Financial Assistance

Explore your dreams.

Tuition Discounts

WRFI believes in lowering the barriers to higher education and field-based experiential education, especially for communities who have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from these spaces.  We also know that when students bring field skills and experiences to our programs, they enrich the experience for all students.  For these reasons, we offer 5%, 10%, and 20% discounts for a variety of students automatically upon being admitted. We believe in a self-reporting structure to identify discounts that students are eligible for and reserve the right to ask for documentation of eligibility.

All of our discounts are “stack-able” up to a maximum of 20% off our tuition rates.

5% Discounts:

+ Early Registration Discount. Fill out an Academic Course Application by the following dates for the early registration discount:

*EXTENDED DEADLINE* October 1, 2023 for Spring 2024 courses

February 16, 2024 for Summer and Fall 2024 courses

+ First-generation college students.

+ Students attending public institutions of higher education (State universities and colleges, community colleges, trade schools, etc.)*

+ Students who have graduated from a Montana public high school.

+ Students who hold or will hold a valid Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT certification while on course.

10% Discounts

+ Students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges or Universities.

+ Students who are eligible for Pell Grant funding.

+ Students who learned/are learning English as a second language.

+ WRFI Alumni returning for another course.

20% Discounts

+ Students who are enrolled as Tribal/First Nations members in the US or Canada.

*UW-Madison students: your tuition already includes this discount from your home university. Please do not mark this discount in your application.


Students are welcome to apply for all the scholarships that are applicable to the course they are enrolled in or applying for.

Scholarship application deadlines:

  • Spring course scholarship applications are due on January 1.
  • Summer and Fall course scholarship applications are due on May 1.
General Scholarship

General Scholarships: WRFI offers need-based scholarships to students who might not be able to attend a course without assistance. WRFI students applying for scholarships are awarded an average of $500-$1000. To apply for a General WRFI Scholarship, please complete the WRFI scholarship application. Students will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

  • Spring course scholarship applications are due on January 1.
  • Summer course scholarship applications are due on May 1.
Beth Morris Cycle the Rockies Scholarship

This scholarship is dedicated to the memory and values of Beth Morris, who passed away in early 2014. Beth lived a long life filled with curiosity, laughter, and adventures. She loved animals and plants, as well as people working hard to live in harmony with the natural world. She pursued practical work that connected people to places, and aspired to build bridges between diverse cultures. Beth was a joyful lifelong learner and teacher who could always find something worth exploring in a companion, a forest trail, a wild river, or a long bike tour. WRFI students who embody these values would have had her enthusiastic support.

WRFI students applying for scholarships are awarded an average of $500-$1000. To apply for this scholarship, complete the Beth Morris Scholarship Application form. In addition, submit a proposal for a media project to be completed within three months of the course end. The media project should convey important course experiences, concepts and outcomes to a general audience. The project may include videography, photography, other visual arts, written work, or a combination of these modes.

Applications will be evaluated first on financial need, then on the quality and specificity of the proposed course-based media project. Applicants may attach a sample of their past work as an example of the quality of work that can be anticipated from the proposed media project. Please note that the type of media format proposed does not need to be of the same format as the sample. The Beth Morris Scholarship application deadline is May 1.

Joel DiBiase Memorial Restoration Ecology Scholarship

This scholarship is made possible by the family and friends of Joel DiBiase and is available to students enrolling in the Restoration Ecology in Greater Yellowstone course beginning in the spring of 2022.

Joel was a student on the 2019 Restoration Ecology course and sadly passed away in April 2021. Joel studied Environmental Science at Humboldt State University and Sacramento State University. His passion for the outdoors and his commitment to restoring, conserving, and preserving our public lands was contagious and admirable. Through this memorial scholarship we keep Joel’s legacy and love for wild spaces alive. To apply for this scholarship, complete the Joel DiBiase Memorial Restoration Ecology Scholarship Application Form. WRFI students applying for scholarships are awarded an average of $500-$1000. We will award scholarships on a rolling basis. The Joel DiBiase Scholarship application deadline is May 1.

Matt Thomas Montana Afoot and Afloat Scholarship

Students enrolled on the Montana Afoot & Afloat: Human/Land Relations course may apply for a Matt Thomas Scholarship. WRFI students applying for scholarships are awarded an average of $500-$1000.

Matt Thomas was a key member of the Wild Rockies Field Institute’s board and staff from the organization’s inception – he was our founding vice-president, an extremely dedicated instructor, a leader, and an inspiration for many of us. Matt passed away suddenly from natural causes in 2002. The Matt Thomas Scholarship Fund was established by Matt’s friends and family in memory of Matt and his commitment to education, and has been supported by generous donors since it’s inception.  In 2022, a group of WRFI’s leading donors stepped forward and raised significant additional funding in tribute to 20 years of the scholarship, and to honor the 20 years since Matt’s passing.  To see photos and read stories from about Matt, please visit the Matt Thomas Tribute page.

The Matt Thomas Scholarship Fund grants merit-based scholarships each year to students who clearly embody Matt’s ideals and visions. As an instructor, Matt consistently encouraged his students to consider human/land relations from multiple cultural and historical perspectives, to develop a personal philosophy for living well with the land, and to examine themselves and their interactions with the land. In his personal life Matt was dedicated to local politics, environmental and river advocacy, and the study of eco-feminism and sustainable human/land relations.

To apply for this scholarship, please complete this application and essay prompt. The Matt Thomas Scholarship application deadline is May 1.

Davidson Honors College Scholarship - Restricted to University of Montana DHC Students

The Davidson Honors College (DHC) offers scholarship funding to a University of Montana student who is a member of the Davidson Honors College and accepted to a WRFI course. For more information about this opportunity please visit the DHC website about WRFI here.

Students in the Davidson Honors College (DHC) at the University of Montana should inquire with the DHC about potential scholarship support.

Student Loans

Because the Wild Rockies Field Institute is not a Title IV, degree awarding institution, WRFI cannot accept federal aid or loans directly. However, students who receive federal financial aid can still often use it to pay for their WRFI course. A popular option for students who receive federal student loans is to obtain a “Consortium Agreement” between WRFI, the University of Montana, and their home institution. A consortium agreement essentially transfers federal financial aid from a student’s home institution to cover tuition for WRFI courses. Contact the WRFI office to learn more about the consortium agreement process.

529 Plans

You may be eligible to use your 529 College Savings Plan to pay for your WRFI course. Contact the WRFI office to learn more.

1098-T Forms

Because WRFI is not a Title IV, degree awarding institution, neither WRFI nor the University of Montana is able to furnish a 1098-T for payments made towards a WRFI course. You may request a receipt for payments made towards a WRFI course by emailing Your receipt may be used for tax purposes in lieu of a 1098-T Form.

AmeriCorps Funding

Students with an existing AmeriCorps Education Award may visit to submit a request for their award. Please contact [email protected] before submitting your request. Once requested and approved, the award will be electronically sent to the University of Montana and applied to your student account through the School for Extended and Lifelong Learning. Students will receive a check from the University of Montana for the amount of their award (less any fees they may owe UM). Students can use their award to reimburse themselves for the credit recording fee they pay on the first day of the class.