Carson parents, students have final say on scholarship plan | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson parents, students have final say on scholarship plan

Joanna Welch, Appeal Staff Writer

A healthy exchange of information from university and community college officials and public input have been traded on the millennium scholarship in a series of meetings across Nevada.

The last in 10 public forums will be at Carson High School at 7 p.m. Monday.

Jane Nichols, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the system, will make a presentation and take questions. Regent Jill Derby will also attend.

Whether it’s a small mining town or urban Clark County, the public’s comments have combined excitement about the scholarship with questions about students’ eligibility, said Sherwin Iverson, associate vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, who has attended several of the meetings.

“We want to get the message out, but the major purpose is to get feedback from the public,” Iverson said.

Iverson said people have asked whether the scholarship will include graduate degrees and whether the money can be transferred out of state if the degree program is unavailable in Nevada. In both cases the answers was no, based on the existing legislation.

“Many people came up with issues that the regents cannot change, but they’re informative comments,” he said.

The feedback generated from the meetings will be a factor when the Regents revisit the millennium scholarship at their October meeting.

When the millennium scholarship was approved by the Legislature, it required students to maintain a 3.0 grade point average, pass the high school proficiency exam, complete core curriculum classes and to have been a Nevada resident for three years.

The regents are being required to flesh out the law and determine which classes will be included in the 3.0 grade-point average.

Regents are undecided if the grade should be weighed or unweighed, which would include advanced classes in the calculation.

“I’m anxious to hear what our staff has heard at these forums and what they will recommend to us,” Derby said.

While the regents will determine who qualifies for the scholarship, Derby said that college administrators have not yet gauged how many qualified students will apply.

“We have no way of knowing that,” Derby said. “What we know is that money is a big factor in kids not going to college. And money should never be a barrier between a qualified student and college education.”

The scholarship will be funded with 40 percent of the annual $48 million proceeds from the state’s tobacco settlement.

Recipients can receive $40 for each credit taken at a community college and $80 per credit taken at one of Nevada’s two universities.

The maximum lifetime amount allowed is $10,000.