General Financial Aid Tips

  • Scholarships/Financial Aid…some facts:

    The majority of financial aid for college (80%-90% depending upon where you look) comes from the Federal Government (FAFSA/need based) or from the colleges/universities in the form of merit aid/academic institutional scholarships. According to, a report by the National Association of College and University Business Officers said that 88.9 percent of freshman at private colleges received a grant from the institution in 2013-14.  The grants covered 53.5 percent of tuition and fees.  

    The remaining pool of funds to help with college comes in the form of outside scholarships.  Many students are under the misconception that outside scholarships are the primary source of college funding. As stated above, the majority of aid for college comes from the Federal Government or directly from the colleges/universities.  The reality is that time in high school can be best spent by performing at one's highest potential, getting good grades and test scores, and being involved in extracurricular activities. As a senior, filling out the FAFSA (and CSS Profile if needed), re-taking a standardized test if it sets you up for more merit aid, putting together a well thought out list of colleges to apply to (maximizing aid according to your personal circumstances) and submitting well thought out applications is what should be focused on first. Applying for outside scholarships that you are a strong candidate for should be next. 

    General Guidelines/Suggestions:

    1. Never PAY to find scholarships. There is an abundance of internet sites, and scams, related to scholarship searches. If you take some time to educate yourself and develop a plan you will be more effective.

    2. Be aware that many internet scholarship search sites pass along (and profit off of) the sale of your personal information to other companies. If you choose to utilize national search sites then use those that allow you to manage your privacy settings (like College Greenlight). Often the privacy feature is hidden, read the privacy policies closely.

    3. Be strategic. Scholarship applications take time and awards are often for relatively small amounts of money. Weigh the time involved to apply (essays, letters of recommendation) closely against the size of the applicant pool and the amount awarded.

    4. Go local first. Local scholarships at your school, in your community, or in Northern Nevada usually offer you the best chance of being awarded money because they have the smallest applicant pool. Many high schools have a general application, which opens you up to a variety of smaller scholarships. One application, many scholarships! Ours is the Reno High General Scholarship, typically due the week before the holiday break.

    5. If your parents are employed in a specific industry or for a large company (advertising specialty, Washoe County School District, Nevada Energy, etc.), there are often scholarships available within that industry, or company, to children of those working there.

    6. There are thousands of scholarships out there. Be thoughtful about those to which you apply. See below under "Local/National Scholarships" for specific local scholarships and tools to effectively navigate searching for national scholarships.

    Online Resources for Understanding Financial Aid : Websites, tips for understanding and maximizing financial aid

    Resources in The CUBE

    It is our goal to streamline the process and allow you to identify those scholarships that you are a solid candidate for and worth the time to apply for. The better acquainted that the student is with the resources of The Cube then the better we can direct students to scholarship and financial aid resources specific to the individual student’s needs. It is the student's job to manage this process for themselves.

    • RHS Senior Bulletin: features scholarships that RHS students have had success with in the past. The Bulletins are updated monthly and are available in The Cube and in the student’s American Government class.
    • Scholarship Matching Sheet: Students can come to The Cube and fill out a scholarship matching sheet. While by no means a guarantee that we can match the student with scholarships it is a good starting point and a way for Mrs. Lerude to learn more about the student
    • Scholarship Database/Spreadsheet: We update a spreadsheet with scholarships that RHS students have had success with in the past. It is a quick reference guide for the student that can be accessed, below. The majority of scholarships open late fall and into the spring.
    • College Club/FAFSA workshops/Parent info sessions: see the calendar for dates


  • The FAFSA opens on October 1st. The 2019-20 FAFSA for the Class of 2019 requires your 2017 tax information. See the Class Calendar for FAFSA workshop dates (updated soon). TMCC and UNR also provide assistance with completing your FAFSA. Below is a link to the Federal Department of Education website which provides helpful information, tutorials and a link to the FAFSA application.

    NOTE: The FAFSA is a FREE application. You should never have to pay to complete it.

    FAFSA website

    Check out this article on Common Mistakes on the FAFSA

    WUE: Western Undergraduate Exchange is a consortium of 13 western states. The goal is to provide affordable options for students wanting to attend college out of their home state. The eligibility requirements vary from merely being admitted to declaring a major in a particular program to academic merit scholarships. Please research specifics by going onto the college's website (type WUE in the search bar). The website, below, lists all of the colleges participating in the WUE by state, a general overview of savings and link to college website.


    MILLENNIUM: Students do not have to apply for the Millennium Scholarship. It is automatically awarded to students attending college/university in Nevada based upon their final HS transcript. Their transcript is sent to the Nevada Department of Education after they graduate. See attached for specifics

    Millennium Scholarship


Local/National Scholarships

  • GO LOCAL FIRST when searching for scholarships. Check the scholarship spreadsheet/grid, below, frequently to see local scholarships that RHS students have had success with (with an overview of eligibility criteria).

    PLEASE NOTE: In order to be recognized at Scholarship Convocation THIS YEAR you must apply and receive a scholarship from the RHS General or one of the scholarships listed below (those awarded to RHS students only). All recipients of any scholarship will still be recognized in the RHS Graduation program.


    If you are serious about finding money to help pay for college NOW is the time!! Here are some highlights:

    - Brian LaViolette/James Cathey Scholarship (student with plans to join the military or pursue a career in public service): Due March 30th, 2020: CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION

     - Nevada Bighorns (well-rounded/hard working students who have a love of NV's wildlife/outdoors and are interested in pursuing a career in conserving, managing, protecting & studying NV's wildlife population): Due March 31st: Application available in The CUBE

    - Boothies to Broadway (RHS drama student): Due April 1st: Application available in The CUBE

    - Race178 Journal Jog (student who has participated in both x-country & track...talent not a factor): Due April 1st: CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION

    - WEA/Washoe Education Association Scholarships (multiple scholarships, majority for children of WEA members): Due April 10th: Applications available in The CUBE

    - Natalia Berumen (students who attended Jessie Beck for a minimum of three years & finished 6th grade): Due April 17th: Application available in The CUBE

    - RHS Outstanding Community Service Scholarship: (RHS student who has spent significant time/enery volunteering): Due April 30th: Application available in The CUBE



    The Scholarship Grid is updated several times a month to include those scholarships that RHS students have had success with. They tend to be local. The Grid outlines eligibility requirements and links to applications.

    FEBRUARY Scholarship Grid...CLICK HERE

    NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS: There are thousands of national scholarships available. Generally speaking, competition is intense and applying can consume a great deal of time. We encourage students to utilize one or two national search sites, set up a profile and MANAGE YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS. Many national sites sell or pass along student info to for-profit companies. See below for two reliable resources.

    College Greenlight

    After setting up the privacy policy on the dashboard/homepage uncheck the boxes that allow third party access to your personal information. In addition to matching you with scholarships, College Greenlight has a college search tool that provides insight into the average amount of financial aid a school awards and allows you to search for schools by all-around great resource!


    Don't check the box "HELP US HELP YOU", as you will receive emails from companies/colleges (most students are already receiving enough thanks to ACT and CollegeBoard).