A Guide to Online Colleges in Nevada

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Though we often equate Nevada with Vegas — neon lights, gold-minted coins, and occasionally bad behavior — much of Nevada is pure desert. Nearly 90% of the state is managed by divisions of the federal government. As late as 1940, the state was the least populated in the Union, with just 110,000 residents. But when legalized gambling found a foothold (before, it was all off the books) Vegas took off, and other cities soon experienced an influx of people, jobs, and real estate development, as well. Still, Vegas and its surrounding metropolitan area remain the by far the most populous areas; and while the state is rightly known for its entertainment and tourism, there are also plenty of excellent higher education hubs which rank among the best in the region. Further, several Nevada colleges, community colleges, and universities are catching up with the national trend toward online education for its affordability and flexibility.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences — often on the weekends or in several week long bouts — enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

There are 5 public schools in Nevada that offer online degrees. Great Basin College is the largest, offering 14 associates and 9 bachelors in a wide range of disciplines: Graphic Communications, Human Services, Business, Entrepreneurship, Office Technology, Land Surveying/Geomatics, Computer Programming, Accounting, Nursing (Rn to BSN), Management in Technology, Digital Information Technology, and Education emphases in Early Childhood and Infant/Toddler Education. The College of Southern Nevada is the second-largest online education provider in the state, offering 19 associates and a Dental Hygiene BS. From there, the University of Nevada Las Vegas offers 9 online degrees: a BA in Social Science Studies; 5 masters, including an MHA, MSN (Nursing Educator track), MA in Urban Leadership, MS in Educational Psychology, and an Executive Master of Health Care Administration; plus a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Post Doctor of Nursing Practice Track), and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Nursing Education Track). The University of Nevada Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College also have online degrees.

There are 2 private schools in Nevada that offer online degrees. Touro University Nevada offers an MS in Camp Administration and Leadership, an MEd in Curriculum And Instruction, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. (Note that Touro is a Jewish school and integrates religious teaching.) Many Touro courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning platform, developing a dynamic, collaborative learning experience with live chat rooms, group discussion boards, video conferencing, and 24/7 access to course materials. Also private, Sierra Nevada College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and MEd concentrations in Administrative Leadership and Teaching English as a Second Language. All course work is designed for maximum flexibility, and students can progress through with 100% online delivery or hybrid delivery to accommodate individual preferences.

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Featured Online Schools

Potential Resident

For a variety of reasons, a student may look to move to the state of their online college program whether specifically required by the program or not — be it for a job, location desirability, school benefits, etc. Different states have different policies, however, and some of them can be rather demanding. Fortunately, Nevada is relatively flexible and simple. For the purposes of in-state tuition benefits, students qualify as Nevada residents if they: are enrollee or graduate of a Nevada high school; a member of the Armed Forces of the United States permanently stationed in Nevada; is a dependent of a family member or legal guardian who has been a resident for 12 months prior to the student’s first day of class; has independently established residence 12 months prior to the first day of class; or has classified as an in-state resident by another NSHE institution.

The average tuition per-year for a four-year public school in Nevada for 2015-2016 was $6,667, or $2,500 dollars less than the national average. The year-over-year change was 4%, about the national average, and the five-year change was 15%, just above the 13% national average. For Nevada residents, this is great news. In fact, Nevada had the eighth lowest average tuition in the country for 2015-16, and has had similarly low tuition for the last decade. Not only is this easier on your wallet, it’s also much more stable and predictable than many other states. The state suffered a large increase at the height of the Great Recession, but has since returned to normal numbers.

The College of Southern Nevada and Touro University Nevada offer online degrees in Las Vegas. CSN is the largest of these, and the second-largest in the state, with 20 available tracks, most of which are associates. Tracks cover a wide range of fields, including Accounting, Computer Information Technology, Business Management, Ophthalmic Dispensing Technician, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Sociology, Communications, Psychology, History, and Education emphases in Special, Elementary, and Secondary Education, among others. A BS in Dental Hygiene is available, as well. Touro offers an MS in Camp Administration and Leadership, an MEd in Curriculum And Instruction, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. To the south in Kingman, Arizona, Mohave Community College offers a dozen online degrees.

Truckee Meadows Community College and Sierra Nevada College offer online degrees in Reno. Truckee is the largest of the two, with 5 associates in Business, Criminal Justice, and three Energy Technology concentrations in Geothermal Energy, Solar Energy, and Wind Energy. From there, Sierra Nevada offers a BA in Psychology and MEd concentrations in Administrative Leadership and Teaching English as a Second Language. For those willing to make the trip, California State University in Sacramento offers 3 bachelors in Criminal Justice, Fire Service Management, and Career And Technical Studies; and an MS in Accountancy and Special Education.

Las Vegas


Population: 603,488
Cost of Living: 95.4%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Henderson


Population: 277,440
Cost of Living: 96.5%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Tourism
Local Online Degrees: 3

Reno


Population: 236,995
Cost of Living: 95.7%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Paradise


Population: 223,167
Cost of Living: 95.3%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

North Las Vegas


Population: 230,788
Cost of Living: 95.3%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Sunrise Manor


Population: 189,372
Cost of Living: 94.2%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Spring Valley


Population: 178,395
Cost of Living: 95.8%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Enterprise


Population: 108,481
Cost of Living: 96.5%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Sparks


Population: 94,708
Cost of Living: 94.2%
Top Industries: Tourism, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

Carson City


Population: 54,522
Cost of Living: 92.6%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 3

The Best Online Colleges in Nevada

  • 1. University of Nevada Reno

    Online Programs: 5
    Type:Public
    Website

    The University of Nevada Reno, founded in 1864, has a total enrollment of approximately 21,000, the majority of which is undergraduate. Online, the school offers several unique masters, including tracks in Social Work, Public Health, an Executive MBA, Equity and Diversity in Education, and an MEd in Literacy Studies. UNR also offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a minor in Addiction Treatment Services. The school’s student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1, and a third of all classes consist of less than 20 students to support an intimate, collaborative educational experience. Most classes fall in the 20-49 student range, with only larger undergraduate courses taking in over 50 students. Students also benefit from a willing and able financial aid center: over half of full-time students receive some form of aid, and the average need met is 62%.

  • 2. Great Basin College

    Online Programs: 23
    Type:Public
    Website

    Established in 1967, Great Basin College originally opened as Elko Community College. Today, it has approximately 3,800 students, and is the largest provider of online degrees in Nevada, with 14 associates and 9 bachelors (also the most in the state). Pre-professional tracks are available in a wide range of disciplines, including Early Childhood Education, Graphic Communications, Business, Geomatics, Office Technology, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, and Computer Programming, among others. Online bachelors are offered in Geomatics, English, Social Science, Digital Information Technology, Graphic Communications, Management in Technology, and an RN to BSN. For those interested, GBC also offers a dozen certificates of achievement. Students services are available in tech support, career services, library services, disability services, and academic success.

  • 3. College of Southern Nevada

    Online Programs: 20
    Type:Public
    Website

    Founded in 1971, The College of Southern Nevada offers two- and four-year degree options. It is the second-largest provider of online education in the state, with 19 associates available (the most in Nevada) and a bachelor in Dental Hygiene. Pre-professional tracks are across a wide range of disciplines: Accounting, Business Management, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Computer Information Technology, Sociology, Communications, Psychology, Ophthalmic Dispensing Technician, History, and Education emphases in Special, Elementary, and Secondary Education, among others. CSN places a special focus on flexibility to accommodate working professionals and adult learners; 75% of students are part-time. There’s also an emphasis on community service: in 2015-2016, students completed 9,600 hours of volunteer work. The average class size is under 17, encouraging a collaborative educational experience and a tight-knit community.

  • 4. University of Nevada Las Vegas

    Online Programs: 9
    Type:Public
    Website

    The University of Nevada Las Vegas, founded in 1957, has a total enrollment of about 28,000. UNLV offers 9 online degrees: a BA in Social Science Studies; 5 masters, including an MHA, MSN (Nursing Educator track), MA in Urban Leadership, MS in Educational Psychology, and an Executive Master of Health Care Administration; plus a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Post Doctor of Nursing Practice Track), and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Nursing Education Track). The school’s student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1, and over 25% of all courses have fewer than 20 students to maintain an intimate, collaborative education. Most classes are in the 20-49 student range. UNLV also has a robust financial aid program: 63% of full-time students receive some form of financial aid, and the average need met is 70%. For maximum flexibility, courses are deliver asynchronously, and hybrid tracks are available.

  • 5. Truckee Meadows Community College

    Online Programs: 5
    Type:Public
    Website

    Established in 1971, Truckee Meadows Community College has three campuses in and around Reno. Five associates are offered online, including in Business, Criminal Justice, and three Energy Technology concentrations in Geothermal Energy, Solar Energy, and Wind Energy. In particular, the school focuses on student access and success, excellent instruction, collaborative learning, community development, and supporting an innovative, creative educational environment. TMCC graduates are responsible for pumping more than 678 million into the region’s economy each year, and 95% of graduates stay in the area. Students benefit from a range of services from online tutorials and support, career services, counseling, tutoring, tech assistance, a computer lab, and more. Average class size is about 36 students.

  • 6. Touro University Nevada

    Online Programs: 3
    Type:Private
    Website

    Founded in 2004, Touro University Nevada in Henderson has a total enrollment of about 1,400. Online, TUN offers an MS in Camp Administration and Leadership, an MEd in Curriculum And Instruction, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Many courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning platform, which creates a dynamic, collaborative educational environment with live chat rooms, group discussion boards, video conferencing, and 24/7 access to course materials. In particular, Touro specializes in allied health care and education “in concert with the Judaic commitment to social justice, intellectual pursuit, and service to humanity,” per the school’s mission statement. In addition to regional accreditation, TUN also hold’s accreditation from a half-dozen nationwide bodies.

  • 7. Sierra Nevada College

    Online Programs: 3
    Type:Private
    Website

    Founded in 1969 on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, over 6,000 feet above sea level, Sierra Nevada College has a total enrollment of 1,000 students, divided evenly between undergraduates and graduates. Online, Sierra Nevada offers a BA in Psychology and MEd concentrations in Administrative Leadership and Teaching English as a Second Language. SNC’s 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio is by the far the lowest on our list and supports a tight-knit, collaborative educational experience; 84% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and just .4% have more than 50. SNC also offers excellent financial aid opportunities: 66% of full-time undergraduates receive some form of aid, and the average need met is 57%. All course work is designed for maximum flexibility, and students have the option of 100% online delivery of hybrid delivery to accommodate individual preferences.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Nevada is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Making sure that a University you’re hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Nevada Higher Education Resources

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