First of all for those that have been part of a military unit, Thank You for Your Service! For any member current or past of the U.S. military, Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide school is proud to be able to offer the application of GI benefits including Post 9/11, Montgomery GI Bill®, and others toward the cost of any of our programs.  We were required to complete extensive applications, comply with federal and state law regarding certain program policies and procedures, and are annually inspected by a team.  The end result is that the Veterans Administration has approved all of the programs offered by Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School for utilization of your GI benefits for purposes of paying for the program of choice.  This process, as you know, is quite involved, so contact us so we can walk you through your options and how to take advantage of what you have earned.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at


Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School has also been added to the list of “Eligible Providers” by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry – Workforce Services Division.  As such, our school is the only one in Montana that qualifies for WIA funding.  Residents of Montana should check with a “One Stop Center” near where they reside.  For out of state residents, you should check with your state’s office of WIA administration.  WIA, or the Work Investment Act provides funding for education for low income families and displaced workers.  It is up to you to determine if you qualify for this very important benefit.


Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School is pleased to offer a student loan program through TFC Credit Corporation. TFC Credit Corporation has been financing student tuition for over 35 years. In that time, they have financed over 250,000 students at over 1,500 schools. With full service operation centers in both New York and San Francisco, TFC Credit Corporation is a leader in the education financing field. They take great pride in their industry-wide reputation for professional excellence.  By working with TFC, we can help students obtain low cost financing through a student loan.  Students interested in financing through TFC need to let us know. You will be required to fill out the following paperwork: Loan application; Retail installment contract, and; Notice to Co-signer (All students are required to have a co-signer, and co-signer may not be a spouse). The loan application will be filled out first then sent to TFC for initial credit approval. Upon approval and acceptance to Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School, the student will fill out the retail installment contract and agree to abide by set contract rules. Students should understand that this loan is through a national credit corporation and TFC will report defaulted loans to all three national credit bureaus. TFC Credit Corporation handles all student loan account details. Students who drop out of our courses are still responsible for the full loan amount and TFC will continue to collect balances due from dropouts.  Please contact us for the various options available under this student loan program.

Hunting and fishing guide schools are privately owned businesses, and are not regulated by states nor are they considered part of typical post high school vocational institutions. Additionally, since most programs are less then 300 class room hours, they do not qualify for federal tuition assistance. The end result is a severe lack of public funding for programs offered through state and federal post secondary funding agencies. There simply isn’t any federal grant money available for short duration programs such as ours.  However, each state is different, and it could be possible that if you have been displaced due to an injury or the elimination of your job due to industry slow down or replacement, that your state may have programs to help you with funding.  You will have to research that on your own.

Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School has researched Financial Aid alternatives and has come up with the following ideas to explore:

Student Loan Program Through TFC Credit Corporation:  As explained above we can connect students to TFC and assist in securing a student loan.

Your Local Credit Union:  Credit Unions are different then banks, and we have had some success with students getting student loans from them

W.I.A. or Work Investment Act:  All states have these, and each administrate these differently, but some will in fact assist in the finance of continuing education at a guide school.  Since Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School is on the list of eligible providers, if you qualify then we can receive benefits from any state in the U.S.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: Most states have these as well, and those students who qualify might be eligible for funds through those programs

Union or Company Education Legacy Funds: Several students have parents that are members of unions or other long-term employment related entities that have tuition assistance benefits for the offspring of employees

Family & Friends:  Perhaps the best source and likely to carry the least finance costs.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

Finally, Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School does accept credit cards with no additional fees or surcharges so that students can borrow off of their card.  If a student were to go to work for an outfitter, and save money while they were employed, they could pay off the balance owed on the card in a few short months.  If none of these alternatives work for you, then the reality is you’ll have to save up until you are ready.