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Nevada Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018

Students wishing to attend college in Nevada have a number of online options. With so many academic options, prospective students can choose the best online college that meets their individual needs. On the other hand, so many choices also means prospective students need more information to make the best possible decision. We’ll look at how to make the most informed decision possible when choosing an online college in Nevada, and provide a solid understanding of the financial aid options available and the college credit transfer process.

What students are asking now:

Online College Growth in Nevada

As with most states, distance learning in Nevada has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. The three schools leading the online program revolution include the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Nevada, Reno; and Sierra Nevada College. Between these three schools, there are thousands of online courses and dozens of online degree programs at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Another online college in Nevada is Western Governors University Nevada, which has focused exclusively on offering online programs since 2015. But these aren’t the only schools where students can take online classes. Even students attending community colleges such as Truckee Meadows Community College and the College of Southern Nevada have a number of classes they can take online, from the convenience of their own home.

Tuition & Financial Aid Opportunities in Nevada

Nevada residents will receive a lower, in-state tuition at Nevada’s public colleges and universities. At community colleges, Nevada residents do not pay tuition, although there are some registration and technology fees.

To qualify as a Nevada resident, students must be a dependent, with their parents or guardians being a bona fide Nevada resident at the time of enrollment. Alternatively, students who are financially independent must be a bona fide Nevada resident at least six months before starting classes. A bona fide resident is someone who moves to Nevada for the primary purpose of working full-time within the state.

In-state tuition (public, 4-year institution): $5,298

Out-of-state tuition (public, 4-year institution): $20,355

In-state tuition (public, 2-year institution): $2,805

Out-of-state tuition (public, 2-year institution): $9,450

Private tuition: $18,827

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Should online students in Nevada plan to pay in-state or out-of-state tuition for college?

If students decide to take online coursework from a Nevada college, they can expect to pay a tuition rate based on their state of residency. Even for online courses, out-of-state students will generally not be allowed to pay an in-state rate.

However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, online students who are residents of another state and otherwise have no affiliation with the state of Nevada can pay a reduced tuition rate. And those who are residents of certain western states can pay discounted tuition rates that aren’t as high as the typical out-of-state rate. These states are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington State
  • Wyoming

Residents of these states can participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program, which allows them to pay a tuition rate that is 150 percent of the in-state tuition rate of any participating school located outside their home state. This means non-Nevada residents who are residents of a WUE member state who attend a participating school in Nevada will not pay the out-of-state rate, but a rate that’s one-and-a-half times the in-state rate.

There is another reduced tuition program for students from WUE member states. It’s called the Nevada Advantage and is only available to students who attend the University of Nevada, Reno. It is similar to the WUE program in that it provides a tuition discount for Nevada non-residents (although this discount is less than under the WUE program). However, it’s easier to qualify for the Nevada Advantage than the WUE program.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1.Online students who are not Nevada residents generally will not qualify for in-state tuition rates, even if attending an online-only college program. However, discounted tuition rates may be available to certain out-of-state students.

  • 2.Non-resident students attending a Nevada online program may qualify for reduced tuition rates that are lower than the typical out-of-state rate if they are a resident of Western Undergraduate Exchange program member state.

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What steps do I need to take to apply for financial aid in Nevada?

The first step in applying for financial aid in Nevada is to complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Even though this is the application needed to apply for federal financial aid, Nevada state and school-based financial aid awards rely on the FAFSA as well. Students may begin completing the FAFSA on October 1, approximately one year before they intend to enroll in college. This is important because many scholarships and financial aid awards have limited funding and once the money has been awarded to students, no more financial aid decisions will be made, even if the official deadline hasn’t yet passed.

Students receiving state or federal financial aid must meet certain academic standards. Nevada schools will have their own specific policy concerning Satisfactory Academic Progress (also known as a Financial Aid Academic Progress Policy). Most policies are modeled after the federal requirements and mandate students complete their coursework at a certain pace, within a certain amount of time and with a certain GPA. Typical requirements may vary based on the school, but largely parallel the following:

  • GPA:

    The most common GPA requirement for maintaining financial aid is a 2.0.

  • Completion Rate:

    Students must complete their coursework with a passing grade at least a certain percentage of the time. The exact percentage will vary based on the school’s own policy, but is usually around 67% or 70%.

  • Maximum Time Frame:

    Students must finish their chosen program within 150% of the average amount of time it takes to complete the program for the typical student. So, if a student is working toward a bachelor’s degree that takes 140 credit hours to complete, they must obtain their degree before they attempt 210 credit hours of classes.

Funding for School: Scholarships & Grants in Nevada

In addition to school-specific scholarship and grant offerings, as well as federal financial aid awards, Nevada students have several state-based grants and scholarships to apply to. Many of these require completion of the FAFSA, as well as a separate application form

What scholarships and grants are available for me in Nevada?

There are several scholarships available to students attending college in Nevada. One is the Silver States Opportunity Program grant, awarded to students based on financial need. Students must be enrolled in a degree granting program, take a full course load and be a resident of the city in which they are attending college.

Nevada’s GEAR UP program aims to improve the number of low-income students who attend college. They become GEAR UP students in middle and high school, then attend a Nevada college. They may receive up to $10,000 to help pay for college.

Established in 2017, Nevada’s Promise Scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship that will pay any remaining costs of attendance not otherwise covered by other grants or scholarships. Major eligibility requirements include attending a Nevada community college, being a Nevada resident, providing 20 hours of community service and enrolling in at least 12 semester credit hours in an associate’s degree program.

What is the application process for applying for Nevada scholarships and grants?

Each scholarship and grant will have its own requirements. For example, some school-specific scholarships have no application and students are automatically considered by getting accepted to that school. For other scholarships, such as the Nevada Promise, special application forms are needed in addition to completion of the FAFSA, and students must attend a workshop and meet with an assigned mentor.

However, regardless of the scholarship or grant a student is applying for, there is an overarching guideline to keep in mind: always apply early. Even if the deadline is months away, it pays to work on the application requirements as soon as possible. Starting early puts the student in the best position to receive an award. For example, if there is not enough money to provide awards to all eligible applicants for the Promise Scholarship, students will receive awards in the order in which they applied.

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Nevada’s Best Online Colleges for 2018

Based on the student’s specific reasons for enrolling in college and their unique financial and personal situation, what constitutes the “best” college will vary. The following ranking recognizes this fact and provides a variety of ways to identify the best school for each prospective student. For instance, students interested in the best accredited online college in Nevada will place equal weight on a variety of factors such as academic quality, location and cost. Still other students may be more concerned with the cost of attendance, and will want to know which school is among the best affordable online colleges in Nevada. Whatever your specific needs are, the following ranking should help you choose the best school for you.

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Methodology

To find the best online colleges in each state for the 2016-2017 school year, our researchers and higher education experts collected and analyzed data from every accredited postsecondary institution in the United States. The goal? To see which colleges offered the most notable balances of academic rigor, student support and affordability for online learning. The specific criteria and scoring metrics for the ranking are as follows:

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution located in the state

  • Must offer at least 3 online associate degree programs (2-year schools)

  • Must offer at least 3 online bachelor’s degree programs (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition & fees below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition & fees below $25,000 (4-year schools)

  • In-state tuition & fees for undergraduate students

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-to-faculty ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • Percentage of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average amount of scholarship/grant aid students receive from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or “bang for your buck” – of an online degree.

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Great Basin College Elko, NV 100.00 $2,535 9 44% 16:114%yes yes yes
2 University of Nevada-Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV 98.11 $6,044 5 37% 22:143%no yes yes
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2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 100.00 $2,535 19 19% 20:1N/Ayes yes yes

Choosing an Online College in Nevada

When there are so many options to choose from, it can become overwhelming to choose the best high quality accredited college. These commonly asked questions can help a student make this very important decision.

Do Nevada colleges accept transfer credits and work/life experience? If so, which ones?

Most of Nevada’s four-year degree granting institutions will accept transfer credits for prior coursework. The exact process, transfer credit limit and course eligibility will vary among the schools. However, the majority of Nevada schools do not offer college credit for work or life experiences, as well as professional training or certifications.

If I’m currently living in Nevada, do I need to pick an online college in the state?

As long as you can afford potentially higher out-of-state tuition rates, you can attend basically any online college in the United States no matter which state you live in

How should I choose an online college in Nevada?

The exact decision process will vary depending on each student’s academic needs and goals. However, most students will place major consideration on a school’s cost and program offerings. Therefore, when choosing an online college in Nevada, you’ll probably want to start by researching cost of attendance and online programs available.

Students should pay special attention to online program requirements because not all majors and degrees are available 100 percent online. Some areas of study have inherent hands-on requirements and are typically provided in a hybrid or blended learning format; nursing is a good example of this. Therefore, if a student is really set on a certain program with hands-on requirements, they must accept that some on-site or on-campus attendance will be expected and plan accordingly.