The 2015-16 school year has begun!

There is nothing quite like the positive energy surrounding the first days of the fall semester. There’s the sense of excitement, and anxiety, as our first-year students step foot on our campuses, ready to start the next chapter of their lives.

I want to share with you some of the highlights of what this new school year is bringing to Nevada higher education:

  • College of Southern Nevada: CSN will be welcoming students back with a newly renovated 8,000-square foot computer lab on the Charleston campus, and a new student services system to eliminate waiting in line. In addition to a new look, the computer lab wen t from 148 computer stations to 171. CSN is also launching CoyoteQ, which allows students to enter a virtual queue for registration, financial aid, the testing center, the cashier and other services. They can sign in using any computer, smart phone, or an on-campus kiosk. Once it’s their turn, the student receives a text message or email that they’re next.
  • Great Basin College: Preliminary enrollments at GBC continue to be up overall from last year, with the increase of high school students of more than 20 percent and with over 50 percent of the total enrollment being taken online. The reinstated Land Surveying-Geomatics Bachelor of Applied Science (completely online) degree is receiving a lot of national interest as it is one of the few online programs of its kind in the country. The Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic degree (approved in June 2015), has also seen a high level of interest and enrollment. The support/partnerships that GBC has with rural community health care organizations and community leaders have made this program possible. Workforce and health care programs have very strong enrollments with most of them being full. In addition, the GBC Student Government Association has sanctioned the first totally online student club.
  • Truckee Meadows Community College: TMCC is expecting a 1-3 percent growth in enrollment over last year. In addition, fall semester marks the first classes in the new William N. Pennington Health Science Center building at the Redfield site. This building houses the Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program, as well as the certified nursing assistant, radiologic technology, and veterinary technician programs.
  • Western Nevada College: The new Silver State Opportunity Grant is already helping students open the door to college at WNC. Sixty-three low-income students are receiving the maximum financial aid allotment, on the way to a college degree. In addition, the institution’s Jump Start College program is now serving 14 high schools in seven Northern Nevada school districts. Students in the Jump Start College program will begin to receive their Associate of Arts degrees this year and will graduate with their associate degrees from WNC just before they graduate with their high school diploma. In 2014-2015, Jump Start College students achieved a 97% college course completion rate compared with 73% for the college as a whole.
  • Nevada State College: NSC starts the fall semester with two new ultra-modern facilities which have nearly tripled the size of its campus. The new Nursing, Science and Education building features a 250-seat auditorium, 17 general purpose classrooms, two cadaver laboratories, a speech pathology laboratory, the NV Energy Finance Lab, a media center, a computer lab, and faculty and staff offices. The new Rogers Student Center features 3,600 square-feet dedicated to providing enhanced student life opportunities. This center also includes a new dining commons, tutoring and testing centers, technology laboratories, a visual media studio, a bookstore, student organization rooms, an advising center, a career services office, a resource center, administrative offices, and conference rooms. In addition, the new 2,000 square foot library features an array of study spaces that will become Nevada’s first all-digital library, providing on-demand access to 1.4 million ebooks.
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas: For the fourth consecutive year, UNLV is anticipating their largest-ever freshman class – approximately 4,000 students this fall. Of note, many of their preliminary enrollment gains seem to be in STEM majors. They are also welcoming 90 new instructional faculty with key hires in engineering, health sciences, liberal arts, personalized medicine and education.
  • University of Nevada, Reno: UNR will see continued growth in fall 2015 with enrollment projected to approach 21,000 students. Admissions data indicates that the freshman class will arrive with higher incoming test scores and grade point averages, and the university will welcome its highest ever number of National Merit Scholars and University Presidential Scholars. UNR also opened Peavine Hall, its newest residence hall last week. Students will also be taking classes toward UNR’s newest degree programs in Master of Science in Neuroscience/Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience, Master of Science in Information Systems, Batteries and Energy Storage Technologies Minor and Cyber Security Minor.

These are just a few of the examples of why we do what we do at the Nevada System of Higher Education. We believe in the power of education to make the world a better place and we want to continue expanding those opportunities to more Nevadans.