Tuition increase will cut into hours for Millennium Scholarships | NevadaAppeal.com

Tuition increase will cut into hours for Millennium Scholarships

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

A tuition increase for Nevada’s universities and colleges will cut into the number of credits Nevada’s Millenium scholars will be able to afford, State Treasurer Brian Krolicki said Monday.

University and Community College System Regents approved a 15-percent, two-year tuition and fee increase by a 4-3 vote on Friday.

“The Millennium Scholarship — that’s a dollar amount — $10,000,” Krolicki said.

Increasing the fees won’t deplete the money in that fund faster because each qualifying student gets a fixed amount of $2,500 a year for four years. But Krolicki said as fees increase, the scholarship may not go as far.

“They might consume it faster,” he said.

Millennium Scholarships are funded by money Nevada receives from a settlement with tobacco companies over public health care costs tied to smoking-related death and illness.

The program created by Gov. Kenny Guinn and the 1999 Legislature provides up to $10,000 for Nevada high school graduates carrying a B average or better to attend college in Nevada.

A total of 4,543 Nevada high school graduates took advantage of the Millennium Scholarship program in 2001. There were 7,849 students eligible to receive the scholarship money.

Regents increased fees and tuition by 8 percent for 2003-4 and another 7 percent for 2004-5. The increase will raise the cost per credit at UNR from $79 to $85 for undergraduates. UNR President John Lilley said part of the money raised will go for scholarships.

Krolicki said no matter what fee increases the university system approves, those who purchased prepaid tuition contracts for their children are covered.

“Prepaid tuition is sold as peace of mind,” he said. “Their tuition is still covered no matter what happens with fees.

To join the program, a parent or grandparent pays a lump sum for a contract that guarantees full tuition and fees for four years once the child is old enough to attend college.

Krolicki said, however, the fee increases will be taken into consideration at year’s end when the new rate for prepaid tuition is calculated.

“We reprice the program every year,” he said.