Financial Assistance

Explore your dreams.


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

Joel DiBiase Memorial 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 Scholarship Application Form. We will award scholarships on a rolling basis until the final application deadline of April 20, 2022.

General Scholarship

General Scholarships: WRFI offers need-based scholarships to students who might not be able to attend a course without assistance. These scholarships are usually five to ten percent of tuition. 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.

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.

Funding from Beth Morris’ Estate will provide up to $1,500 in scholarships for students on the Cycle the Rockies course in 2021. 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 application deadline is April 14, 2022.

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. Funding is awarded from the DHC biannual scholarship fund.

DHC students must apply for this scholarship through the Davidson Honors College. For scholarships for summer and fall courses, students should apply by March 15. For scholarships for spring semester, students should apply by October 15.

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 which ranges in funding from $500 to $3,000.

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.

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, complete WRFI’s Scholarship Application Form and the following essay questions.

Essay Questions

In his book, The Rediscovery of North America, Barry Lopez defines the Spanish term la querencia as, “A place in which we know exactly who we are; the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.” For both Barry Lopez and Matt Thomas, calling a place home meant developing this kind of a relationship with that place.

Consider an encounter you have had with a place, either past or present, and answer the following questions in two pages or less:

  • How did you become intimate with the place and what did you (or do you) get out of your relationship to the place?
  • What responsibilities or obligations have you felt to the place you are writing about?
  • Have you ever felt that the place you are writing about is or could be threatened in some way? If so, how did/would you respond?

Please submit your application and essay answers by June 24, 2022.

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.

Tuition Discounts

At WRFI, we appreciate it when you help spread the word about the value of our courses. We also want to recognize the loyalty of our repeat students. That’s why we offer a variety of tuition discounts.

Buddy Bonus:

It’s pretty simple: for every “buddy” that you recruit to participate on a WRFI course we’ll send you $100. Your “buddy” just needs to make sure to include your name on question #5 of our course application.

All in the Family:

Family members of WRFI alumni receive a 10% discount on the WRFI course of their choice.

Come Again:

Receive a 10% discount on your WRFI tuition when you enroll in your second (or third!) WRFI course.

Montana Resident Tuition Discount:

Montana residents receive a 15% discount on tuition for all courses offered. Include a copy of your Montana Driver’s License or State Identification Card with your application materials to qualify for this discount.

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.