Scholarship FAQs

  • What is the difference between an endowed and a restricted annual scholarship fund?

    An endowed scholarship is a permanent fund. Contributions for endowments are prudently invested to ensure the scholarship retains its value in perpetuity. The principal of the endowment remains intact and just the allowable portion of the income generated by the endowment makes the scholarship award payout each year.

    Annual Scholarships reflect a donor's commitment to support a scholarship for a specific number of years.

  • What is the minimum amount of funding necessary to endow a scholarship fund or to establish a restricted annual scholarship fund?

    The minimum gift to establish an endowment is $10,000, which may be given over a one- to five-year period. However, an endowment of around $25,000 is required to generate the minimum annual scholarship award of $1,000.

  • How does a permanent endowed scholarship work?

    Endowed funds are permanently held by the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation and prudently managed and invested by its Investment Committee, which receives independent professional investment advice from Wilshire Associates.

    The University of Nevada, Reno Foundation's pooled endowment consists of more than 850 individual named endowment funds. The value of the Foundation's endowment, as of June 30, 2018 was $214 million.

    The Foundation's payout policy for endowments allows for 4.5 percent (4.5%) of the 12-quarter average market value for distribution purposes. The Foundation recently reduced its annual management fee from 0.75 percent (0.75%) to 0.60 percent (0.60%) which is assessed on the endowment in each fiscal year for administrative expenses associated with managing the endowment funds. Payout amount is determined based on the June 30th market value of the fund.

    Example of estimated payout from a permanent endowed scholarship:

    Principal of Endowed Fund Estimated Annual Payout
    $10,000 $450
    $25,000 $1,125
    $50,000 $2,250

    Endowments may be established with a gift of $10,000, or multiple gifts totaling $10,000. Once $10,000 has been gifted, funds are invested on a prescribed cycle and the first payout date is dependent upon when funds are added to the endowment.

  • May a prospective scholarship donor establish the terms of a scholarship fund?

    While a prospective scholarship fund donor is given latitude to suggest terms for a specific scholarship fund, all scholarship terms must meet University and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) minimums, standards and policies.

    Development and Alumni Relations officers work collaboratively with every prospective scholarship fund donor to establish fund terms that satisfy both the donor's and the University's interests. Scholarships with very general criteria allow the University the most flexibility to meet the financial needs of an ever expanding student body.

    All scholarships require a fully signed gift agreement developed by the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation and approved by the University Office for Financial Aid and Scholarships. The gift agreement may contain biographical information about the donor or donors as well as the donor's motivation for creation of the scholarship.

  • How will the University of Nevada, Reno carry out my wishes?

    Foundation staff will work with you to develop a gift agreement. The agreement reflects the purpose of the scholarship and recipient criteria. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of the Foundation and the University of Nevada, Reno in awarding the scholarship.

  • What services does the Foundation provide to scholarship donors?

    Annual report from the Foundation notifying you of the recipient(s) of your scholarship each academic year.

    All recipients are encouraged to send a letter of thanks which is forwarded by the Foundation to their donor(s). When possible, some colleges host annual receptions where donors and recipients have the opportunity to meet.

    For endowed funds, all donors receive an annual endowment report on the financial status of their fund. In addition, there is peace of mind that the fund will provide perpetual support for students according to the intended purpose.

    Endowed scholarships are publicized in the Nevada Silver & Blue magazine Spring Donor Issue.

    Donor profiles and scholarship stories may, with the approval of donor, be developed for issues of Nevada Silver & Blue magazine, or other University, school/college publications or online outlets.

    Foundation and development staff are always available to answer questions about your scholarship.

  • Are gifts made to establish an endowed or restricted scholarship fund tax deductible?

    Yes, all gifts made to Nevada for the purpose of establishing an endowment or restricted scholarship fund are deductible for income tax purpose to the extent provided by law.

    Gifts made by employees or spouses of employees who work for, or who retired from corporations that match charitable gifts, may be eligible to receive matching gifts. Check to see if your employer will match your gift.

  • Can a scholarship fund donor select a scholarship award winner?

    No. The University and NSHE policies dictates the responsibility for the final selection of scholarship award recipients to the University's Office for Financial Aid and Scholarships. Appropriate University departments may make nominations for scholarship recipients, and the Office for Financial Aid and Scholarships is the final determination for recipient eligibility and adherence to scholarship criteria.

    To ensure a donor's charitable intent for their donation, the University must have full control of the donated funds; and the contributor's intent in making the payment must have been to benefit the organization itself and not the individual recipient. More information can be found in IRS publication 526, regarding charitable contributions, which states, in part, a donor cannot deduct as a charitable contribution, a contribution to a specific individual.

  • When does Nevada make scholarship awards?

    New freshmen students who apply to the university by February 1, and continuing and graduate students who complete the university's scholarship application by the priority February 1 deadline, are eligible for consideration for the university's many scholarship awards.

    Scholarship awards are typically made from mid-March to mid-July to be awarded for the following academic year . Scholarship award recipients are notified beginning each April through September. Scholarship donors are notified about award recipients in the late fall and after recipients have begun matriculation. In most circumstances, scholarship awards are directly applied as a credit to students' tuition through their MyNevada account.

  • What is the amount of a typical scholarship award at Nevada?

    The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid maintains a policy of awarding a minimum of $1,000 annual scholarship award in an effort to make scholarship awards financially meaningful.

    As a reference, the University's freshmen scholarship award levels are:

    $1,500 Pack Pride (minimum GPA of 3.2 and ACT/SAT I score of 24/1160)

    $2,500 Nevada Scholars (minimum GPA of 3.2 and ACT/SAT I score of 29/1350)

    $8,000 Presidential (minimum GPA of 3.5 and ACT/SAT I score of 31/1420)

    $15,000 National Merit (must meet National Merit finalist criteria)

  • How important are scholarship awards for students at Nevada?

    For many students a combination of institutional financial assistance and scholarship support is the difference between remaining enrolled and withdrawal from Nevada. Scholarship awards may also relieve students of the financial imperative to secure part-time employment, allowing them to devote more concentrated attention to their academic work, including enrolling in 15 credits per semester.

    All schools in the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), including Nevada, have adopted the 15 to Finish program to promote degree attainment. When a student completes 15 credits per semester, they graduate on time in four years, saving money and debt accrual, and start into their career sooner. The University's policy requires 15 credits of enrollment for many aspects of student aid.

    For the 2019-20 academic year, 45% of Nevada students receive need-based aid.

    36% of the annual scholarship budget, or nearly $5 million, is funded by Nevada's endowment.

    While the University remains a great value compared to the national full-time in-state undergraduate tuition average of $9,716, in 2019-20, the average resident tuition and fees at the University of Nevada, Reno for 2019-20 are $8,034.

    Resident tuition and fees is just a portion of a student's budget. The average cost of attendance for full-time undergraduate Nevada resident students is $25,664 for students living on or off campus and $18,704 for students living with family. Out-of-state students attending Nevada, have an average of $33,756-$40,716 cost of attendance, while students in neighbor states attending Nevada under the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program average $22,200 – $29,160.

  • How many donor-funded scholarship awards did Nevada grant this year?

    About 70% of undergraduate and graduate students receive some form of financial assistance. Specifically, donor-funded scholarships comprise about 60% of the total awards given to students, or more than 3,100 of the scholarships awarded each year.

    The number of scholarship awards that Nevada grants depends, year to year, upon several factors that include, but are not necessarily limited to, the annual earnings on endowed funds, the number and magnitude of gifts made to restricted scholarship funds, and the terms of individual scholarship funds dictate the minimum award sizes.

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