Paying for College at MSUB
MSU Billings offers many student services to assist you in reaching your academic and career goals. Financial Education is a collaborative effort, with a variety of campus offices providing information and support.
60% of MSUB students use some form of financial aid to help pay for school. Aid is available for traditional students, adult learners, and graduate students. Once you are admitted to MSUB, you can monitor the status of your financial aid or your bill in your myInfo (Secure Area). See links at the bottom of the page for where to go for help if you have questions.
1) Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
See the Financial Aid website for eligibility requirements and recommended application timeline.
- There is no income cap for FAFSA. You won't know what you qualify for until you apply.
- There is no age limit for FAFSA. Adult learners who are otherwise eligible may receive financial aid.
- Completing FAFSA does not obligate you (or your parent) to anything.
- You choose which portions of your award you want to accept. You can decline loans or accept a portion.
- The FAFSA provides information that MSUB uses to award financial aid.
- FAFSAs are accepted year round. Apply as early as possible. It can take 10 weeks for MSUB to process an award.
Assemble these items to make FAFSA go more smoothly.
- Don't rush FAFSA. Be careful and accurate. Double-check numbers.
- Read definitions in the right sidebar. The FAFSA uses very specific language.
- Dependency for FAFSA is not the same as for the IRS or any other agency. If you are under 24, you must include parent information, unless you can document one of the specific exceptions that the FAFSA asks about. It doesn't matter if you live on your own and pay your own bills. It doesn't matter if you have a child, unless you can prove you earn enough income or public assistance to support the child. If you do have a special circumstance, contact the Financial Aid Office right away.
- Putting parent information on the FAFSA does not obligate the parent to anything.
- If eligible, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer tax information directly into the FAFSA. (Go to Instructions for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool).
- The FAFSA now uses income information from two years prior. You will not update FAFSA with your last year's taxes. If your income has changed drastically, you can ask the Financial Aid Office review your situation manually.
The confirmation email you receive from Federal Student Aid telling you that you successfully
completed FAFSA is not your award letter, nor a guarantee of aid.
Check out MSUB Financial Aid Process to see the steps to take after FAFSA and the recommended timeline.
2) Apply for Scholarships
Scholarships are financial aid that does not have to be repaid. MSU Billings scholarship applications are accepted year-round. The general MSUB Scholarship application opens November 1st for the following academic year (Fall/Spring/Summer). Apply by the priority date for maximum consideration for a scholarship. Also apply for outside scholarships.
The minimum GPA to receive an MSUB scholarship is 2.0. Some scholarships may require a higher GPA. Some scholarships are based on financial need; some are awarded based on academic achievement or campus and community involvement. The FAFSA is used to award certain need-based scholarships.
3) Estimate your College Costs
Business Services generates bills toward the beginning of the semester. You can estimate your bill before it comes out so you can plan ahead, using the MSU Billings Estimated Budget worksheet, which can be found under Cost of Attendance on the Financial Aid website.
Cost of Attendance is not your bill from the school and it's not your financial aid award. It’s an estimated budget for ALL the things financial aid could be used for, which includes housing, food, and personal expenses like transportation and laundry soap.
Part A of the worksheet includes things that would be on your bill. There are charts on the second page you can use to estimate these expense. Part B helps you estimate other expenses that are NOT on your bill, such as books and your parking permit. Financial Aid can be used for all of these expenses.
As a tip, you should always keep at least $800 in savings for semester-start costs, emergencies, and as a cash-flow cushion for bills.
4) Use Financial Aid/Pay your Bill
Some students may have more than enough in financial aid and scholarships to cover their bill, while others may need to make payment arrangements for a balance due.
Things to note:
- Financial aid does not go toward your bill automatically. You must log into myInfo 10 days before semester start and click on CONFIRM ATTENDANCE to accept your charges and authorize Business Services to apply your award toward your bill.
- You will not get a paper bill. Bills are posted online in myInfo.
- Payment is due the first day of class. Students should still attend class even if they have not finalized payment arrangements.
- You can pay balance due online or in person. Contact Business Services if you want to spread out payments.
- If you have aid remaining, it will be paid to you as a financial aid "refund." For a faster refund, sign up for Direct Deposit under the QuikPay access under your bill in myInfo. Contact Business Services if you have questions.
Go to MSUB Financial Aid Process for step-by-step instructions on how to apply financial aid toward your bill.
Financial Education Help
Got questions? Get help!New and Prospective Students
Do you need help getting started with admissions and financial aid applications? Get in touch with a New Student Specialist!
For questions about your Financial Aid award or to get help with financial aid verification or appeals, visit the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.
For questions about your MSUB bill or student account, or an anticipated Financial Aid refund, visit Business Services.
To explore career options or find a job (including work-study jobs), create a profile on CareerLink.
For questions about how to manage debt, repay federal student loans, or resolve a defaulted student loan so you can return to school, see Student Loans: Borrow Smart or contact: