We’ve worked hard to be accessible and are pleased to share some ideas for financial aid with you

VA (Veterans)

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. As a result, 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 http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill

W.I.A. (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.  Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School has 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 benefit.

TFC (Tuition Financing Credit Corporation)


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.

Other Resources for Financial Aid

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.

If you haven’t qualified for any of the above options, here are a few more ideas we recommend exploring:

  • Your Local Credit Union:  Credit Unions are different then banks, and we have had some success with students getting student loans from them
  • 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. Consider starting GoFundMe page!
  • Credit card: you don’t have to pay us all cash up front. We do accept major credit cards and you can come up with your own plan and budget to pay off your card over time.
  • Save and wait: You may have to face the reality of saving up and waiting until you’re ready. Maybe this summer doesn’t work out, and that’s ok, we’ll be here next year!