Staff Report

Many graduates of Nevada high schools matriculate at in-state colleges and universities with the promise of up to $10,000 in funding for their undergraduate degree. This promise is contained within the Millennium Scholarship, a scholarship fund created by former Gov. Kenny Guinn in 1999 in order to make post-secondary education more accessible to Nevadans. Students who graduated with at least a 3.25 GPA, passed all of their proficiency exams and met the scholarship’s high school curriculum requirements are eligible to receive money from the fund.

However, recent changes to the scholarship will allow students to receive more money.

Per old scholarship parameters, less than $8,000 could be disbursed to a full-time student over the course of four years. But last spring, Nevada legislators passed Senate Bill 128. Under this bill, scholarship recipients must be enrolled in at least nine credits as opposed to six in order to receive funding, but, in addition, the scholarship will disburse funds for up to 15 credits instead of 12. The $10,000 lifetime limit of the scholarship, however, remains the same.

For Nevada community colleges, the scholarship pays $40 per credit, which means recipients can now receive up to $600 a semester, up from $480 last year. For universities like UNR, the scholarship pays $80 per credit, allowing recipients up to $1,200 a semester.

For UNR students enrolled in 15 credits or more, this means an additional $240 a semester. This extra funding could mean more money for textbooks, supplies or even another class.

The extra scholarship money means less work for TMCC student Breanna Inga.

“I work to pay for college on a month-to-month plan, and now the Millennium pays for two months instead of one,” Inga said. “I won’t kill myself as much at work anymore.”

She also believes that the changes to the scholarship will be a “helpful start” to improving college graduation rates. According to the Nevada System of Higher Education, students enrolled in fewer than 12 credits a semester at UNR graduate at a rate of 28 percent. With the increased credit requirements for the scholarship, it is possible to see an improvement in Nevada’s college graduation rates.

UNR Millennium Scholarship recipients were emailed by the university at the beginning of August about the changes, which will take place this semester.

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