Helena College School Code 007570

Money Matters

Quick Tips to Maintain a Healthy Student Account

  • Stay informed

    • Check your MyHC and student email for important due dates and announcements.
  • Maintain your eligibility for financial aid

    • To ensure students are making progress toward earning a degree, the Federal Government requires Helena College to monitor each student’s academic progress.  To continue to receive Federal Financial Aid each student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.  SAP is calculated on your accumulative student account.  SAP requirements state that you must pass 70% of the credits you attempt, maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and graduate within 150% of the credits in your degree program.   For example an Associate of Arts degree requires 60 credits; you cannot go over 90 credits and still receive financial aid.
    • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at FAFSA.gov each year.  The FAFSA is available January 1st of each year and we suggest you complete your FAFSA by Helena College’s priority date, March 1st to maximize the amount of aid you may receive.  Remember you are required to continue eligibility by maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
  • Know your options

    • FREE MONEY!  There are a number of scholarships available to Helena College Students.  These scholarships are due throughout the entire year so it is important to monitor our scholarship page.  This is money you do not have to pay back; it is worth your time to apply.
    • Work Study is another option.  Work study is campus based employment that is willing to work around your academic schedule.  Check our website for openings.
  • Tuition, Fees, and Payment Plans

    • Get answers about tuition, billing, or student refund checks by contacting business services at (406) 447-6921.
    • Do not forget to finalize your bill with the business office; this step is necessary for your financial aid to disburse.
  • Pay Attention to How Much you Borrow

    • Before accepting a student loan, remember loans must be repaid.  Loans are the last type of aid you should consider.  Grants, Scholarships, Work Study, or Pay as you go should always be considered first.  If you are not planning on attending school in the summer this is a great opportunity to earn income for the upcoming academic year.

Loan Cycle

As long as you are enrolled in school at least half time (6 credits or more) you will be eligible for federal direct loans.  To receive these loans you must complete loan entrance counseling and sign a master promissory note.

As long as you stay in school at least half time you will receive an in school deferment on your loans.  This means that you will not be in a repayment status while you are in school; however, it is to your advantage to pay interest while you are in school.  To see how much money you could save by paying your unsubsidized loan interest while in school, click here.  

Grace Period

You will enter your grace period when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time.  Your grace period is the period before the first payment of your loan is due; this is generally six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below six credits.

While you are in your grace period it is wise to continue making interest only payments.  If you haven’t already, you need to start a relationship with your loan service provider.  To find out whom your provider is click here and log into your personal account with your name, FAFSA PIN, SSN, and date of birth.


There are several repayment options.  For a description of each option please click here.  Sometimes the right repayment plan makes all the difference in your ability to pay your student loan. The options are flexible, and there's sure to be one that will work for you.

Be aware that these repayment plans are not available on all loans, so check with your lender/loan servicer to find out which repayment options are available to you.

Need help?

Visit Paybacksmarter.com to see what plan will best fit your needs.

Remember the best defense against default is communication.  Your loan service providers are there to help you and if you stay in communication with them they will work with you!  A defaulted loan will cost you higher interest rates, voided licenses (including all professional, drivers, and hunting/fishing licenses), wage and/or tax refund garnishment, and social security payments

Know What You Owe

Do you know what your student loan debt is?  To find out visit nslds.ed.gov.

The number one defense for default is communication.  There are several payment plan options available to you, some with payments as little as ten dollars per month. There is no reason to default if you stay in communication with your providers they will work with you.

What does repayment look like for you?  Visit paybacksmarter.com to help you manage your student loan debt.  At this site you will be able to enter your financial situation to see what payment plans are available to you.

Money Management

For a great budget builder visit youcandealwithit.com.

Do not forget once you get your budget built you need to keep it current.  Re-evaluate and make adjustments as necessary!

Financial Responsibility

Your student loan dollars should be used only for items directly related to your college education.

Simply put:

If you don’t need it and you have to borrow money to pay for it, you shouldn’t buy it.

Below is an example of two students that attended Helena College, John and Tony. John took all the loan money that was offered to him and attended 7 semesters to get his Associates degree. Tony was very conservative with loans and took only what he needed. He finished his program and received his Associates degree in five semesters.

John’s Financial Aid History/ 7 Semesters

Tony’s Financial Aid History/ 5 Semesters

Tuition, fees, and books   $14,700.00

Tuition, fees, and books   $10,500.00

PELL        $19,757.00

PELL        $14,112.00

LOANS    $35,750.00

LOANS    $ 5,000.00

Total Debt Plus Interest  $48,000.00

Total Debt Plus Interest   $6,905.00

Wage would need to exceed $60,000.00

Wage would need to be $10,000.00

Approximate payment = $412.00/ 10 Years

Approximate payment = $58.00/ 10 Years

Your borrowing and spending decisions will determine your debt.

Pay the accrued interest on Federal Unsubsidized Loans before the end of the grace period.Make on-time monthly payments every month during repayment. Having your loans paid automatically from your bank account is the best way to insure that you stay on track.

Maintain communication with your loan servicer. Failure to do so could result in

  • loan default
  • higher loan interest rates,
  • voided licenses (including all professional, drivers, and hunting/fishing licenses),
  • wage and/or tax refund garnishment,
  • loss of social security benefits.

Loan Entrance/Exit Counseling

All first time borrows for federal loans will be required to complete a master promissory note and face-to-face loan entrance counseling prior to any loans disbursing. Prepare to go through exit counseling when you graduate, withdraw from school or stop attending, transfer to another school, or are attending less than half time.You will need to provide the following information: your social security number, your FAFSA pin number, and the name, address and phone number of two references, and your nearest relative.

The Financial Aid office at Helena College is here to help.  Please call 447-6900 with any questions.