The program has expanded from serving two high schools in Clark County in 2021-22 to 22 schools in Clark and Washoe counties as well as three Nevada charter schools in 2023-24.
As high school seniors in the Clark County School District receive their diplomas this month, 628 of those students will also be graduating with college credit from the University of Nevada, Reno’s Collegiate Academy. The dual credit program offers high school students the opportunity to earn a year or more of college credit at a discounted cost. With this head start, students can graduate from college in three years. The University celebrated this year’s Collegiate Academy graduating class at Las Vegas City Hall earlier this month, ahead of the high school graduations now occurring across the state.
“We know the power that higher education has,” Michael Flores, vice president of Government and Community Engagement at the University, said in his address to the 2023 Collegiate Academy graduates. “This program provides students with a head start, and you all took advantage of that. You are proven college students. You are part of the Wolf Pack and we are so proud of you.”
The program has expanded from serving two high schools in Clark County in 2021-22 to 22 schools in Clark and Washoe counties as well as three Nevada charter schools in 2023-24. Many of the schools are designated as Title I, federally designated schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.
“We have so many students and when we ask if they are the first in their family going to college, they almost all raise their hands,” Flores said. “This program is about making college a possibility for those students.”
Flores was also a first-generation college student. He grew up in the neighborhood of Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas, a Title I school where the Collegiate Academy was piloted and is personally invested in the program being low cost and accessible to all students.
“This program is about confidence building and providing students with the belief structure that they have a place here in higher education."
The unique program implements current University of Nevada, Reno curriculum and coursework in the high school classrooms. Students graduate high school with a college transcript of completed courses from the University, as opposed to the common test-for-credit structure. College professors work with the high school teachers, meeting regularly to go over lesson plans, review coursework and provide guidance. The result is a course that leverages both the content expertise of University faculty with the teaching expertise of the high school teachers. There are 34 courses being offered this upcoming academic year across subjects in English, mathematics, economics, psychology, world languages, political science, chemistry and others.
“This program is about confidence building and providing students with the belief structure that they have a place here in higher education,” Joe Nannini, director of Dual Enrollment Program Initiatives, said. “I’ve seen students go from not thinking college was an option to looking into scholarship opportunities. Whether they use their credits at the University of Nevada, Reno or choose to go on to college somewhere else, we’re happy to be able to provide them with the access and the confidence to do so.”
The program, based in the Office of the Provost, is the result of ongoing collaboration between the University and the school districts.
“Collegiate Academy is the result of the hard work and passion of so many,” Executive Vice President and Provost Jeff Thompson said. “From the families who have supported the students to the dedicated administrators, teachers and counselors at the participating schools, Clark County School District and now Washoe County School District – all have dedicated time, effort and enthusiasm to this initiative with the shared goal of supporting student success.”
At the Collegiate Academy celebration held on May 4, Terrence Love, father to Cheyenne High School student Immanuel Love who will be attending Wake Forest University in the fall, addressed the crowd of students and families.
“We want the best for our kids,” Love said. “I always say, I'm an ordinary parent with an extraordinary child. I'm sure a lot of the parents in here feel the same exact way. A lot of times, we don't know how to navigate the system in order to get our kids to get to the next level. From the program counselors to the framework that's been set up from the college level all the way down to the high school – it's helped us to be able to get our kids on the path they need to be on. It has given us direction.”
Participating High Schools in the 2023-2024 academic year
Clark County School District:
- Arbor View High School
- Canyon Springs High School
- Centennial High School
- Chaparral High School
- Cheyenne High School
- Cimarron High School
- Coronado High School
- Del Sol High School
- Durango High School
- Eldorado High School
- Foothill High School
- Legacy High School
- Moapa Valley High School
- Mohave High School
- Northwest Career and Technical Academy
- Sierra Vista High School
- Spring Valley High School
Washoe County School District:
- Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT)
- Damonte Ranch High School
- Galena High School
- McQueen High School
- Reed High School
Nevada Charter Schools:
- Mater Academy, East Las Vegas, NV
- Sports Leadership and Management of Nevada (SLAM NV), Henderson, NV
- Coral Academy, Reno, NV