The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents unanimously approved a resolution Friday to aid higher education students hurt by the federal shutdown.
Last week, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a letter to Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Page and Chancellor Thom Reilly requesting that the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) take immediate action to financially assist students.
“I want to thank you all personally and on behalf of the people you’re going to impact and I can tell you it’s a lot of them,” Sisolak said. “This is going to make a big difference.”
In the letter, Sisolak said deadlines to access financial aid for the semester had passed, and asked NSHE to find a temporary solution to assist students financially impacted by the federal government shutdown.
“As a former Regent, I know you share my concern for any of our students who were relying on the federal paycheck for the upcoming semester and are now struggling to find a way to pay their fees before the semester starts,” wrote Sisolak in the letter.
“I hope that our institutions can offer financial assistance to our students who indicate they will otherwise need to withdraw from courses this semester due to these unforeseen circumstances.”
It is unclear how many students have been affected by the shutdown. Nevada’s higher education institutions do not keep a record of how many federal employees or dependents of a federal employee attend their schools. But the Board of Regents are asking higher education institutions to be proactive in reaching out to any students hurt by the shutdown.
The resolution directs the presidents of NSHE institutions to temporarily defer the payment of fees and tuition, and permanently waive any late penalty for students who can reasonably show they are a federal worker or dependent of a federal worker missing pay because of the shutdown.
The resolution also directs the presidents of NSHE institutions to explore all options for emergency financial assistance that may be available to students who may have to withdraw from courses due to financial hardship from the shutdown.
The resolution will remain in effect until the last day of courses for the 2019 Spring semester or 30 days after the shutdown, whichever comes first.
Regent Trevor Hayes also praised Sisolak as UNLV’s first alumni to sit in the Nevada governor’s office.
“I’m honored to be the first UNLV alumni” to be governor, Sisolak said. “In fact, the entire first family, my wife and both my children, are UNLV alumni. You got a whole family that graduated from UNLV.”