The University of Montana received $5 million this week to endow a scholarship fund for Montana students with financial need. 

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications at UM, Beth Hammock, said the scholarship money can be used for students in any field of study.

"These funds are what we call unrestricted, so they're not tied to any school or college," Hammock said. "The financial aid office and enrollment services will work together to identify the students who will benefit most from these generous gifts."

Hammock details how the scholarship monies will be distributed.

"This coming year, we will allocate 12 scholarships of $3,000 each, while the rest of the money will be put into an endowment to be invested," Hammock said. "Then, in about a year, we'll take the proceeds from the investment and start awarding scholarships. Our guess is that at $3,000 per year for each student, it could be dozens of scholarships."

Hammock emphasized that the scholarships are only for students from Montana who have financial need.

Hammock said the donor wishes to remain anonymous, however, she said he understands the financial difficulties that students are facing today.

"He is a man of great wealth, who had to work his way through school," Hammock said. "He feels the best use of his money is to help support students who are struggling financially."

Since July 2013, the University and the UM Foundation have been working to increase the number of scholarships and fellowships through the Investing in Student Success Initiative. The initiative also focuses on increasing support for the Davidson Honors College, Global Leadership Initiative, a Learning Commons at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and facilities for student-athletes.

The addition of the $5 million gift brings the total contributed toward Investing in Student Success to $20.2 million. The majority of the gifts received will go toward scholarships and fellowships.

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications at UM, Beth Hammock