HELENA – Seniors at 150 Montana high schools can send an application to any Montana campus of their choosing without paying a fee this week, eliminating a potential stumbling block for low-income students.
This is the 6th year of Montana’s College Application Week initiative, which is part of a national effort to remove barriers for high school seniors considering higher education.
The goal is to help students navigate the college admissions process by providing an opportunity to complete at least one application with support from school staff and other volunteers. High schools host events, set aside time for students to apply, and celebrate a college-going culture to increase college-awareness and expectations in schools and communities.
“College Application Week helps me save money and get a better idea of where I want to attend college. I realize all the things I have done throughout my high school years, my accomplishments, and am ready to further my education. I feel confident about my future,” said Eve The Boy, senior at Box Elder High School.
The state-wide initiative is coordinated by Montana GEAR UP and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. “College Application Week provides Montana high school seniors with a great opportunity to save money and to start planning,” Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said. “This is a very exciting time for students and for our colleges and universities that look forward to welcoming and serving them.”
OCHE and GEAR UP work with K12 and post-secondary access partners including Montana’s Office of Public Instruction on the initiative. “College Application Week provides all Montana students with a pathway for college opportunities,” State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said. “This is an exciting collaboration between Montana’s K-12 and higher education systems for the benefit of our students.”
In 2013, 84 Montana high schools participated and agreed to provide structured time for application completion during the week. “Students of all socioeconomic backgrounds struggle to prioritize completion of college applications while balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, jobs, and their social lives,” said Zach Hawkins, director of GEAR UP. “College Application Week helps by giving them time and support.”
The initial number of participating high schools has grown steadily along with the number of applications submitted. In 2017, 3,561 applications were submitted by seniors from 142 high schools. All Montana postsecondary institutions have agreed to waive or defer the application fee for students from participating high schools since 2014.
Visit https://mus.edu/gearup/caw.asp to apply.