Nevada College Kick Start
A NVigate Program
By Brady McGill
In 1940, the US began tracking 4-year college graduation rates by gender (statista.com). Then, 5.5% of males, and 3.8% of females, finished their 4-year degrees. In 2007, that number had increased to 29.5% of males and 28% of females. Today, these numbers have surged to 35.4% of males and an impressive 36.6% for females. You can see the US’s changing dynamics over the decades and the growth of the importance of higher education over the years.
The importance of higher education has grown over this time as well, with high-skill jobs in growing demand and blue-collar jobs ever in decline. The future importance of higher education only stands to increase, and families and individuals will continue to seek help in covering these costs and ensuring their children’s access to college degrees. According to a 2011 joint report by the Universities of Kansas and Washington University in St. Louis, children who have a college savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend college.
The Nevada College Kick Start Program awards every Nevada public school kindergartener with a free $50 scholarship. The program helps Nevada’s kindergarteners begin their path to college and assists Nevada families with saving for post-secondary educational expenses. The Kick Start scholarship is provided at no cost to eligible Nevada families.
Since 2014, the Nevada College Kick Start (NVigate Program) has offered every public-school kindergartener an automatic enrollment in the college kick start scholarship and $50 in starting funds. With over 275,000 program participants, this program aims to prepare families for the costs and importance of higher education for their children.
The Nevada State Treasurer’s office manages this program, and funds are self-generated and not drawn from public tax funds. Beyond this initial kick start fund, parents may elect to set up a “529 account” and contribute additional funds for future college tuition.
Nevada’s focus on higher education accessibility is also broadened through other college savings programs. The “Silver State Matching Grant” matches contributions at 100% for a five-year matching timeline with a maximum $1,500 match limit per beneficiary. Eligible participants must have a maximum household income of less than $75,000 per year, reside in Nevada, hold an SSGA Upromise 529 account, and be under the age of 13. Visit NV529.org for details about this program.
This article was originally published in the Family & Pets Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.