Reno, Nevada (NV) Colleges and Universities

While there are only two public or private, not-for-profit schools in Reno, there are many schools located within a forty-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and lowest costs, to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

There are just a few traditional public and private colleges located near Reno. The main characteristics that define a traditional school are a not-for-profit structure and a range of programs and disciplines that provide students with flexibility and variety in their major and their courses. This article compares the few Reno-area schools that fit that definition to determine which are the top three in each of these categories:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Prospective college students who are undecided about their career path can benefit from schools that offer a variety of programs. Reno-area schools offer program variety ranging from 23 to 130 programs. Below are the top three schools in the Reno, Nevada, area which offer the most in this category.

1 - University of Nevada - Reno

The University of Nevada - Reno (UNR) is a four-year public school that offers around 130 programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels. The university also offers post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates. Ranked as the 108th top public school in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report, UNR is noteworthy for its sizable earthquake simulation lab. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) noted that some of the most popular majors in 2011-2012 included general studies, biological sciences, psychology and registered nursing.

2 - Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, NV, is a two-year public school that offers certificates of completion, one-year certificates and associate's degrees through roughly 92 programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), TMCC awarded 1,035 associate's degrees in 2012. Liberal arts and sciences, science technologies and registered nursing were among the most awarded areas of study at that level.

3 - Western Nevada College

Located within 25 miles of Reno in Carson City, NV, Western Nevada College (WNC) is a public community college that has about 60 programs. Although the college offers mainly associate's degrees, it does offer a Bachelor of Technology degree. Students who prefer a shorter course of study can choose from a variety of one-year certificates and certificates of achievement in areas such as American Sign Language, early childhood education and retail management. Western Nevada College awarded 460 associate's degrees in 2012, per the NCES.

Lowest Net Price

According to NCES, net price is determined by subtracting the amount of financial aid that a student receives from the overall cost of school attendance. The schools below range from $6,975 to a little above $14,000. Below are the top three schools among private, not-for-profit and public institutions that offer the lowest net price, based on the 2010-2011 academic school year data from the NCES.

1 - Western Nevada College

Western Nevada College had an average net price of $6,975, making it the most affordable public college in the Reno area. Full-time tuition and fees as of the 2012-2013 academic school year for in-state students was $2,700, while full-time rates for out-of-state students was $9,345, according to NCES statistics. Moreover, according to NCES' 2010-2011 data, 81% of first-time, full-time WNC students received an average award of $3,632 in grant/scholarship aid, while 15% of such students received an average award of $5,730 in student loan aid.

2 - Truckee Meadows Community College

With an average net price of $8,312, Truckee Meadows Community College ranks as the second most affordable public college in terms of net cost. According to NCES, the average full-time tuition and fees in 2012-2013 for full-time in-state TMCC students was $2,700 and the full-time tuition and fees for out-of-state TMCC students was $9,345. Per NCES statistics, during the 2010-2011 school year, 68% of full-time, beginning students received grant/scholarship aid and 26% received student loan aid. The average award for grant/scholarship aid in 2010-2011 was $3,649, and the average award for loan student aid was $4,671.

3 - University of Nevada - Reno

University of Nevada-Reno is the third most affordable public school with an average net cost of $14,127. The NCES reported that in 2012-2013, the estimated tuition and fees for full-time in-state UNR students was $6,602 and the rate for full-time out-of-state UNR students was $20,512. Room and board costs that year were estimated to be $10,196. During 2010-2011, 85% of first-time students received an average grant/scholarship award of $4,595, and 38% received an average award of $7,241 in loan student aid, according to NCES.

Highest Graduation Rate

The overall graduation rate refers to the rate in which full-time, first-time degree-seeking students began in 2005 and completed a degree program within 150% of the normal time frame, as specified by NCES standards. For-profits had the highest graduation rates in the Reno area, but the top three private, not-for-profit or public schools are profiled below. They had the highest graduation rates among such schools, ranging from 19% to 51%.

1 - University of Nevada - Reno

According to NCES, the University of Nevada-Reno had an overall graduation rate of 51%. Sixteen percent of those students completed a bachelor's degree in four years, while 51% completed the degree in six years. UNR's retention rate for 2010-2011 was 79%.

2 - Sierra Nevada College

Located in Incline Village, Sierra Nevada College (SNC) is a four-year, private not-for-profit school. Its overall graduation rate was 37%. Per NCES statistics, 29% of SNC students who began a bachelor's degree program in 2005 completed the degree within four years, while 37% completed the degree within six years. The retention rate for SNC students was 60% from 2010 to 2011.

3 - Western Nevada College

Nineteen percent of students at Western Nevada College graduated within the normal timeframe. The school's transfer-out rate, which is the rate at which first-time, full-time students transfer to another school within a specified time period, was 33% for the 2005 entering class.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Student-faculty ratios provide a guide to the amount of individual attention a student might expect during and outside of class time. Student-faculty ratios at schools in this region ranged from 10:1 to 28:1. Below are the three public or private, not-for-profit schools in the Reno area with the lowest student-faculty ratios.

1 - Sierra Nevada College

Among Reno-area schools that are not-for-profit or public, Sierra Nevada College has the lowest proportion of students to professors and instructors with its 14:1 student-faculty ratio. The college employed 31 full-time and 101 part-time instructors in fall 2011, according to NCES. U.S. News & World Report notes that approximately 80% of SNC's classes have less than 20 students.

2 - Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College has the second lowest student-faculty ratio at 19:1, per NCES statistics. There were 169 full-time and 377 part-time instructors in fall 2011. The average class size, according to TMCC, is approximately 25 students per class.

2 - Western Nevada College

Western Nevada College also has a 19:1 student-faculty ratio. The college, per NCES statistics, had 49 full-time and 215 part-time instructors, as of fall 2011.

Reno Schools at a Glance

School NameLocationSchool Type Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Sierra Nevada CollegeIncline Village, NV (37 miles from Reno) 4-year, private not-for-profitBachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
University of Nevada - Reno Reno, NV 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Net Price
Western Nevada College Carson City, NV (31 miles from Reno) 4-year, primarily associate's, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate's and bachelor's degrees Lowest Net Price,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate

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