The Guinn Millennium Scholarship
The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship — a program that provides qualifying Nevada students with a $10,000 award to pursue higher education in-state — has made a remarkable impact on thousands of Nevadan families and played a vital role in the expansion of UNLV.
With the millions of dollars expected from the national tobacco settlement agreement in 1999, Governor Kenny Guinn saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the problem of low college-attendance rates in Nevada without using any taxpayer dollars. Guinn’s proposal to establish the Millennium Scholarship was welcomed by the Legislature, which unanimously supported the initiative, established the trust fund, and launched the program in 2000.
Access to Education
Since its creation, the Guinn Millennium Scholarship has given thousands of Nevadans access to quality higher education and more than doubled the number of students who now attend Nevada’s colleges and universities. To date, approximately $240 million has been distributed to more than 63,000 Guinn Millennium Scholars across Nevada. More than 22,000 degrees have been awarded to Millennium Scholars throughout the state and, as a result, Nevada has a stronger, more educated workforce to offer local businesses.
Specifically at UNLV, the program has greatly increased the size of our student body, leading to the enhancement of our faculty and expansion of our campus. On average, roughly 5,500 Millennium Scholars attend UNLV each semester. The Guinn Millennium Scholarship has left a profoundly positive mark on our state, giving Nevada’s best and brightest the incentive to pursue higher education in state and enrich our communities.
6,824 Millennium Scholarship Alumni and Counting
As of Fall 2010, UNLV has graduated 6,824 Guinn Millennium Scholars, whose names appear on the commemorative display in the Student Union. The majority of these alumni reside in the Las Vegas community and now teach our children, care for our sick, manage our businesses, design our infrastructure, counsel those in need, protect our rights, and preserve our environment.
Program in Danger
In 2008, due to the declining economic situation in Nevada, the legislature started making difficult budgetary decisions and began removing substantial sums of money from the Millennium Scholarship fund. So far, $32.8 million has been cut from the trust fund. The fate of the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship Program now lies in the hands of the legislature; the 2011 Session of the Nevada Legislature started Feb. 7 and will end June 6.
Let your legislators know how you feel about the Guinn Millennium Scholarship program before it is too late. Check out the Ambassadors website for ways to contact them.
For more information about the Millennium Scholarship, visit the Office of the State Treasurer’s webpage.