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Nevada

Why Go to College in Nevada?

Nevada is home to a variety of fine higher education opportunities and can be an exciting place to attend college, especially for people who enjoy hot, sunny weather — and who can avoid being overly distracted by the nightlife. By law, people under the age of 21 may not gamble or consume alcohol, so be aware that some elements of Nevada’s most famous activities are off-limits to many students of traditional college age. However, many other attractions are available, including a variety of entertainment options and outdoor adventures in stunning state and national parks and resort areas.

Population

As of 2016, Nevada’s population was estimated to be 2,940,058. More than 2.1 million of those people live in Clark County, where the Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area is located.

Climate

Most of Nevada has a high-desert climate. The northern part of the state contains mountainous areas and reaches freezing temperatures in the winter, with snow expected. The southern part of Nevada, including the Las Vegas area, is in the Mojave Desert and experiences very hot summers and mild winters. Most of Nevada receives very little rain.

Number of Higher Learning Institutions

Nevada has a total of 77 institutions of higher learning, including public universities and community colleges, private nonprofit universities, trade and technical schools, and for-profit institutions. Nevada has two major universities: The University of Nevada Reno and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Sporting Events

While Nevada is not home to a professional sports team, students can expect free or discounted tickets to many of their college’s football and basketball games.

Nightlife

Entertainment and tourism make up Nevada’s largest industry and most famous features. Nevada’s resort cities like Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Laughlin, and Reno feature many shows, restaurants, and other exciting attractions.

What are the Options for Campus Programs and Online Colleges in Nevada?

On-Campus

The most traditional option is to attend college in Nevada on-campus, either living on-campus or commuting from the surrounding area. You attend classes on a set schedule, interacting with your fellow students and professors in person. You can take advantage of various features of the campus, such as the college library, study groups, clubs, and more. This is a great option for students who recently have graduated high school and are continuing their education on a full-time schedule. This type of class schedule does not have as much flexibility as other options, so it is best for students who are able to arrange their other activities, such as work or other personal obligations, around their school schedules.

Online Programs

An online school in Nevada allows students the opportunity to earn a full degree while working full time, and juggling other responsibilities. This option has grown in popularity and acceptance recently, as people’s attitudes around online education have started to change as they see that a degree gained through an online program is just as valid as one earned in a traditional setting.

In most cases, coursework in an online program can be completed at the student’s convenience. This flexible school schedule lets you work around responsibilities such as working full-time, caring for children, or other major obligations. Online schools in Nevada are sometimes referred to as “distance learning” because they are not limited by geography, so you can attend even if you live far away from the school. This is good news for students who cannot move away to attend college, or for whom commuting would be difficult. Students with mobility issues or other health issues also may find the online degree option beneficial.

Hybrid Programs

A hybrid program is a combination of traditional, on-campus programs and online programs. In most cases, students can complete most coursework online, while attending some on-campus requirements. Hybrid programs offer some of the scheduling flexibility of an online program, and require less time to be spent on campus than a traditional program. Degree programs which require hands-on work, such as a laboratory class, often offer this hybrid option. Other programs may require a brief residency on-campus during a set period, such as a single week during a semester. Students can plan around this required attendance ahead of time, and enjoy the flexibility of an online program for the rest of the semester.

Popular Degree Programs in Nevada

Nevada’s largest industry is the entertainment and tourism business. Since the state receives so many tourists a year, a large number of hospitality and retail businesses are required, and these businesses need to be staffed by trained professionals. Therefore, it is unsurprising that many of the degrees most commonly conferred in the state are tied to careers related to this field.

  • Business Management and Administration

    As the most popular major in the United States, a degree in business teaches students many of the basic aspects of managing a business, including economics, accounting and financial management, business ethics, leadership, and more. The lessons learned through this versatile major prepare graduates to manage almost any type of business.

  • Hospitality Management

    A hospitality management major prepares the student for a career of managing hotels, restaurants, clubs, resorts, casinos, professional sports or entertainment venues, travel services, or event planning. These are Nevada’s biggest businesses, so the state’s job market is very welcoming to graduates with a hospitality management degree.

Education Trends in Nevada

When compared to the national average, Nevada spends slightly less on postsecondary education per full-time student, and allocates a lower percentage of its tax revenue to higher education. The state’s percentage of adults over the age of 25 who hold degrees–whether it is an associate degree, bachelor’s, or graduate degree–is below the national average as well. Some of this may be attributed to Nevada’s large number of service industry jobs that do not require college degrees.

  Nevada United States
Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census
Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student $6,682 $6,954
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 4.4% 5.8%
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 7.8% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 15.2% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 7.9% 11.2%

Paying for College in Nevada

When choosing which college you will attend, the cost is a very important factor to consider. While college can get very expensive, the good news is that average in-state tuition prices for public universities in Nevada are lower than the national average. Through research and careful planning, you can determine which college is your best affordable option. When considering your options, remember that the price can be offset by financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and loans.

Tuition Prices

This table compares average prices for in-state tuition and fees at two-year and four-year colleges in Nevada versus the national average, and the cost in Nevada is shown to be significantly lower. However, these figures do not include costs such as books, transportation, room and board, and other factors that must be taken into account when determining the affordability of your higher education options.

Financial Aid

Students in every state should take full advantage of financial aid options that are available to them. The first step for every student is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal aid available includes grants, loans, and work-study programs.

Grants are usually based on one’s financial need, and like scholarships, they should be accepted first because they do not need to be paid back. Loans must be paid back; however, federal loans are often preferable to private bank loans because they have much lower interest rates. Work-study programs allow the student to work part-time while attending college, often in community service or a job related to their field of study, earning money for educational expenses. Many students use a combination of these types of aid to cover their education costs.

Cost for Online Colleges in Nevada

Financial aid received through the FAFSA and the other opportunities listed above generally apply to online programs in Nevada in the same way they do for on-campus programs. Tuition for online programs is often the same as it is for on-campus equivalents, but the online option may be less expensive overall. This is because online students can save on some fees, and also reduce costs for transportation, child care, and more. Digital books are often less expensive than printed copies, and these are typically available to rent. The flexibility of online programs allows students to work a traditional full-time job if they wish, and that income can help make college more affordable.

Scholarships for Nevada College Students

Kenny C. Guinn Memorial Millennium Scholarship

$10,000; must be a graduate from a public or private high school in Nevada with at least a 3.25 GPA to apply.

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Nevada Water Resources Scholarships

$1,000; must be a student attending a Nevada university or community college pursuing a degree in the field of water resources.

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Southern Nevada Chapter – Public Education Foundation Scholarship

$2,000; must be a southern Nevada high school graduate with a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA or college/university student in southern Nevada with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA who plans to pursue a career in architecture, engineering, construction management, or public administration and attending an accredited post-secondary college or university (preference will be given to students attending college in Nevada).

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Silver State Schools Credit Union

$2,000; must be a member of Silver State Credit Union, or the child of a member, who is a high school senior graduating from an accredited high school in Nevada.

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Nevada Scholarship

80% of costs covered; must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies at an accredited institution in Nevada.

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Greater Nevada Credit Union Scholarship

$2,000; must be a graduating high school senior who is a Greater Nevada member or the child of a Greater Nevada member and attends school full-time.

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Otto Huth Scholarship

Covers tuition, on-campus room and board, books, student health insurance, and on-campus meal plans for a year of college (winners can re-apply for up to five years for up to a total of $40,000); available to young adults in custody of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services in a foster or group home who are graduating from high school or receiving a GED in the year of application.

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Sophie and Hans Scholl Memorial Scholarship

$1,200; must be a Nevada high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to study either political science or German at a university or college in the United States, or who wishes to enroll in a university in Germany.

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Women's Chamber of Commerce of Nevada - Achieving Your Dreams Through Education Scholarship

Amount TBD; must be a female college-bound senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to attend college in Nevada.

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One Nevada Credit Union Community Leadership Scholarship

$1,000; must be a high school senior who demonstrates leadership skills and has a minimum GPA of 3.5.

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Nevada Business Education Association Scholarship

$750; must be a Nevada high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to attend college and who has taken two years of business and marketing courses.

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Clark County Firefighters Local Union 1908 Memorial Scholarship

$500; must be a high school senior with a minimum 2.5 GPA who plans to attend a postsecondary college or university in Nevada.

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Silver State Schools Credit Union

$2,000; must be a member of Silver State Credit Union, or the child of a member, who is a high school senior graduating from an accredited high school in Nevada.

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Nevada Scholarship

80% of costs covered; must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies at an accredited institution in Nevada.

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Greater Nevada Credit Union Scholarship

$2,000; must be a graduating high school senior who is a Greater Nevada member or the child of a Greater Nevada member and attends school full-time.

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Otto Huth Scholarship

Covers tuition, on-campus room and board, books, student health insurance, and on-campus meal plans for a year of college (winners can re-apply for up to five years for up to a total of $40,000); available to young adults in custody of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services in a foster or group home who are graduating from high school or receiving a GED in the year of application.

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Sophie and Hans Scholl Memorial Scholarship

$1,200; must be a Nevada high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to study either political science or German at a university or college in the United States, or who wishes to enroll in a university in Germany.

View Scholarship

Women's Chamber of Commerce of Nevada - Achieving Your Dreams Through Education Scholarship

Amount TBD; must be a female college-bound senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to attend college in Nevada.

View Scholarship

One Nevada Credit Union Community Leadership Scholarship

$1,000; must be a high school senior who demonstrates leadership skills and has a minimum GPA of 3.5.

View Scholarship

Nevada Business Education Association Scholarship

$750; must be a Nevada high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who plans to attend college and who has taken two years of business and marketing courses.

View Scholarship

Clark County Firefighters Local Union 1908 Memorial Scholarship

$500; must be a high school senior with a minimum 2.5 GPA who plans to attend a postsecondary college or university in Nevada.

View Scholarship

Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?

Most scholarships can be used for any type of program, regardless of whether it is online or in-person. In fact, many scholarships can be used for a variety of academic expenses, including tuition, fees, books, and more. However, you should verify whether the particular scholarship in question has any restrictions with its administrators, as some scholarships may have specific requirements regarding the program it covers that could make online classes ineligible.

Employment Outlook in Nevada

Nevada’s May 2017 unemployment rate was slightly higher than the national average, and the annual mean wage was about 12% lower than the national average as of May 2016. Nevada’s economy was greatly affected by the recession of 2008, but has rebounded well over the past several years. Nevada’s population is growing quickly, with Las Vegas and its suburbs Henderson and Paradise now ranked by Forbes as the nation’s 16th fastest-growing city. The number of jobs in the state is expected to continue growing as the building, retail, and resort industries expand.

  Nevada United States
Source: BLS and BLS
Unemployment Rate, May 2017 4.7% 4.3%
Annual Mean Wage, May 2016 $44,030 $49,630

Top Employers and Industries in Nevada

Top Industries in Nevada, 2014

  • Tourism, Gaming, and Entertainment: Nevada had 388,942 jobs and 10,731 businesses in this industry, including hotels, casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment and travel businesses.
  • Healthcare: Nevada had 98,242 jobs at 6,635 establishments in the healthcare industry, which encompasses clinical treatment (doctor’s offices, hospitals, care facilities, pharmacies, etc.), education, and medical research institutions.
  • Logistics and Operations: Nevada had 65,055 jobs at 6,844 establishments in the logistics and operations industry, which includes companies that deal with warehousing, distribution, freight transportation, and wholesaling.

Source: Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development


Top Employers in Nevada

  • Intercontinental-Venetiano: 10,000+ employees
  • MGM Resorts International: 10,000+ employees
  • Las Vegas Sands Corporation: 9,500+ employees

Source: Career One Stop

State Exchange Programs for Nevada College Students

State-to-state student exchange programs offer reduced tuition rates to non-resident students, broadening the range of college options available to people living in states with limited options for higher education. This way, students still have affordable access to the programs they need without having to pay the full out-of-state tuition rate. These universities can focus their resources on building high-quality programs that may be shared with out-of-state students through these exchange programs. The exchange programs below are available to students in Nevada.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

Students who live in eligible states may request a reduced tuition rate of 150% of resident tuition at participating two- and four-year college programs outside of their home state.

Eligible States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the US Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States

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Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

Master’s, graduate certificate, and Ph.D. students who are residents of qualifying states may be eligible to pay resident tuition while enrolled in one of 450 programs at 61 participating institutions.

Eligible States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands, and Guam

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Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP)

Students may be eligible to enroll in selected out-of-state professional healthcare programs and pay reduced tuition when such a program is not available at one of their in-state public institutions. Nevada students are eligible to apply to the PSEP in pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and veterinary medicine programs.

Eligible States: Varies by program; see website for complete listing.

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Cost of Living by Region

Tuition is not the only factor to consider when figuring out the cost of your education. The cost of living in the town where you choose to attend college can make a significant difference as well. The price of rent, food, transportation, and similar needs can vary greatly depending on location, so keep this in mind when considering the effect on the cost of your education and your career after graduation.

Accreditation for Colleges in Nevada

Attending an accredited school is extremely important, especially for online schools in Nevada. While you may find that unaccredited schools are cheaper up-front, their degrees also give you less value when looked at by your potential employers. Accreditation shows that a school’s admissions and curriculum have been reviewed by an accreditation agency which is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and found to meet an established standard — a level of quality that it passes on to its students. Credits from accredited schools usually will transfer to other accredited schools, but it is unlikely that credits from an unaccredited institution will transfer easily to an accredited school. A school’s website will include its applicable accreditation information, so be sure to look for that as you research schools.

Schools can achieve either regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation is usually held by major universities, and is handled by accreditation agencies which oversee a given group of states in a particular region of the United States. National accreditation usually applies to for-profit schools which specialize in technical, vocational, or distance learning.

Of the two types, regional accreditation is perceived as more prestigious and is more popular with potential employers.

In most cases, a whole school receives institutional accreditation. However, some individual programs at a school may receive programmatic accreditation, which indicates that it has been reviewed in a manner similar to that for institutional accreditation. Online degree programs can be accredited just the same as traditional programs; if you are choosing the online option, make sure you choose an accredited program.

When researching colleges in Nevada, the accrediting agency to look for is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Resources for Students in Nevada

  • Nevada Grant & Scholarship List for Students: This is an official listing by the State of Nevada featuring grants and scholarships available to students in Nevada. Some of the grants and scholarships listed in this database are limited to students attending school in Nevada, but many are regional or national.
  • Nevada College Savings Plan Program: This program features a variety of options to help families save for future college expenses. The site explains the various plans available and includes links to related resources.
  • Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program: This program allows families to pay for a child’s future college tuition at current rates, saving money as those rates will increase over time and be higher when the child has reached college age. The site explains the program, how to enroll, and how to use its benefits.
  • Nevada College Kickstart: This program, which is now available to every student who enters kindergarten at a Nevada public school, establishes a savings account for future college tuition when the child begins kindergarten. The funds accumulate over the next 13 years and can be claimed to use toward the child’s higher education expenses after graduating from high school. The funds can be used at any higher education institution in the U.S., including trade and technical schools.
  • Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) – Nevada: This page explains how Nevada participates in and benefits from WICHE’s programs in policy, workforce development, technology, mental health, and other areas, and includes links to related resources for education.
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