Damien Vinci / Nevada Sagebrush
The Financial Aid Office as it stands on Monday, Sept. 24. The WUE is set to become ‘easier’ to qualify for.

Students attempting to qualify for the Western Undergraduate Exchange program will find different requirements than years prior. 

The WUE allows students to qualify for reduced tuition at public universities in states across the western United States. WUE students at The University of Nevada, Reno, pay 150 percent of in-state tuition, which totals to $11,530 a year. Out-of-state students who do not qualify for WUE or the Nevada Advantage pay $23,086.

WUE students must have at least a 3.25 weighted GPA, as well as an ACT score of 26 or SAT score of 1240. 

The university also offers the Nevada Advantage program to out-of-state students with at least a 3.0 weighted GPA and 22 ACT or 1100 SAT score. According to demographic data found on UNR’s website, 4,963 UNR students are out-of-state. 

Steve Maples, the Director of Admission, said WUE requirements will likely become easier to qualify for.

“Our freshman retention rate hovers right around 81 percent, but the WUE students have almost an 89 percent retention rate,” Maples said. “They also have a much higher four-year graduation rate […] the benefits are significant as far as diversifying the student population, geographically and every other way possible as well.

Maples has been involved with UNR for 28 years and served over 21,000 students. After a new chancellor announced the budget would become formula funded, priorities for the Admissions Department shifted.

“When I first started off here, enrollment really wasn’t a priority,” Maples said. “We just got our money, UNLV got their money, and we just went about our business.” 

Approximately 11 years ago, the four-year graduation rate was 12 percent. Currently, around 40 percent of students graduate in four years, and the six-year graduation rate increased to 61 percent.

“WUE was a pivotal part of me going to UNR. If I didn’t get it, I might have looked elsewhere,” said freshman Jack Stinson, who is native to the Sacramento area. “Cost was a major factor in my decision to go to UNR.”

Stinson said he liked the location and relatively lower cost of UNR and knew he wanted to attend by early senior year. 

Stinson believes the WUE discount is a great tool for students to receive cheaper tuition and helps makes UNR more affordable.

“Yes, we’d like the numbers, but we want the students who are going to stay and graduate,” Maples said. “I would like to see us slowly continue to grow so that were not just serving students in the state of Nevada, but any student that comes here will benefit from the fact that we have students from 50 states and 75 different countries.

Sidney Zabell can be reached at tkjohnson@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush