evidenced by your 7th semester high school transcript
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study in either Education or Nursing
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Have an ACT composite score of 17 or SAT composite score of 1210
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be Pell Grant eligible as evidenced by your Student Aid Report (SAR) or (have demonstrated financial need)
  • Be of Native American descent
  • Demonstrate leadership abilities in school activities or through work experience
  • Show a strong commitment to community service

Application and information can be found here.

Mail completed application by April 22, 2016 to:
Montana GEAR UP
ATTN: Spirit of Community Scholarship
PO Box 203201
Helena, MT 59620-3201

Montana GEAR UP Matched Education Savings Account (MESA) Program

What is a “MESA”?
A Matched Education Savings Account (MESA), also known as an individual Development Account (IDA), is a special matched savings account for people with lower incomes. These accounts are designed to help families and individuals of modest means establish a pattern of regular saving and, ultimately, purchase a “productive asset.” A productive asset” is something of value that is likely to return substantial long‐term benefits to its owner. While your paycheck helps you to buy food and clothing and pay your bills each month, an asset provides financial security for the future. Typically, IDA savings and match money can be used to buy a house, pay for education, or start a small business. Most IDA programs focus on a particular type of asset like education or home ownership. The Montana MESA Programs are dedicated to helping participants save for post‐secondary education at a Montana school.

What is a “savings match?”

A “savings match” is a promise to supplement a MESA or IDA participant’s savings deposit at a specific rate. For example, a 5:1 savings match means that for every dollar a participant saves as part of the program, he or she will be eligible to receive another five dollars. So if you save $500 throughout the course of the program and meet all the other program requirements you will be eligible for $2,500 match to purchase the agreed upon asset. The maximum match that the participant will be eligible to receive is dependent on the particular MESA program they are eligible for. Matched funding may not be used to pay toward student loans or housing.

Montana GEAR UP Pathways Scholarship

This a competitive scholarship currently valued at $23,100, or up to $5,775 per year for four years.  The scholarship may be used at any accredited 2- or 4- year institution in the United States which awards an associate degree or higher.
The scholarship is open only to students who have earned the Montana GEAR UP Achievement Grant as 11th grader,  who meet the Montana GEAR UP Pathways Scholarship eligibility requirements, and apply during their senior year of high school.  The scholarship is awarded based upon a variety of factors including financial need, academic preparation and performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, community service or volunteer projects, the quality of response on the written application, and the quality of the project. 

The scholarship may be awarded over a five-year period as long as the recipient continues to make satisfactory academic progress (as defined by their college or university), completes at least six credits per semester and maintains a 2.0 GPA.

If you have any questions regarding the Pathways Scholarship, please contact 1-800-537-7508.

2015-2016 Seniors
Determine eligibility.

  1. Did you earn the Montana GEAR UP Achievement Grant as a junior in high school?
  2. Are you currently enrolled in a Montana GEAR UP 2005 grant school as a senior?
  3. Do you have a 2.5 cumulative GPA?
  4. Are you Pell Grant eligible as evidenced by your FAFSA Student Aid Report?
  5. Are you on track to complete the MUS college preparatory curriculum upon graduation from high school as evidenced by your 7th semester high school transcript?


Credits Needed for Graduation Under MUS
College Preparatory Curriculum


4 years

Social Studies

3 years


3 years

Lab Science

2 years


2 years

Visit for more information.


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Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs • Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
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