If someone said they were traveling to Nevada, you would probably assume they are going to Las Vegas. If someone said they were from Nevada, you would probably assume they were from a suburb of Las Vegas.

Considering Las Vegas is the biggest city in the state and there are just under 3.1 million people living in The Silver State to begin with, you probably would not be too far off on your assumptions.

That being said, there is much more to Nevada than just Las Vegas. The state has an extremely diverse landscape with ridges and canyons in the northeast, the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Mojave Desert in the south, and many other mountain ranges, buttes, hot springs, and geysers scattered about the state. In fact, Nevada is the most mountainous state and the driest state in America.

Nevada also produces three-quarters of all the gold mined in the U.S., and is also a top producer of silver, copper and black opal.

The Silver State is also home to some great financial aid programs that help its college-bound residents afford to attend in-state schools.

These programs include the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship, the Nevada Promise Scholarship and the Silver State Opportunity Grant.

Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship

The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship (GGMS) is a merit-based award designed to reward Nevada’s best college-bound high school students for doing well in school and choosing to continue their education.

To be eligible for the GGMS, a student must:

  • Be a Nevada resident for at least two years of their high school career
  • Graduate from a Nevada high school
  • Earn a minimum 3.25 GPA (weighted or unweighted) in high school OR earn a qualifying test score of at least a 1070 on the SAT or at least a 21 on the ACT
  • Complete a high school core class curriculum of four units of English, four units of math (including Algebra II or higher), three units of science and three units of social studies or history
  • Be enrolled at an eligible Nevada postsecondary institution
  • Be enrolled in a program of study which will lead to the student receiving a recognized associate degree, bachelor’s degree or pre-bachelor’s certificate
  • Be enrolled in at least nine semester credit hours at an eligible Nevada community college or at least 12 semester credit hours at another eligible Nevada postsecondary institution

There is no application that needs to be submitted for the GGMS. The student’s high school or school district will submit a qualifying student’s information to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). The NSHE is in charge of distributing and dispersing funds for the award. A student will learn of their eligibility after their high school graduation.

A student does not need to re-apply annually for the GGMS either. They become automatically eligible if they meet the requirements. In order to maintain eligibility in college for the GGMS, each semester a student must:

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in their program of study
  • Earn a minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Complete at least nine semester credit hours at an eligible Nevada community college or at least 12 semester credit hours at another eligible Nevada postsecondary institution

If a student does not meet the requirements, the scholarship will be suspended for a semester. If the student meets the requirements the following semester, the scholarship will be reinstated. If the student fails to meet the requirements for a second time, the student will lose the scholarship for good.

A student can remain eligible for the GGMS for up to six years after their high school graduation year or until their allotted scholarship funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first.

Over the course of their postsecondary education, a student can receive up to $10,000 from the GGMS, though a student receives funding on a per-credit hour basis for up to 15 credit hours each semester.

At eligible community colleges, a student can receive $40 per credit hour for lower division classes and $60 per credit hour for upper division classes. At Nevada State College, a student can receive $60 per credit hour. At the other eligible Nevada postsecondary institutions, a student can receive $80 per credit hour.

Nevada Promise Scholarship

The Nevada Promise Scholarship (NPS) is a “last-dollar scholarship” for Nevada students attending community college in the state to help them go to school at a substantially reduced cost.

To be eligible for the NPS, a student must:

  • Be a Nevada resident
  • Complete an NPS application during the student’s senior year of high school
  • Graduate from a Nevada high school
  • Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Give back to the community by completing at least eight hours of mandatory community service during the student’s senior year of high school
  • Participate in one community college training meeting related to financial aid, FAFSA and college orientation before choosing to enroll at a specific school
  • Meet with at least one mentor assigned to the student before the first semester of college enrollment and at least twice during each academic year while in college
  • Not have ever completed an associate degree or bachelor’s degree
  • Attend one of the four eligible Nevada postsecondary institutions:
    • College of Southern Nevada
    • Great Basin College
    • Truckee Meadows Community College
    • Western Nevada College
  • Submit all necessary information and forms to the community college to determine the student’s eligibility
  • Enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester that apply to the student’s chosen program of study
    • An exception can be made if the student needs less credit hours in a given semester to graduate
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress

The NPS is renewable and a student can receive funds for it for up to three academic years as long as the requirements are met. The funds cover registration fees and other mandatory fees that are not covered by other state and/or federal financial aid.

If a student happens to receive enough financial aid from other places to cover those fees, they will become ineligible for the NPS. A student also becomes ineligible for the NPS once they earn an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Silver State Opportunity Grant

The Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG) is a need-based award that assists low-income, college-ready Nevada students by paying a portion of educational costs for their attendance at a NSHE community college or state college.

To be eligible for the SSOG, a student must:

  • Be a Nevada resident
  • Complete and file FAFSA
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding by having an estimated family contribution of 8500 or less
  • Not yet have earned a bachelor’s degree
  • Attend an eligible Nevada postsecondary institution
    • Nevada State College
    • College of Southern Nevada
    • Great Basin College
    • Truckee Meadows Community College
    • Western Nevada College
  • Be enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certificate
  • Be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours that apply to the student’s program of study
  • Be college-ready based on placement or completion of entry-level, college-level math and English courses
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress

Student who are enrolled in 15 credit hours per semester and demonstrate the most financial need will be given priority status and funds first. The SSOG is a renewable award as long as the eligibility requirements are met.

A student can receive up to $5,500 per academic year from the grant if they are enrolled in 15 credit hours per semester. A student enrolled in 12 credit hours per semester can receive up to $4,400 per academic year.

Major Nevada Colleges and Universities

The Silver State is home to some high-quality public and private postsecondary institutions. These schools include:

  • College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas
    • Public community college
  • Desert Research Institute in Reno
    • Nonprofit research campus
  • Great Basin College in Elko
    • Public four-year college
  • Nevada State College in Henderson
    • Public four-year college
  • Sierra Nevada University in Incline Village
    • Private four-year university
  • Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno
    • Public community college
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Paradise
    • Public four-year university
  • University of Nevada, Reno in Reno (main campus)
    • Public four-year university
  • Western Nevada College in Carson City
    • Public four-year college

While Las Vegas is known for its shows, bright lights and glamour, the state of Nevada, as a whole, should be known for the helpful financial aid programs it offers its college-bound residents.