- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- School pages, accessed June 15, 2017: GBC Overview, Great Basin College, http://www.gbcnv.edu/about/overview.html; Online Degree Programs, Great Basin College, http://www.gbcnv.edu/programs/online/index.html#ba; Programs and Courses, UNLV Office of Online Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, https://online.unlv.edu/courses; Nevada, University of Phoenix, http://www.phoenix.edu/campus-locations/nv.html; The Art Institute of Las Vegas, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/las-vegas; About, Sierra Nevada College, http://www.sierranevada.edu/about-snc/;
- Silver State Matching Grant, SSGA Upromise 529, accessed May 12, 2017, https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/home/nevada-benefits/silver-state-matching-grant.html
- Scholarships, Nevada Water Resources Association, accessed May 12, 2017, http://www.nvwra.org/scholarships/
- Apply for a NWF Scholarship, Nevada Women's Fund, accessed May 12, 2017, http://nevadawomensfund.org/nwf-scholarship/
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
If you're looking for the right place to earn your bachelor's degree in Nevada, you probably have a lot of questions about how your options stack up to one another. What degree programs are the most popular with Nevada students? What kind of financial aid is available for in-state residents? How can you focus your education in such a way that you're prepared for the career market once you graduate?
Students at Nevada's community colleges may have some advantages when it comes to transferring credits to the top four-year institutions in the state. Remember to check with a transfer advisor at your two-year school if you're hoping to move into a university program after earning your associate degree.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Nevada
Taking numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other U.S. Department of Education sources, we analyzed them with our specially designed methodology and listed them from top to bottom below.
Affordability was the biggest bright spot at our No. 1 school, starting with the raw cost of tuition and fees charged to students on average. No other college in the state charged students less for basic admission than Great Basin College, but that's not even the most impressive feat. GBC posted the lowest tuition and fees average in 2015-16 out of all 1,649 schools that made it into our national rankings.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Elko school also ranked No. 1 in the state for the manageable amount of college debt typically incurred by students and took the No. 2 spot in the state for the percentage of alumni who were able to pay off their student loan balance within three years of graduation. GBC was also a hotspot for students seeking an online bachelor's degree program in Nevada, offering the state's largest online catalog and boasting a distance education enrollment figure of more than 81 percent.
The Reno campus of the University of Nevada had the state's No. 1 graduation rate in 2015-16, and just one other Nevada school reported a higher percentage of first-year students returning to continue their degree programs as sophomores. It also featured the state's second-largest catalog of degrees available on campus, giving students an array of more than 170 programs to choose from. Out of the entire catalog, the school's psychology program seems to be the most popular one, based on the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in 2015.
Just three other schools in Nevada charged students a lower average of tuition and fees than the University of Nevada, Reno, and the numbers show that its students and graduates were more responsible than most with their student loan money. The median college debt of graduates from the Reno school was second-lowest in the state, and more than 80 percent of alumni reported successfully eliminating their debt load within 36 months of finishing their degrees.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is the largest institution in the Silver State, as well as one of its most affordable. Average net price is a comprehensive estimate of the out-of-pocket cost of college, obtained by subtracting the expected amount of institutional grant and scholarship aid from the average total expense of tuition, fees, books, housing, meals and other necessities. UNLV ranked No. 2 in the state for the average net price it charged both low- and middle-income students in 2015-16.
The Las Vegas school also boasts the largest selection of degree programs in the state and an array of course options via distance education that makes it one of the top online schools for Nevada students. Given the city's well-known status as a popular tourist destination, it's not surprising that the school awarded more hospitality management bachelor degrees in 2015 than in any other major. It also ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, for its rates of graduation and first-year student retention.
This southern Nevada institution was another low-cost option for students in the Silver State, posting a tuition and fees average that ranked No. 2 statewide and No. 16 among all 1,649 schools we analyzed nationwide. It also had the state's second-lowest average cost of books and supplies and placed at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, for the average net price paid by middle- and low-income students.
Institutional financial aid may have been a big part of that affordability, according to NSC's No. 2 rank statewide in that category, and graduates reported being able to repay their student loans within three years at the third-highest rate in the state. Students who want to mix some online coursework into their degree plan can do so here as well — more than 48 percent of the student body had at least one distance education course on their schedule.
This Nevada outpost of the University of Phoenix, a national for-profit university chain, ranked No. 5 for the raw affordability of its tuition and fees. It also charged the state's No. 5 average net price to both low- and middle-income students. It features two physical sites in the Las Vegas area, one in the city proper and one in Henderson, and approximately one in three students attend courses online.
Thanks to its status as a primarily online institution in many states, the University of Phoenix has one of the most robust distance education degree catalogs available in Nevada. The NCES reports a selection of no fewer than 30 online degrees for Nevada students — the second-largest online catalog in the state.
DeVry University is similar to the University of Phoenix in that it functions as a nationally distributed for-profit school where a large proportion of the classes are delivered online, so students who can't find their intended online bachelor's degree elsewhere in Nevada may be able to find it here. Online enrollment at DeVry University - Nevada was counted at nearly 78 percent of the student body in 2015.
The lowest average cost of books and supplies at any Nevada college can be found at DeVry University's Henderson location, as well as campus-based flexibility initiatives such as optional credit for life experience and whole degree programs that can be completed in evenings and on weekends.
Nevada's No. 6 average net price for both middle- and low-income students can be found at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, where the selection of degrees is somewhat unorthodox when compared to a standard university catalog. The Art Institute's focus on the creative fields is aligned with its offerings of degree programs in areas such as interior design, animation, fashion merchandising, video game art, audio production, digital filmmaking and the culinary arts..
Despite limiting its offerings to art majors, the Art Institute offered the sixth-largest degree catalog in Nevada in 2015-16. It also placed No. 6 for both graduation rate and retention rate, and its graduates left school with the state's fourth-lowest median amount of student debt.
Our No. 8 school swung pretty wildly between the two ends of the spectrum on our analysis. Sierra Nevada College ranked No. 1 for the percentage of its students' tuition and fees it covered with institutional grant aid, but it came in at No. 8 for the average net price it charged students of all income levels. It had the state's No. 1 retention rate for first-year students, but it reported a distance education enrollment rate of zero percent, ranking it last in that category.
There were, however, also a few non-extreme rankings for this institution on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The size of its degree catalog tied for No. 6 in the state, for one, and it had the state's No. 2 graduation rate in 2015-16. Considering the school's location, it's not too surprising that the school awarded the largest number of bachelor's degrees in 2015 to those who majored in resort management.
Most Popular Degree Orograms in Nevada
Maybe you still need some inspiration in picking your major, and maybe you've already decided and just want to know what your fellow students are choosing most often. Here's a list of the top bachelor's programs by enrollment in Nevada.
In-Demand Careers in Nevada
The career market can be unpredictable sometimes, but knowing which way the employment projections expect it to move can help you plan your approach to the job search after graduation. Check out this list of high-demand careers in Nevada.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers||302.2%||770||$34,110|
|Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic||96.4%||-||$38,530|
|Electronics Engineers, Except Computer||84%||820||$93,280|
|Industrial Engineering Technicians||76.2%||100||$51,540|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||66.7%||310||$63,570|
|Insulation Workers, Mechanical||65.9%||100||$58,400|
|Tool and Die Makers||65%||80||$52,010|
|Electrical and Electronics Drafters||64.7%||190||$57,500|
|Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters||59.5%||170||$28,750|
|Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers||58.4%||910||$42,730|
|Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other||53.6%||1,080||$30,860|
|Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers||52.3%||2,550||$39,590|
|Food Processing Workers, All Other||51%||140||$33,260|
|Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers||48.9%||2,110||$42,690|
|Production Workers, All Other||48.1%||630||$34,110|
|Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs||47.8%||11,760||$28,550|
|Orthotists and Prosthetists||47.7%||70||$66,300|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||46.9%||840||$47,900|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||46.9%||1,360||$59,440|
|Crane and Tower Operators||46.7%||410||$64,940|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Nevada
Here are a few financial aid programs available specifically to Nevada students. The Nevada Water Resources Association awards one $1,000 scholarship annually to an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in the water resources field. Additionally, The Nevada Women's Fund awards scholarships between $500 and $5,000 to female students in Nevada, with preference given to those attending schools in the northern part of the state.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
February 1 (fall); October 1 (spring)
Renewable for four years.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.4 university GPA and completes 30 university semester hours per academic year.
- Nevada System of Higher Education
- SSGA Upromise 529 College Savings Plan
- Nevada State GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs)
- Nevada College Savings Plans