December 22, 2016 Voices Of Montana, _Default

Reach Higher Montana

There have been a lot of changes since I went to college: hairstyles for one and, of course, the electronic devices. Which, by the way, there were none in my era, unless you count the Sony Walkman and my trusty old boom box.

reach higher mt

Some of the biggest changes are trying to figure out grants, scholarships, and to get realistic information on educational financial planning. These rules, guidelines, and deadlines have changed greatly since most parents have been in college.

Now, there is a program in Montana to help out. It’s called “Reach Higher Montana.” It is based in Helena and is a public benefit partnership between the Student Assistance Foundation and the Montana higher education student assistance program.

Although they are based in Helena, they have advisers throughout the state of Montana that can help anyone navigate the choppy waters to higher education finance and school guidance.

They help with scholarships, financial aid, and admissions and, according to their regional director Kelly Cresswell, “Reach Higher Montana is here to guide, prepare, and support Montana students on their higher education journey.”

The program is not only for high school students. It’s for anyone who wants to further their education. From the community colleges to the state universities, trade schools and on-line degrees.

college students

On Voices of Montana Thursday, regional director Jennifer Almli told us,, “I’m from Miles City so I know how great community colleges can be, and trade schools are a great choice for many.”

“When it comes to non-traditional students, there are many rules that have just plain changed and we can help,” Kelly told us. “A lot of times room and board is the most expensive part of college and that is a shock to many people, including parents.”

The Montana Legislature has frozen tuitions for Montana colleges and that’s great. But while tuitions have stayed put, room and board continues to climb, and in many instances exceeds the tuition costs.

For anyone that is interested in higher education, there is just no reason not to contact Reach Higher Montana. “We work with most of the schools in the state and are in contact with the guidance counselors,” says Jennifer Almli. “We know most of them and we work closely with them.”

There are on-campus visits that take a real look at college life from the dorms to the cafeteria. They also have their own scholarships that they offer. Can you get more money for school? who knows until you ask these professional advisers with no cost to you or anyone else.

There is a lot to learn on your way to higher education and the advisers at Reach Higher Montana are here to help make it go as smoothly as possible. Go to and see if they can help you.