Nevada Promise Scholarship

By Frank Canales

Nevada Promise Scholarship provides students with free education at any community college in the State. Thousands are expected to enroll at College of Southern Nevada.

The Promise Scholarship, sponsored by Senator Mo Denis, aligns with Governor Brian Sandoval’s vision of ensuring more Nevada’s students get a post-secondary credential or degree, according to the Governor’s website. This scholarship will enable students to go to college with all costs paid that Federal Financial Aid does not cover. Essentially students can earn degrees at no cost.

Maria Marinch, CSN’s executive director of Office of Inclusive Learning and Engagement, said the scholarship has a $3.5 billion budget this year funded by the state legislature.

CSN will be the choice for many Clark County School District students to start this fall.

High-school senior Verania Gonzalez, who currently attends Rancho High School, said, “What encouraged me to apply was the fact they would pay for college. Even though both of my parents are hardworking, they still do not make enough to pay for college.” When she heard about the scholarship she took advantage. “I want to pursue business management. It’s been an interest of mine for several years now. My father owns a small business and I would like to help manage it.”

Brenda Ortega, high-school senior from Rancho, said her teachers encouraged her to apply. “I really wanted to go to CSN and be able to afford it and pay it off. So it was a great benefit for me.”

The application process was lengthy but worth it.

Marinch said students who applied for the Promise Scholarship back in October 2017 had to complete several steps. They had to fill out the Federal Financial Aid Forms, attend two mandatory trainings, complete 20 hours of community service and meet with a mentor by April 1.

Marinch added, “Promise Scholarship has received 9,127 student applications. After the first required mandatory training, only 5,230 students completed the first step.” Those students are now working on the rest of the process. Come April 30, 2018 they will know if they have been granted the Scholarship. They will start CSN in the fall.

Ortega, who has applied, added, “It is actually an easy and fun process because I got meet some mentors. I like how it is set up for me to meet with my mentor and hang with my peers.”

CSN’s Director of Government Affairs Asha Jones spoke with many students on campus and understands the difficulties students face with paying for college.

“This Scholarship is basically a last needs scholarship,” Jones said. “It covers everything that other things won’t cover.”

Jones thinks the mentorship process is helpful. Those mentors guide the students, answer questions and advise on how to be successful at CSN plus it gives students a touch-point with someone on campus. She also thinks the community service aspect is vital. “If someone is pouring into you, you got to pour into them and that is what the community service is about. The hope is that students develop a love for service.”

CSN computer engineering student Jeffrey Guadron said, “I believe this Scholarship is a great investment for those who need it. Many times FAFSA does not cover everyone with the Pell Grant but the Nevada Promise Scholarship can help fill in that void. Giving this opportunity to students without a doubt benefits all as it helps promote a higher standard of education.”

Guadron adds, “Spending money on giving youth an opportunity can truly inspire and give hope to those who never even thought about attending due to personal circumstances.”

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