MISSOULA – The University of Montana has launched a major new scholarship to help Montana students pay for college.

The Payne Family Impact Scholarship, established with a significant $7.5 million gift from longtime UM supporters Terry and Patt Payne, will be awarded to hundreds of Montana high school students who choose to attend UM beginning in fall 2022.

“When it comes to paying for school, too often Montana families find themselves caught in the middle of a financial gap where aid is hard to come by and the cost of tuition is out of reach,” said UM President Seth Bodnar. “This scholarship will remove the financial burden that keeps too many Montanans from accessing a higher education and further fulfills UM’s responsibility to promote inclusive prosperity in our state.”

The scholarship was created to assist Montana students who grow up in families who earn too much money to secure large financial aid packages, such as Pell Grants, but don’t have the resources to outright pay for college.

Students who receive the four-year renewable scholarship can stack this award on top of other scholarships and financial aid, using it to pay for tuition, books, room and board and other college costs.

Terry Payne.
Photo courtesy of UM

“Our family is blessed to be able to contribute to the education and future success of Montana students,” Terry Payne said. “We wish our gift to bring hope to students who otherwise may be unable to attend the University of Montana or continue their education once enrolled.”

A 1963 UM alumnus, Terry Payne began his career in insurance while still in college and built the successful PayneWest Insurance Inc. on principles centered around what is best for the “three Cs” of Clients, Colleagues and Communities.

That commitment to community is apparent in all that Terry and his wife, Patt, support philanthropically, especially at UM. The Paynes’ contributions have included investments in the Payne Family Native American Center, that center’s Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, and a number of student scholarships. Their most recent gift supports the construction of a new Montana Museum of Art and Culture building.

Patt Payne
Photo courtesy of UM

Beyond UM, the Paynes have made a significant gift to help fund the recently dedicated American Indian Hall at Montana State University, and their contributions to Gonzaga University have included support for the Payne Center for Leadership Development, as well as scholarships for future leaders and high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds. At Carroll College in Helena, they supported the Hunthausen Activity Center and funding for Carroll’s newly created Master of Social Work program.

“Terry and Patt embody the spirit of philanthropy and giving back,” Bodnar said. “We are deeply grateful for their generosity and their commitment to making a UM degree accessible for all students so that those students may pursue lives and careers of impact.”

The UM financial aid office will begin awarding the Payne Family Impact Scholarship funds Dec. 1. Students should apply for admission to UM and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to UM to be considered for the scholarship. Once selected for the scholarship, students will be assigned an academic adviser who will work directly with them as they prepare to launch the next chapter of their education at UM.

Students are encouraged to apply to UM and submit their FASFA to UM today. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, click HERE.

- by UM News Service -