LAS VEGAS – Fee waivers for Native American students and Nevada National Guard members and their families attending Nevada System of Higher Education schools begin this fall semester, removing what some say is the biggest barrier for some people to earn a college degree.
The waivers, approved during the 2021 Nevada legislative session–Assembly Bill 262 and Assembly Bill 156–remove the cost of tuition, course fees and some other costs associated with attending Nevada’s public universities and colleges.
“Just one hour and 10 minutes after NSHE posted the Native American Fee Waiver, a completed form was received by one of our Indigenous Student Services Coordinators,” said Stacey Montooth, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. “By removing perhaps, the biggest barrier—cost—for our Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe students, this fee waiver is going to positively change the lives of not just our youth, but our families and our Native American communities.”
Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, who leads the Nevada National Guard, agrees, adding that offering access to higher education also helps his organization retain quality personnel.
“This legislation serves as a critical retention tool for members of the Nevada National Guard,” Berry said. “Training takes time and money. Providing an incentive for soldiers and airmen to remain in the Nevada Guard maintains force readiness and saves taxpayer money. This is also a great way to thank our Guardsmen who have done so much throughout our state’s COVID-19 response, overseas deployments, wildland firefighting and civil unrest over the course of the last 18 months.”
The fee waivers require eligible and enrolled students to maintain at least a 2.0 semester grade point average to qualify. All current NSHE institutions are included in the program. Sierra Nevada University, which is transitioning to become an NSHE institution, won’t be included in the program until fall 2022 at the earliest.
In addition, Native American students must be a member or descendant of a federally recognized Indian tribe or nation located within Nevada, have been a Nevada resident for a year and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.
The fee waiver for active-duty members of the Nevada National Guard extends to family, allowing members to transfer existing registration and laboratory fee waivers to a spouse or child during a period of reenlistment.
Students can learn more about accessing these waivers by contacting NSHE’s degree-granting institutions or visiting NSHE’s website here: https://nshe.nevada.edu/info-center/nshe-forms/.