Montana’s Credit Unions are helping Montana students get one step closer to achieving their dreams of higher education and financial stability.
In 2005, Montana’s Credit Unions started the Matched Education Savings Account (MESA) to help students save for college. Through a collaborative effort between Montana’s Credit Unions and local schools, participants agree to save up to $500 and, in return, they receive between three and eight times that amount in match funds from their credit union, depending on the school where they are enrolled.
This means when eligible students save $500 and complete a financial education course, they can earn from $1,500 to $4,000 in match funds to apply to their ongoing education costs.
Participating in the MESA program is more than just saving and earning money for school. Each participant receives valuable financial education enabling them to make well‐informed choices and continue to build their assets long after the program ends.
Find out if you are eligible and apply
MESA is currently available for low- and moderate-income students who are residents of Montana, Oregon, or Washington, and are attending a college or university in their state. If you are interested in the program, follow the three-step process below. Please complete the steps in the order listed.
Step 1: Read the MESA FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Step 2: Complete the short MESA Pre-Application
If the MESA Pre-Application shows you are eligible, then go to Step 3.
Step 3: Complete the MESA Application
After completing step 2, the MESA Pre-Application, you may start the MESA Application.
To participate, students must establish that they meet income and asset guidelines. So in addition to basic information about you and your educational goals, the application will ask questions about your household, income, employment, and assets. The sections you will complete are:
- Personal information
- Credit union selection
- Education information
- Personal statements
- Household information
Items you’ll need to complete the application:
- Photo ID
- Most recent tax return (1040)
- Current employer contact and pay stub
- Documents on alimony, child support, SSI, SSDI, SNAP, Food Stamps, TANF and/or EITC
- Checking, savings, business, investments, and other assets (excluding your primary home and vehicle)
- Balances on student loans, medical, personal loans, credit cards, payday loans and/or outstanding bills
- If a parent, guardian, or anyone else claims you as a dependent, you must include the income for the entire household
- If you are under the age of 18 you must have a Social Security card, school record or report card, or a clinic/doctor/hospital record
There is no need to complete the application in one sitting. You may save and continue the application at any time.