Frequently asked questions

Before applying, we encourage all applicants to read our list of FAQs to better understand our programs. If you have additional questions, please contact the First-Generation Student Office at (775) 784-6044.

  • Are TRiO Scholars and TRIO STEM scholars scholarship programs?

    The TRiO Scholars and TRIO STEM programs are not scholarship programs but rather a support program for first- generation and/or income-qualified students or students with disabilities. We provide valuable resources and services to our program participants. To learn more about our program services visit, about our TRIO programs page.

  • What is the definition of a first-generation student?

    We use the definition provided by the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.: A first-gen student is an individual both of whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree or, in the case of any individual who regularly resided with and received support from only one parent, an individual whose only such parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree. Trade schools and community colleges do not count as a baccalaureate (a college) degree.

  • My parents have a degree from a foreign country. Am I still considered a first-generation student?

    If your parent received the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in a foreign country, you are not be considered a first-generation student, based on the federal TRIO definition of a first-generation student.

  • How do I know if I qualify as income-qualified?

    The term “income qualified” or "low-income individual" means an individual whose family's taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level amount. Please note that taxable income is different from gross income. These two amounts are listed separately on income tax forms. This link will provide you with the information necessary to determine if you are income qualified based on the number of individuals in your family and corresponding taxable income.

    Federal TRIO income levels

  • Why do I need to provide a copy of my or my parents/guardians most recent taxes?

    As a federally funded program, 2/3 of our program participants must be both first-generation AND income-qualified. The provided taxes are utilized to determine you or your family’s taxable income in comparison to the Federal TRIO Income Levels.

  • How do I know whose taxes to submit?

    This is determined based on your dependent or independent status on the FAFSA application. For specific circumstances or questions, we encourage you to contact the First Generation Student Center (775)784-6044 for guidance.

  • My parents do not help me pay for college. Would I be considered an independent student?

    In most cases, you are still considered a dependent student unless you meet one of the following qualifiers:

    • You are over the age of 23,
    • You are active duty in the U.S. military,
    • You have – or will have – children this year that receive more than half of their support from you,
    • You have dependents who live with you and you support them,
    • At any time since you turned age 13, both your parents deceased and/or you were in foster care.

    If you answered “No” to any of these, you would be considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes.

  • I am a DACA student. Can I apply to the TRiO Scholars or TRiO STEM programs?

    At this time, we are unable to serve DACA students. However, the First In The Pack program does not have a citizenship requirement. For more information, please visit the First In The Pack