GET FUNDED: FAFSA program offers free help to win free money

Mary Howard travels around Western Montana trying to help students get money for post-high school education.

Fortunately for Bigfork High School students, her primary office for Reach Higher Montana is on their campus.

Now she has a new computer technology that helps students sharpen their focus on their best chances to get funded for college.

“It’s kind of nice because they get a jump on things by setting up search parameters for grants and loans they will qualify for,” said Howard, Regional Director. She will host a meeting with Bigfork juniors on the subject.

Logan Taylor, a 16-year-old junior, is taking advantage of the program.

“She helped me get setup with a couple of programs to look at different scholarships options available to me,” said Taylor, who plays football, basketball and track for the Vikings. “She really made it clear what all of us need to do for senior year and keep my options open.”

Logan’s Mom is teacher Stormy Taylor and he is sure she will get his two younger siblings into the Reach Higher program when they become juniors.

Logan, who likes science, technology and the great outdoors, is considering Montana Tech, MSU and Montana Western.

Howard stresses that students can get funding to go to tech schools or community colleges. Of Bigfork’s 65 seniors, 80 percent will go on to post-high school education, Howard said. Ironically, one of her program’s strongest supporters is June’s valedictorian Ross Coleman, now a freshman at U of Montana.

“I did not use Mrs. Howard’s FAFSA program last year, which was a mistake,” said the UM Spirit Squad member. “ I suggest students utilize her and her advice because I have to do it on my own now and it’s definitely a process.”

The Reach Montana wedsite address is where studentS can get started getting their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) paperwork completed for free.

Students can apply for a $1,000 Reach Higher Scholarship at

Contact Howard at 406-837-7420 ext. 257 or

STEM scholarships for Montana seniors:

Governor’s Best and Brightest:

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