Where to Start
The best way to prepare for paying the expenses of attending college is to begin saving early.
- Set aside money each month to build a college fund.
- One innovative option is the Nevada College Savings Plan (also known as a “529 plan”). With the Nevada College Savings Plan, you can open an account on behalf of a designated beneficiary. Your contributions can be invested in Prepaid Tuition Contracts (which allow you to lock in your tuition expenses at the current year’s rate for future attendance), or contribute to professionally managed investment portfolios.
- Call the Office of the State Treasurer toll free for more information at (888) 477-2667 or at www.nevadatreasurer.gov. You can also contact your personal financial institution and inquire about what college tuition savings plans they may offer.
- Enroll in Nevada’s Prepaid Tuition Program. This program offers tomorrow’s tuition at today’s prices! There are affordable payment options available. Funds may be used at any public, private, or out-of-state higher education that is eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs. For more information, visit the website at: http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/Prepaid_Tuition/Prepaid_Home/ .
- The State of Nevada’s Millennium Scholarship program provides financial support to Nevada’s high school graduates who plan to attend a Nevada college or university. Students can view the latest program and eligibility requirements at http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/GGMS/GGMS_Home/. You may receive up to a maximum award of $10,000 for undergraduate coursework during the six years following your high school graduation. There is no application form to complete. If you meet all Millennium Scholarship requirements upon high school graduation, your school or district will submit your name to the Office of the State Treasurer. You will receive award notification in the summer after your graduation.
- In 2015 the Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG) was established. The College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, Western Nevada College, and Nevada State College participate in this program. Students can view the latest program and eligibility requirements at https://nshe.nevada.edu/administration/academics-student-affairs/financial-aid/silver-state-opportunity-grant-program/.
- For the incoming class of Fall 2018, Nevada Promise Scholarship Program will be available at all NSHE community colleges. Eligible students will be able to attend at no cost for class fees. This is a last dollar scholarship which means it will cover costs of registration fees and other mandatory fees not met with other gift aid (such as the Pell Grant, Millennium Scholarship, or SSOG). This program does have other requirements, for example, the recipients must perform 20 hours of community service. There is an application for this program. Students must meet and complete requirements in order to stay active in the program.
- For the Class of 2019, the program process is moving forward however, funding for this second year will need to be approved during the 2019 legislative session. Required activities are occurring prior to that time however. Please visit the Promise department at your chosen institution (TMCC, CSN, WNC, GBC)for more information.
There are four basic types of financial aid:
- Employment programs (federal work study)
The first three types are need-based financial aid. Scholarships may or may not be need-based.
You can also be eligible to receive funding from the federal government in forms of grants, loans, or scholarships.
To be eligible for federal student aid, a student must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- Be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, in a degree or certificate program at a college, occupational, or career school approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Have a valid social security number.
- Register with the U.S. Selective Service if required to do so.
Tips for Navigating the Financial Aid Process
- Check college catalog(s), internet sites and scholarship bulletins from the college or university to which you are applying.
- Meet all required deadlines. Start a calendar for college and scholarship applications with deadlines and due dates.
- Read your local school’s scholarship bulletin and ask the college counselor in the counseling office for more information and application forms.
- Give the people you ask to write your recommendations plenty of advanced notice.
- Print or type your application, attach the required information, such as your transcript, letters of recommendations, essays, and so forth.
- Make copies of your completed applications, transcripts and letters. Place them in a file or envelope. This will help you with future applications.
- Complete the financial aid form (FAFSA) online at studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa as soon as possible after October 1st. Do not wait until the deadline because funds are limited. Have the SAR (Student Aid Report) sent to the college(s) of your choice.
- Contact a financial aid officer at one of the local colleges if you need additional information and assistance with your financial aid application. DO NOT pay for financial aid help – colleges will help you for free. DO NOT use www.fafsa.com – only studentaid.gov.
- Be sure to ask colleges where you’ve applied if there are other forms required to complete your financial aid application.