With college costs at an all-time high, financial aid can make or break a student's decision to pursue higher education. For students who didn't graduate at the top of their class or don't qualify for need-based aid, scholarship options are limited.
Enter the Philip J. Cohen Scholars Program. Made possible through the estate of Cohen, a Las Vegas gaming and real estate executive who passed away in 2010, the program will fund full-tuition scholarships for up to 50 UNLV students each year. The first 33 scholarships were awarded this spring.
Friends of Cohen said that while he never graduated from college, he frequently took night classes at UNLV and wanted to inspire deserving students to overcome difficult circumstances and excel.
"With the support of the Cohen Scholarship, I will be able to finish my degree in Hotel Administration and go on to law school," said scholarship recipient Camille Skrinjaric. "As a Las Vegas native, I want to remain in our community for many years and give back. I truly appreciate the efforts that were made by the Cohen family to provide this amazing gift to myself and many others."
The Cohen Scholars Program is unique in that it awards scholarships for students who may not qualify academically for merit-based scholarships or who don't meet the income threshold for financial aid. The goal is to encourage local students who may have slipped through the cracks to remain in Nevada and inspire them through Cohen's legacy to become active leaders.
The scholarship is open to all entering freshmen and undergraduate students with a 2.75 GPA or better and will cover the complete cost of tuition and fees for up to four years. At current tuition rates, the award is close to $6,000 per year and could be more if the student's major is subject to differential tuition rates. Preference is given to Nevada residents who are the first in their family to attend college.
The university has honored Cohen's commitment to students by naming the Philip J. Cohen Theatre in the Student Union. UNLV officials will dedicate the theatre during a public event at 3 p.m. March 29 at the Student Union.