What is a College Access Grant

College Access Challenge Grant Program

The Nevada System of Higher Education will focus its College Access Challenge Grant efforts to dramatically increase the percent of new college entrants, particularly for underrepresented students (low-income, first generation, students of color) in the state.

A focus on underrepresented populations is particularly timely in Nevada. Recent reports highlight Nevada’s low college-going rates and reiterate the critical policy and practice areas that need attention in order to create a viable workforce and maintain a high quality of life. Of particular concern to Nevada leaders are the dismal college enrollment and completion rates across populations in the state. To this end, the Nevada CACG will focus its activities on four goals:

Goal 1: Create a college-going culture in Nevada through a strategic statewide media campaign titled “GotoCollegeNevada.org”:

In addition to a media campaign that includes print and television ads, the GotoCollegeNV.org campaign has distributed informational literature to every high school in the state of Nevada. The GotoCollegeNevada.org website is the driving force behind the media campaign, giving both parents and students the information they need to become college ready. A statewide campaign is currently under development and will include a combination of traditional media, social media, and traditional outreach to create a college-going culture in Nevada.

Goal 2: Increase College Knowledge:

A portion of the Nevada CACG was made available through a competitive grant process with the purpose of funding projects that provide college awareness, college financial literacy, and career planning activities for high school students. In order to be eligible for the grants, applicants had to focus on designated high schools with a 50 percent or lower college-going rate.

Goal 3: Increase College and Career Readiness in Nevada High Schools:

Recent research and policy briefs highlight the gap between low- and high-income student college enrollments. Of critical importance are students’ career and college readiness in high school. To address this critical area, a portion of the Nevada CACG provided ten Nevada high schools a grant to implement a comprehensive version of the Navigation101 program. Navigation101, by Envictus Corp., is a school improvement strategy to increase college and career readiness for students through a comprehensive discipline of study. This resource will teach 9th through 12th grade students about high school course selection, career planning, post-secondary education options, and financial aid.

The ten Nevada public high school grant recipients include:

  1. Silver Stage High School
  2. Fernley High School
  3. Hug High School
  4. Smith Valley High School
  5. Gerlach High School
  6. Western High School
  7. Yerington High School
  8. Eldorado High School
  9. North Valleys High School
  10. Cimarron-Memorial High School

Goal 4: Pilot or Expand Accelerated Associate Degree Programs:

Accelerated degree programs offer community college students the chance to complete post-secondary degrees in a short amount of time. Accelerated associate degree programs provide students with the tools they need to quickly complete an associate’s degree and enter the workforce or enter a bachelor’s degree program. Typically such programs offer block scheduling, intense career counseling, financial support, student services support to assist full-time enrollment and completion of a program in half the time. Nevada public two-year postsecondary institutions were eligible to apply for a sub-grant that will pilot or expand accelerated associate degree programs (12-15 months) that will increase completion rates, particularly for first-time college students who are low-income and underrepresented in postsecondary completion rates at two-year Nevada public postsecondary institutions.

As the school year continues along, the CACG team will send out updates on the progress of the CACG funded programs. We are excited to have the opportunity to fund crucial programming that will benefit our Nevada communities.