Design by Nicole Skarlatos

The University of Nevada, Reno’s scholarship form closed earlier this month on Friday, Feb. 1, and will be used to determine scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year. Scholarships are given to undergraduate, graduate and medical school students at the university based on a variety of factors — merit, need and by college. The university uses a matrix to determine scholarships for underclassmen. During the 2017-2018 school year, the university awarded nearly $25 million in scholarships.

How scholarships are determined

Scholarships granted from the university are given on several criteria. The process for undergraduate and graduate students is different than the process for freshmen.

“We have on MyNevada Supplemental Forms, there is a graduate and undergraduate scholarship application that comes out October 1st to February 1st,” said Tim Wolfe Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships. “Students will go on to answer a series of questions, and that gets loaded into a scholarship database that gets shared with the colleges here with the scholarship chairperson and scholarships are awarded based on the funding.”

All freshman are automatically considered for scholarships if their test scores, transcripts and application have been sent in prior to February 1. When new freshman first apply to the university, they are automatically applied for scholarships.

Freshman scholarship recipients are determined to the Freshman Scholarship Matrix, according to Melisa Choroszy, Vice President of Enrollment Services. The scholarships come from a general scholarship fund made up of donations to the university, and are given objectively to students if they meet the criteria.

The Freshman Scholarship Matrix calculates an “academic index” for each student based on their unweighted high school GPA at the time of admission and the student’s best college entrance exam score. Both ACT and SAT scores are eligible for consideration. The matrix is used to determine eligibility for Presidential, Nevada Scholars and Pack Pride Level scholarships. The scholarships give students $8,000, $2,500, and $1,500 towards their tuition, respectively.

After the first two years, upperclassmen and continuing students are granted scholarships from their respective colleges.

Leftover funds from the general scholarship fund go to students of colleges that may have little to no money in their scholarship funds, according to Choroszy. Additionally, Choroszy said Financial Aid and Enrollment Services try to give any leftover money to students who may have received scholarships their freshmen year, but didn’t receive any aid as an upperclassman.

“We make them a priority if their college doesn’t have any money at all,” Choroszy said.

The university gave out nearly $25 million in scholarship funds for the 2017-2018 school year, according to scholarship data collected by the university.

Scholarships by race, ethnicity

Data obtained by the Nevada Sagebrush from the university shows the scholarship breakdown by each race and ethnicity as collected by the university.

White and Hispanic students are the largest races represented on campus. White students make up 57.4 percent of the student population and receive 48.93 percent of the total scholarship funds while Hispanic students make up 19.4 percent of the student population and are awarded 13.2 percent of scholarships.

Alaskan Natives and students of unknown ethnic groups are nearly equally represented in population and scholarship awards. Alaskan Natives make up .6 percent of the student population and receive .53 percent of scholarships. Students of unknown ethnic groups make up 2 percent of the student population and receive 1.82 percent of scholarships.

Black students at the university make up 3.2 percent of the student population and are awarded 9.35 percent of scholarships. Foreign students are 2.9 percent of the population and are given 7.98 percent of university scholarships. These discrepancies of the population and scholarship percentage are due to athletic scholarships, as most student-athletes fall into either or both of these categories, according to Choroszy.    

There are different programs and organizations at the university that help students of underrepresented groups obtain or become eligible for university scholarships. These include programs such as TRiO and First in the Pack.

TRiO assists low income, first generation students “overcome cultural, academic, class, and social barriers to success in higher education,” according to TRiO’s website. The program is federally funded with an annual budget of $327,916 and is allowed to assist 175 students per year.

First in the Pack works to increase graduation rates among first-generation students. Their services include mentor support, scholarships and financial aid assistance.

Scholarships by college

Design by Nicole Skarlatos

Upperclassmen and graduate students are awarded scholarships by their respective college each year, and the process of deciding which students get how much money is determined by each college based on the scholarship donations they receive.

The College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts are the largest colleges on campus — representing nearly 35 percent of students combined — and awarded over $3 million scholarships to students in each of the colleges.

The Graduate School awarded $2.8 million in scholarships. In total, the university has 320 graduate students. The Orvis School of Nursing is of similar size and awarded $1.2 million to its 378 students.

The College of Engineering awarded $3.07 million in scholarships amongst its 2,984 students. The College of Science has 2,941 students and awarded $2.4 million, while Community Health Sciences has 2,720 students and awarded nearly $2.5 million.

The College of Education and The College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources houses 1,658 and 1,498 students, and awarded nearly $1.7 million and $1.6 million, respectively.

The Division of Health Sciences awarded $194,530 to 582 students. Comparatively, the Reynolds School of Journalism awarded $473,337 to 526 students.

Scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year will be distributed on 10 days before each semester begins. Students can also receive scholarships from organizations outside the university and from the federal government through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Nevada residents are eligible for the Millennium Scholarship if they meet the general requirements.

Design by Nicole Skarlatos

Olivia Ali and Madeline Purdue can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.