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Student Loans

Nevada Student Loans, Scholarships, and Grants

Updated Jun 02, 2021   |   9 mins read

If you’re a Nevada resident and are thinking about attending college, you’re in luck. With an average student loan debt of $22,026, Nevada graduates leave school with some of the lowest debt balances in the nation.

Although the average may be low, it’s likely that students in the Silver State still need to access some type of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal or private student loans.

If you’re a Nevada resident or plan on attending college in the state to further your education, here are some financial aid options worth considering when figuring out how to pay for college.

On this page:

Getting Financial Aid for School

For most students, financial aid plays an integral role in their pursuit of higher education. As such, it’s important to take care when finding and identifying sources of aid. The following steps can help you in this process:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be used by the federal government to determine eligibility for federal loans and grants. This form is also used by many state, public, and private institutions to determine grant and scholarship eligibility.
  2. Determine how much money you will need and how much you can afford to pay out of pocket. To do this, calculate the total cost of attendance by adding tuition, books, fees, and room and board, if applicable. Then subtract this number from any out-of-pocket funds you intend to use to pay for college. The remaining number will represent the total financial aid you’ll need to secure.
  3. Identify any grants and scholarships for which you may be eligible. To do this you can consult online databases like Fastweb, as well as your high school guidance office or college financial aid department.
  4. Begin to apply for grants and scholarships, being sure to take note of all deadlines and document submission requirements.

State-Based Student Loans in Nevada

Although some states extend private student loans to residents, Nevada is not one of them. Instead, students will need to turn to federal and private student loans. If you’re seeking a private loan — something you should only do after exhausting all other funding options — you may want to consider one of these two options, both of which can be obtained through the Greater Nevada Credit Union.

Greater Nevada Credit Union Student Loan

Amount: Up to 100% of education costs

Rates & Terms: 

  • Fixed rates between 6.25% and 6.75%
  • Repayment terms between 5 and 15 years  
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

Eligibility: Loan approval is based on a variety of factors, including your credit history and income. Borrowers who do not meet the requirements on their own can add a cosigner to their loan application. To find out more about this loan, you can visit your local Great Nevada Credit Union or contact a representative at 855-548-4787.

Benefits: Though these rates aren’t as low as some other lenders, they are relatively competitive. Borrowers looking to work with a local lender as opposed to a large loan servicing company may want to consider this option.

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Smart Option Student Loan from Great Nevada Credit Union by Sallie Mae

Amount: Up to 100% of education costs

Rates & Terms:

  • Variable rates between 4.62% and 11.47%
  • Fixed rates from 5.74% to 11.85%
  • Repayment terms between 5 and 15 years
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

Eligibility: In addition to basic credit requirements, Sallie Mae student loan borrowers must be enrolled in a qualified academic institution as a full-time, half-time, or less than half-time student. Borrowers who don’t meet the financial requirements can add a cosigner to their application.

Benefits: Sallie Mae is a well-known loan servicer with years of lending experience. Students can benefit from several perks, including an interest rate reduction of one full point when making interest-only payments while enrolled in school.

Learn more:

Nevada College Scholarships

Scholarships represent an excellent way to reduce the overall cost of your education and post-graduation debt obligations. Despite their value, finding and applying for scholarships can be an onerous task.

Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources available to students, particularly through free online resources like Fastweb and the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship tool.

Additionally, your high school counselor and financial aid department at the college you select should also provide ample information about scholarships available both nationally and in your community.

The following scholarships are designed for Nevada residents who plan on attending an academic institution within the state.

Nevada Promise Scholarship

  • Scholarship amount: Varies based on need, gift aid (i.e., grants) received, and fund availability
  • Eligibility requirements: You must be a graduate of a Nevada high school or a high school in one of the bordering counties, be younger than 20 years older, and have submitted your FAFSA. Further, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours as part of an associate, bachelor’s or certificate achievement program.
  • Deadline to apply: October 31
  • Learn more:

Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship (GGSM)

  • Scholarship amount: Up to $10,000
  • Eligibility requirements: You must graduate from a Nevada public or private high school with a GPA of 3.25 or higher; alternatively, you must receive a qualifying score on the SAT (minimum 1070) or ACT (minimum 21) and be enrolled at an eligible Nevada school.
  • Deadline to apply: April 1
  • Learn more:

University of Nevada — Reno Presidential Scholarship

  • Scholarship amount: Up to $8,000 per year ($32,000 total)
  • Eligibility requirements: You must be an incoming freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a minimum high school GPA of 3.50 and a minimum ACT score of 31 (SAT equivalent is 1420). Those who want to accept the Presidential scholarship must also pay a $250 advanced registration deposit and provide written acceptance by June 1.
  • Deadline to apply: February 1
  • Learn more:

CSN President’s Scholarship

  • Scholarship amount: Up to $3,000 for fall and spring ($1,500 per semester)
  • Eligibility requirements: You must graduate from CSN High School with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additionally, you must complete the FAFSA and be enrolled in at least 12 degree-specific credits at the College of Southern Nevada.
  • Deadline to apply: August 1
  • Learn more:

Nevada Grants for College

Like scholarships, grants do not have to be repaid and can help make college more affordable. Scholarships are often awarded based on a variety of factors such as academic performance, athletic or artistic abilities, and your heritage or ethnic background, although financial need can also be considered.

Grants, on the other hand, are typically need-based and determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA. This type of aid can also be awarded based on where you live or intend to attend school, which is the case for the following Nevada student grants.

Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG)

  • Grant amount: Varies based on need
  • Eligibility requirements: You must be registered for at least 15 credit hours at one of the following schools: Nevada State College, College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, or Western Nevada College. All credits must be required to complete your degree or certificate, and you must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the intuition. Additionally, you must be placed in or have already completed and passed entry-level mathematics and English courses. Finally, all applicants must submit a FAFSA and have an expected family contribution (EFC) no higher than $8,500.
  • Deadline to apply: As early as October 1 (grants are awarded on first-come, first-served basis)
  • Learn more:

Nevada Bob Davis Scholarship Grant

  • Grant amount: Up to $600
  • Eligibility requirements: You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and be pursuing your first bachelor’s degree. In addition, you must have a cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.0 and submit the FAFSA. Only students with an EFC of $0 will be eligible for this grant.
  • Deadline to apply: November 1
  • Learn more:

Matching Grant Programs

Nevada also offers residents grants through two primary matching grant programs. These programs require the student to be the beneficiary of a 529 plan. Awards typically “match” the student’s own financial contribution, though there are grant limits.

Though the below represents basic criteria, both programs have highly specific criteria and requirements and thus interested applicants should refer directly to the program’s site.

Silver State Matching Grant Program

  • Grant amount: Up to $1,500 ($300 per year)
  • Eligibility requirements: You must be a Nevada resident and beneficiary of an SSGA Upromise 529 account. The account holder must have a household adjusted gross income (AGI) that is less than or equal to $74,999. If you are both the account owner and the beneficiary, the account must be a UGMA/UTMA account.
  • Deadline to apply: July 31
  • Learn more:

USAA Distinguished Valor Matching Grant Program

  • Grant amount: Up to $1,500 ($300 per year)
  • Eligibility requirements: Only account owners or designated beneficiaries who are Nevada residents can apply for this grant, which is reserved for children under the age of 13 of active-duty U.S. military and immediate family members of Purple Heart Recipients in either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. Further, the account owner must have an AGI of less than $95,000.
  • Deadline to apply: Applications submitted on a rolling basis between January 1 and December 15
  • Learn more:

In addition to having the some of the lowest student loan debt in the nation, Nevada residents also have access to numerous grant and scholarship programs, many of which were designed exclusively for those who call the Silver State home.