In this ranking, we examine the top 10 best affordable colleges in Nevada for bachelor’s degrees. To most of the country, and the world, for that matter, Nevada is synonymous with Las Vegas, the “sin city” and gambling epicenter that nearly exclusively represents the state when it comes to popular culture. However, locals know that Nevada is much more than it’s “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” tagline, and students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nevada will likely agree. Admittedly, Nevada is not overflowing in terms of the number of colleges and universities it offers and our ranking compares these institutions to one another. It is still home to several nationally recognized schools and programs. Nevada has a lot to offer students as evidenced by the following ranking. From outdoor adventures for nature-lovers to the creative arts to career preparation, Nevada institutions of higher education are diamonds in the rough with plenty of value to boot. Below, we rank 10 affordable colleges in Nevada based on tuition rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates to help prospective students choose a school that best meets their academic needs and professional goals.
We know it can be time-consuming and perhaps confusing to try to weed through everything that colleges have to offer. From majors and concentrations to extracurriculars and internships, from cost to financial aid to faculty members and learning environments, how can you tell the best-value schools from the ones that might not be worth your time or money? To provide you with the most comprehensive overview of the top 10 best affordable colleges in Nevada, we chose three features that most students look for when comparing colleges and universities: cost, class size, and student success. We searched for colleges in Nevada offering bachelor’s degrees using the College Navigator tool at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Then, we awarded points to each institution as outlined below based on the average cost of attendance, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates. As you compare the following schools, do your best to consider each institution as a whole rather than focus on one specific feature.
Average Cost of Attendance
You are not alone if you find yourself searching for a college or university and finding its tuition rates first before even looking at its academic options. After all, you need to make sure you can afford to attend a school before you think about majors and programs of study. However, it is just as important to look at the big picture and avoid choosing a particular institution just for the sake of saving money; the cheapest program may not meet your needs as one that costs slightly more. For the following ranking, we ranked tuition based on the cost of one year of study from NCES data. We also provided out-of-state costs for students, although these figures were not used in the ranking itself.Points:
- Under $7,500: 3 points
- $7,500 to $15,000: 2 points
- $15,001 and above: 1 point
We used each institution’s student-to-faculty ratio to get a better understanding of the learning environment students can expect when pursuing a degree at that particular school. In other words, large state universities may be more likely to hold larger classes which could be preferable for someone looking to blend in and complete their studies without too many interactions with their professors. On the other hand, small private colleges might offer smaller classes which could be ideal for a student seeking opportunities for mentoring and one-on-one relationships with their professors. Although there is no one-size-fits-all institution, for this ranking, the colleges and universities with the lowest ratios from NCES earned the most points.Points:
- 10:1 or less: 3 points
- 11:1 to 15:1: 2 points
- Greater than 15:1: 1 point
Finally, we looked at each school’s graduation rate to help prospective students determine whether an institution will be a good fit based on how satisfied graduates are with their studies. In other words, students who are happy with their schools are more likely to remain there and graduate with their degree, while those who are unhappy are more likely to leave and finish their degree elsewhere. Schools that excel and that boast high graduation rates typically have a lot to offer, whether that be affordable programs, academic support, opportunities for hands-on learning, or helpful faculty. Therefore, we awarded these colleges and universities with the highest number of points, according to NCES, based on the following ranges.Points
- More than 50 percent: 3 points
- Between 30 percent and 50 percent: 2 points
- Less than 30 percent: 1 point
Ranking Top 10 Best Affordable Colleges in Nevada
10. Chamberlain University
Las Vegas, NevadaPoints: 3
Chamberlain University is an inexpensive university in Nevada for nursing and healthcare, located in Las Vegas. Chamberlain University offers an on-site, three-year, pre-licensure inexpensive Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree as well as low-cost online post-licensure nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN option, M.S. in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and graduate certificates. Students following the best-value BSN program can earn their degree in as few as three years of year-round student versus the traditional four-year format with summers off. Therefore, students can begin seeking employment sooner than those at other institutions of higher education. The school boasts a 96 percent first-time NCLEX pass rate, and students learn from experienced faculty, working side-by-side with peers, mentors, and professors to refine their direct patient-care nursing skills. High-technology, state-of-the-art nursing laboratories such as the Chamberlain SIMCARE CENTER as well as an on-site clinical setting provide opportunities for experiential learning. The Center for Academic Success (CAS) provides support and resources such as experienced tutors and preparation for licensing examinations.
In-State Tuition: $19,375
Out-of-State Tuition: $19,375
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: N/A
9. Roseman University of Health Sciences
Roseman University of Health Sciences is a private, low-cost college in Nevada that focuses on affordable healthcare degrees. With its main campus in Henderson, the school has helped thousands of students reimagine their futures and achieve careers in pharmacy, orthodontics, business, dental medicine, and nursing. Roseman structures its top-value degree programs around the concept of the “Six-Point Mastery Learning Model,” which is comprised of six key areas: the classroom as a teacher, early experiential learning, assessment learning, block curriculum, active and collaborative learning, and competency-based education. Under this model, students achieve competence and mastery, allowing them to thrive and succeed in the competitive healthcare industry. Outside of the classroom, students are encouraged to join one of many on-campus student clubs and organizations focused on hobbies and special interests, religion, and academics.
In-State Tuition: $36,095
Out-of-State Tuition: $36,095
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Graduation Rate: N/A
8. Touro University Nevada
Touro University is a non-profit inexpensive university located in Henderson. A member of the Touro College and University System as well as Touro University, TUN was established in 2004 and serves more than 1,300 students. At TUN, students find exceptional guidance and leadership for their career and education through the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Students at this cheap college in Nevada, may study to become a physical therapist, physician assistant, occupational therapist, physician, or nurse, and they benefit from innovative technology and state-of-the-art facilities that help bring these programs to life. Students at this inexpensive university also have many opportunities to give back outside of the classroom by helping make healthcare more accessible to underserved populations by providing services through free medical clinics. Opportunities for on-campus involvement include general interest organizations, professional interest groups, university-wide organizations, and special interest groups.
In-State Tuition: $9,000
Out-of-State Tuition: $9,000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 4:1
Graduation Rate: N/A
7. University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NevadaPoints:5
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas is a public accredited university in Nevada located on a 332-acre campus. Established in 1957 as the University of Nevada, Southern Division, UNLV is a land-grant university and recognized as a top-tier university with expanded research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, innovative academic programs, and new community partnerships designed to enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom. Students can choose from more than 390 cheap majors, minors, and certificates in an impressive selection of subjects, including social work, nuclear medicine, graphic design, biochemistry, landscape architecture, philosophy, creative writing, and art. The school’s location in the heart of Las Vegas provides students with unique connections to leadership, technology, and industry exclusive to both the Las Vegas Strip as well as the surrounding area. UNLV is one of the most affordable colleges in Nevada, costing just half of the price of the nation’s average. In addition to offering low-cost college courses in Nevada, most UNLV students benefit from work-study programs, scholarships, grants, and loans to help offset the cost of tuition and ensure an inexpensive education.
In-State Tuition: $7,985
Out-of-State Tuition: $23,132
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Graduation Rate: 43 percent
6. Nevada State College
Located in Henderson, Nevada State College is a public institution of higher learning and one of the most affordable colleges in Nevada. Established in 2002 as Nevada’s first state college, NSC enrolls more than 4,900 students and is recognized as the second fastest-growing school in the nation. This top-value school’s ever-expanding selection of more than 50 cheap majors and minors empowers students and encourages them to bring their goals and ideas to life. NSC is comprised of three academic divisions: School of Education, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the School of Nursing. Several of the school’s most popular and inexpensive degree programs include education, nursing, psychology, biology, and business administration. NSC’s small classes, combined with passionate and experienced faculty, make for an effective and personal learning environment in which students thrive. NSC is rated as both an Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution, and its Nepantla Program is designed to empower first-generation college students through community building, access to resources, academic skills, and professional success through self-discovery.
In-State Tuition: $5,438
Out-of-State Tuition: $17,458
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 19 percent
5. College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas, NevadaPoints:5
The College of Southern Nevada is a public community college that operates three main campuses in Clark County: the Charleston campus in Las Vegas, the Henderson campus in Henderson, and the North Las Vegas campus in North Las Vegas. The school enrolls more than 49,400 undergraduate and graduate students across its three locations and offers affordable certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs in a number of fields. Students may choose from either a cheap B.A.S or B.S. degree, and unique areas of study include fire and emergency services administration, deaf studies, cardiorespiratory sciences, project management, and medical laboratory science as well as dental hygiene with concentrations in either education specialist or public health specialist. There are many opportunities for students to get involved outside of the classroom, including clubs and organizations as well as five CSN sports teams: baseball, softball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s soccer. Service-learning is emphasized at CSN, with approximately 9,900 hours of community service completed by CSN students each year. Although CSN is one of the cheapest colleges in Nevada and boasts one of the lowest tuition rates on our list, the school awards $71 million in financial aid to further help students offset the cost of tuition.
In-State Tuition: $5,438
Out-of-State Tuition: $17,458
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 19 percent
4. Sierra Nevada College
Incline Village, NevadaPoints:6
Established in 1969, Sierra Nevada College is a private institution of higher learning located in Incline Village, and the only private, accredited, four-year college in the state. At SNC, students can learn from leading professionals in their field and take charge of their futures by collaborating on practical problems in a professional environment. SNC’s education incorporates creativity, science and sustainability, and entrepreneurial leadership into every experience, preparing students to enter the workforce immediately after earning their degree. Students prepare for academic success in more than 30 best-value undergraduate majors, including ski business and outdoor leadership, digital art and ceramics, psychology, sustainability, finance, entrepreneurship, creative writing, English, environmental science, and biology. SNC emphasizes hands-on learning through art studies, original research projects, internships, and in-class, small-group explorations as well as off-campus science laboratories in nearby scenic Lake Tahoe or the Sierra Mountains.
In-State Tuition: $34,241
Out-of-State Tuition: $34,241
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Graduation Rate: 47 percent
3. University of Nevada-Reno
Founded in 1874, the University of Nevada-Reno is an affordable accredited university in Nevada and the sole land-grant institution for the state. Located in Reno on the western edge of Nevada between Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe and the Great Basin, UNR focuses on hands-on learning, community outreach, and high-impact research opportunities to prepare students for career, personal, and academic success. Students at this low-cost university have the opportunity to customize an academic path with more than 460 cheap undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates and minor programs through 11 academic colleges. Notable inexpensive degree programs of interest include neuroscience, forest management and ecology, ecohydrology, and anthropology. Students may also follow a general studies path in which they create a program based on their unique interests and professional goals. Outside of the classroom, students may join more than 250 organizations and clubs, including intramural sports, Greek life, faith-based groups, and academic clubs. UNR is a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) which saves eligible students from 15 states approximately $11,000 per academic year.
In-State Tuition: $7,599
Out-of-State Tuition: $22,236
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduation Rate: 58 percent
2. Western Nevada College
Carson City, NevadaPoints:6
Established in 1971 as Western Nevada Community College, Western Nevada College is a public institution that serves northwest Nevada. This affordable college in Nevada operates a main campus in Carson City as well as additional campuses in Minden and Fallon and instructional centers throughout the state. Students at this cheap college can choose from a variety of low-cost academic programs, including certificates of achievement, associate degrees, and a new bachelor’s degree in technology. Areas of study at the undergraduate level include construction management, criminal justice, automotive technology, computer information technology, welding, deaf studies, education, graphic design and business, accounting, and management. Outside of the classroom, students can choose from clubs that provide opportunities for creativity, scholarship, networking, and fun activities such as the American Sign Language club, history club, psychology club, the National Student Nurses’ Association, Student Veterans’ Club, WNCyber, and the Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
In-State Tuition: $3,158
Out-of-State Tuition: $10,071
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 25 percent
1. Great Basin College
Established in 1967, Great Basin College offers the lowest tuition on our list, making it the best affordable college in Nevada. A comprehensive residential college located in a rural setting in Elko, GBC offers low-cost certificates of achievement, associate degrees, and five types of cheap bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Arts. Areas of study include English, education, social science, natural resources, nursing, and the biological sciences as well as instrumentation, human services, graphic communications, digital information technology, and land surveying/geomatics. GBC also offers a 3+1 social work program in which students complete three years of study at GBC and finish their degree at the University of Nevada-Reno. GBC is smaller than other post-secondary institutions in the state, enrolling around 3,200 students, 95 percent of whom are from Nevada. This best-value college has a long history of offering vibrant, unique organizations and clubs revolving around culture and heritage, academics, leadership, special interests, hobbies, honors, Greek life, Student Government Association (SGA), Student Nurses Organization (SNO), and more.
In-State Tuition: $3,128
Out-of-State Tuition: $9,876
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Graduation Rate: 36 percent
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Most In-Demand Careers in Nevada for Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree?
Understanding the economy and labor market can be particularly helpful as students go to choose a college or university through which to earn their degree. After all, it is important to ensure that the job outlook is favorable for your future occupation to ensure stability when you enter the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nevada reported an unemployment rate of 4.0 percent as of May 2019, slightly higher than the national average of 3.6 percent that same month. The BLS indicates that employment increased nationwide in transportation and warehousing, healthcare, and professional and business services.
However, despite a higher unemployment rate, experts report an abundance of available jobs in industries throughout the state, meaning that Nevada is remaining stable and is still a solid choice for students earning a bachelor’s degree and looking to enter the workforce after graduation. According to a report issued by the Office of Workforce Innovation at the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the fastest-growing industries in Nevada in which students with a bachelor’s may find work include:
- Aerospace and Defense
- Healthcare and Medical Services
- Information Technology
- Manufacturing and Logistics
- Mining and Materials
- Natural Resources
- Tourism, Gaming, and Entertainment
What are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Nevada?
As you begin to narrow down prospective colleges and universities through which to earn your bachelor’s degree, you may be thinking about your future occupation in terms of salary, especially if you are unsure of the career path you wish to follow. Whereas some students want to work in a particular position or industry simply because they want to do what they love, others may base their decision on how much they stand to earn in a particular field or industry. Therefore, we consulted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather occupational employment and wage estimates using data obtained from all employers in every industry throughout metropolitan and metropolitan areas in Nevada. According to the BLS, the annual mean wage for all occupations was $46,170 as of May 2018. The top five highest-paying jobs in Nevada are:
- Internists, General: $260,100
- Pediatricians, General: $258,750
- Anesthesiologists: $256,120
- Physicians and Surgeons, All Other: $227,500
- Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers: $220,400
Although a bachelor’s degree can be used as a stepping stone into graduate school, medical school, and law school, we also wanted to provide annual earnings for occupations that students could obtain immediately after earning an undergraduate degree. The BLS reports that the following are the top 10 highest-paying positions with salaries over six figures for those with either a bachelor’s alone or a bachelor’s and additional certification, training, licensure, and/or experience.
- Chief Executives: $215,590
- Marketing Managers: $142,730
- Architectural and Engineering Managers: $141,210
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: $134,840
- Elevator Installers and Repairers: $129,890
- General and Operations Managers: $128,080
- Advertising and Promotions Managers: $127,720
- Sales Engineers: $126,460
- Financial Managers: $123,890
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: $121,620
What are the Best Schools in Nevada for Bachelor’s Recipients?
Although Nevada is best-known for its nightlife, gaming, and gambling than the educational opportunities it offers, students who have their hearts set on earning a college degree in Nevada won’t be disappointed. Before you make your decision, however, it is important to consider the short- and long-term effect your investment will have on your future finances. In other words, some colleges and universities offer a better return-on-investment (ROI) than others. Since the cost of a degree is likely one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life, we thought it would be helpful to identify the top four schools in the state for students earning a bachelor’s degree.
Below, we rank these institutions in order from the highest ROI to the lowest ROI, a figure calculated over 20 years for in-state, on-campus students who did not take out a financial aid package, and provided early- and mid-career average earnings for students who earned a bachelor’s degree and did not go on to graduate school, according to data from PayScale.
- 1. University of Nevada-Reno
– 20-Year Net ROI: $363,000
– Early Career Pay: $51,700
– Mid-Career Pay: $92,900
- 2. University of Nevada-Las Vegas
– 20-Year Net ROI: $335,000
– Early Career Pay: $49,300
– Mid-Career Pay: $88,200
- 3. Sierra Nevada College
– 20-Year Net ROI: $210,000
– Early Career Pay: $51,800
– Mid-Career Pay: $88,8000
- 4. Nevada State college
– 20-Year Net ROI: N/A
– Early Career Pay: $54,700
– Mid-Career Pay: $76,400
Only four schools appear on the PayScale ROI Report and College Salary Report rankings. Of these, both campuses of the University of Nevada rank in the top two spots for value. The University of Nevada-Reno is at the forefront of research, especially in terms of civil engineering. Leading programs at this school include journalism, social sciences, and environmental literature. UNR delivers a comfortable $363,000 ROI, so it is a solid choice regardless of the major you wish to pursue.
With more than 220 areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both traditional and unique fields, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas is also recognized as a best-value college in Nevada as well as a top institution of higher learning in the nation. Located fewer than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip, students not only enjoy a vibrant nightlife and bustling city but also plenty of opportunities for internships and community service. With more than 250 clubs and organizations as well as innovative options such as the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, UNLV provides a well-rounded, immersive education to more than 30,400 students.
Despite its large geographical size, the Silver State is home to only a handful of major colleges and universities. Still, prospective students thinking about pursuing a cheap four-year degree in Nevada can take advantage of some fantastic values for their college experience as well as easy access to the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, depending on the school they choose. Whether you are interested in pursuing a degree in Nevada because you were born and raised in the state or simply because of the best-value colleges the state has to offer, we hope that the above data regarding the top 10 best affordable colleges in Nevada for bachelor’s degrees can help you choose the best institution of higher education for your money.
This concludes our ranking of the top 10 best affordable colleges in Nevada for bachelor’s degrees.
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