The Associated Students of the University of Nevada passed legislation on Wednesday, Feb. 13, in support of expansion of the Silver State Opportunity Grant.
Interdisciplinary Studies Sen. Abrahim Ahmed and CABNR Sen. Aamir Aziz drafted the legislation and presented it to the ASUN Senate during their weekly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The resolution passed with dissent from College of Business Sen. Hayden Grant.
“The resolution states that the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno supports the expansion of the SSOG to allow eligible students to take 30 credits over the academic year instead of a stricter 15 credits per semester,” Sen. Aziz said.
The Silver State Opportunity Grant is currently offered to all Nevada state colleges and community colleges. This includes Truckee Meadows Community College, College of Southern Nevada, Western Nevada College, Great Basin College and Nevada State College.
During the meeting, Senators discussed why this bill was created. Sen. Aziz and Sen. Ahmed explained the requirement of 15 credits per semester often resulted in students not qualifying for the grant towards the end of their college career, as many students take more than 15 credits early on and do not need to take 15 later on. The expansion of the grant program would allow students to receive benefits from the grant program as long as the student is taking 30 a year or on track to graduate.
The legislation was drafted as a response to a bill draft request from the Nevada State Legislature, according to Sen. Aziz.
“A special committee called the Committee to Conduct a Study Concerning the Cost and Affordability of Higher Education investigated the rising cost of higher education and solutions to make higher education more affordable for students from low-income backgrounds,” Sen. Aziz said. “One of the solutions included allowing students to take 30 credits over the academic year instead of 15 credits during each semester. As the BDR concerned higher education, Senator Ahmed and I decided to support the idea as a means of increasing affordability of higher education.”
The legislation states that requiring 30 credits over the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters is consistent with the credit requirement of that of a four year degree. During the meeting, it was clarified that Spring includes Wintermester, as the tuition for winter and spring is combined into one payment.
The Silver State Opportunity Grant is a state-supported form of financial aid created by Senate Bill 227 in 2015.
“Under the SSOG Program, need based grants will be awarded to eligible low income students who are college-ready to pay for a portion of the cost of education at a community college or state college within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE),” NSHE wrote on their website. “This unique program is built on a shared responsibility model and guided by a philosophy for awarding grant aid based on the total cost of attendance (tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses) being shared by partners (the state, federal government, family, and the student).”
Recipients of the Silver State Opportunity Grant must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and have an Expected Family Contribution of less than or equal to $8500. The full requirements for the Silver State Opportunity Grant can be found at nshe.nevada.edu/administration/academic-student-affairs/financial-aid/silver-state-opportunity-grant-program.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.