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2024 Montana Primary elections

Student aid applications from Montanans are down 35% from last year, national data show

The National College Attainment Network said submissions for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, are down nationwide this year compared to 2023.

In Montana, 35% fewer high school seniors than last year had submitted an aid application as of April 5. That’s partially because the FAFSA opened later this year due to federal delays.

University of Montana communications director Dave Kuntz said the university just received financial aid information from the federal government, about four months later than usual.

“Any time that we’re seeing these delays, it’s likely meaning that there are less Montanans who are going to choose to come to college, and that’s bad not just for the University of Montana, but for the state,” Kuntz said.

Kuntz said the university is working to send out financial aid offers as soon as possible. He added the university extended its deadline for students to submit their FAFSA information by a month to allow for more time to fill the form out.

Montana State University (MSU) spokesperson Michael Becker said the school is also being impacted by the FAFSA delay. He said MSU is encouraging prospective students to stay in contact with the university as it begins to release financial aid offers.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
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