The University of Montana has received a significant endowment dedicated to helping non-traditional students finish their first degree. "We've received a one million dollar endowment for our Osher re-entry scholarships," said University of Montana Foundation Spokeswoman Beth Hammock. "This means that we'll be able to provide scholarships that are returning to school after some time away forever, because endowments provide scholarships into perpetuity."

The scholarship has been in a sort of trial phase at the UM recently. Over the past three years about 40 students have received scholarships valued at $2,500. All of this was done with significantly less funding, so it will be interesting to see how many students will be able to be helped out by the new funds. Of course, not all students qualify.

"Osher re-entry scholars are people who have been out of school for five years or more and are undergraduates pursuing their first baccalaureate degree or bachelors degree," Hammock said. "They are folks who are ideally ages 25 - 50 who are in financial need. Just as important as the other things, these are folks who show academic promise and are committed to earning their degree."

Hammock says that roughly 10 percent of UM students fit into the non-traditional student category. The new scholarship funds will first be available for the 2014 – 2015 school year.

UM is one of only 90 schools in the country to receive the Osher endowment and is the only institution in Montana to offer the scholarships.