In the 2015 Education Data Book, one of the more painful truths reported was that, among the state’s working professionals over the age of 25, only 22.5% held bachelor’s degrees; the lowest such percentage amongst states in the west. Yet, optimism remains, thanks in part to the state’s robust selection of distance learning programs and courses. Take the state’s E-Learning Task Force, an initiative of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE); this effort is using the state’s online learning programs to achieve “the common goal of graduating more students while supporting student success.” More degrees means more qualified, working professional in Nevada, which in turn would be a boon to the economy. A number of the state’s schools have taken up the charge, improving upon their already solid online options.
But before we dive into our list of the best online colleges in Nevada for 2016, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Nevada today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Nevada
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Nevada had 27 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 7 public schools, 3 nonprofits and 17 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 6,975 at public schools, 302 at private nonprofits and 233 at private for-profits.
- 7 public
- 3 non-profit
- 17 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $6,670, while the out-of-state average was $20,490, increasing by only 1% over the last last five years.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Nevada awarded $10.39 million in need-based grants and $23.86 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 7% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. Over the same year, Nevada awarded $17.9 million in tuition waivers. The Center on Budget and Policies Priorities reported that from ’13 to ’14 there was a 4.1% increase ($301) in state spending per student in Nevada.
Tuition at Nevada schools is competitive, with a particularly low in-state rate, and the state does an excellent job of supporting its students, with weight grants and an excellent tuition waiver program. To boot, the state government has managed stable growth in the amount of spending it allots for postsecondary students.
The State of Online Higher Education in Nevada
The NCES estimates that at least 9.8% of students enrolled in Nevada’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 92.3% were reported to be undergraduates and 89.5% were found to be living in Nevada.
As we mentioned in our introduction, the NSHE, representing the state’s public schools, is a major proponent of online learning. Data-wise, NSHE has seen total enrollment in distance courses increasing by over 438% across an eight year period starting in 2001; results seem to indicate such steady growth will continue over the next few years. It’s estimated that nearly one-third of all enrollments at NSHE schools are in distance learning courses.
Nevada is also part of the SARA regional education compact known as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The WICHE Internet Course Exchange (ICE) offers opportunities for state residents, through their local college or university, to access high quality distance programs offered at out-of-state WICHE institutions, often at greatly reduced rates.
Best Online Colleges in Nevada
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Nevada. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Nevada, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Nevada or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Great Basin College||Elko||$$$$$||1500 College Parkway|
Elko, NV 89801
WebCampus, hosted by Canvas, is the online portal through which GBC students access their online courses. Live WebCampus orientations are available for any prospective student to become familiar with the online learning environment prior to the start of a course, and technical help for any issues that may arise during the length of the course. Most communication in this virtual classroom is done via email or phone, however students and instructors will post to discussion boards, receive and submit assignments and participate in instant chat sessions. Students should be capable of effectively organizing their time, as they are expected to study approximately 15 hours per course, per week.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
High school students have the option to enroll in GBC’s dual enrollment program, which provides the opportunity to take distance education courses for college or high school credit. Beyond internet classes, GBC offers two other types of distance learning: synchronous LiveNet classes and interactive video classes (IAV) which most closely replicate the traditional classroom environment.
|2||Nevada State College||Henderson||$$$$$||1125 Nevada State Drive|
Henderson, NV 89002
Canvas is the online learning management system powering NSC's WebCampus portal. This particular delivery platform enables online students to collaborate on group projects and assignments, communicate with instructors through email, chat sessions and discussion forums and keep tabs on their progress throughout the course.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
The undergraduate degree in nursing has three possible track options: accelerated, part-time and online. The online BSN option is designed for license-holding registered nurses who would like to maintain their responsibilities outside of school while earning their degree. NSC nursing students have the unique opportunity to practice at The Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas (CSCLV).
All nursing courses fit into the traditional semester schedule; once registered, students can take as many classes as they want at one time. Some of the general education courses can be taken in an accelerated format during the two 6-week summer sessions of January term. Like with all other online schools in Nevada, transfer students are welcome to apply.
|3||University of Nevada - Las Vegas||Las Vegas||$$$$$||4505 S Maryland Pky|
Las Vegas, NV 89154
UNLV’s WebCampus is powered by the Blackboard LMS, a popular web-based interface where students can find everything they need for their online courses. Curious applicants can watch a course tour to discover the layout of a typical online course and to see how to navigate the interface. The table of contents organizes a course into announcements, learning modules, course instructions and learning guides. Within each section, students will find assignments, discussions, messages and a number of helpful tools, such as a course calendar, blogs, wikis, journals or groups for collaborative projects. External materials such as links, videos and websites can also be found here. Feedback from instructors comes via email and in each students’ MyGrades folder. Exams are administered through the online ProctorU tool.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
In addition to the degree programs listed here, certificate programs at the graduate level are also offered online through UNLV.
Online Graduate Degrees
Even though classes are asynchronous, students are graded on active participation and should therefore regularly login to check updates and take part in interactive discussions. Prospective students residing outside the state of Nevada should check the State Compliance page prior to applying to be sure the University is authorized to deliver distance education in their home state.
|4||University of Nevada - Reno||Reno||$$$$$||North Virginia Street|
Reno, NV 89557
Over 22,000 students currently take courses via UNR’s WebCampus platform, selecting from over 4,500 classes in a variety of subject areas. Graduate students can choose from numerous master’s level courses related to business, education, the justice system or psychology. There is also a doctoral level degree for nurses.
The school uses the same faculty that lecture on campus to lead distance learning courses, ensuring online students receive the same top-notch education as their brick-and-mortar peers. Classes are delivered asynchronously, allowing busy professionals to balance work and life responsibilities with their educations. Depending on the area of study chosen, students will have certain eligibility criteria to meet for admission into their degree program. All of these requirements can be found on the school’s admissions page.
Online Graduate Degrees
|5||Sierra Nevada College||Incline Village||$$$$$||999 Tahoe Blvd.|
Incline Village, NV 89451
Students seeking graduate level programs to propel them into a teaching career are often drawn to SNC, as well as undergraduates looking for a general studies program. Students access their coursework via the school’s online learning platform and engage with the same faculty leading on-campus classes. Class sizes are kept small and students complete three modules lasting six weeks each semester. These programs are a perfect option for students with busy lives who want to complete their degrees in a flexible yet timely format. Applications are received online, with individual requirements depending on the degree being pursued. The school prides itself on a track record of 93% of students with need receiving grants or scholarships.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
Online Graduate Degrees
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Nevada
Below you’ll find another list of the online colleges in NV, sorted by tuition rate.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Great Basin College||Elko||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||College of Southern Nevada||Las Vegas||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Nevada State College||Henderson||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||University of Nevada - Las Vegas||Las Vegas||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Touro University Nevada||Henderson||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Nevada
The Boren Award for International Studies totals $20,000. It is open to undergraduate students at the College of Southern Nevada who will study abroad with a focus on foreign languages including Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, and Swahili.
Freshman Presidential Scholarship
The Presidential Scholarship is available to incoming freshmen at Sierra Nevada College who have a GPA of 3.25 to 3.74. Students are automatically considered for this scholarship upon being accepted to the college. Award amount is $6,000 per year for 4 years.
Freshman SNC Eagle Scholarship
Sierra Nevada College offers the SNC Eagle award to freshmen who have a GPA of 2.8 to 2.9. The college automatically considers incoming freshmen for this scholarship, so no separate application is required. Maximum award is $4,000 per year for 4 years.
Freshman Trustee Scholarship
Sierra Nevada College provides the merit-based Trustee Scholarship for incoming freshmen with a GPA of 3.75+. The award is $11,000 per year for 4 years. SNC automatically considers all freshmen for this award, so no separate application is required.
Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
The Jack Kent Cooke scholarship is open to community college students in Nevada who will transfer to the College of Southern Nevada to earn a bachelor’s degree. The maximum award is $30,000 per year. Interested students should contact the College of Southern Nevada for eligibility requirements.
Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship
The Morris K. Udall Scholarship is open to full-time undergraduates at the College of Southern Nevada who are pursuing careers related to the environment; the scholarship is also open to Native American and Native Alaskan students pursuing careers in tribal public policy. Maximum award is $5,000.
National Honor Society Scholarship
Provided by the Art Institute of Nevada, this scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors who belong to the National Art Honor Society. Applicants must submit six different original pieces of artwork, and a personal statement describing their artistic career goals. Maximum award is $20,000.
Sierra Nevada College
The Provost Scholarship is open to incoming freshmen at Sierra Nevada College who have a GPA of 3.0 to 3.24. The award is $5,000 per year for 4 years. Once students are admitted to the college, no separate application for this scholarship is required.
This merit-based scholarship is available to incoming transfer students at Sierra Nevada College. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required. The award is $11,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years.
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