Scholarship a nice ride while it lasts
In 1999, the Millennium Scholarship looked like the perfect answer to help Nevada students pay for higher education.
The state had received a windfall thanks to the settlement of the tobacco lawsuits and there wasn’t really any limitation on how we spent the money.
Thousands of Nevada high school graduates got to take classes thanks to the scholarship.
But about the same time as the first Millennium scholars graduated from Nevada institutions questions about the program’s solvency arose.
Back then, State Treasurer Brian Krolicki tried to get lawmakers to approve taking a lump sum settlement and invest the money.
Legislators balked and the tobacco money dried up.
Suggestions for saving the Millennium Scholarship have ranged from giving the money to the institutions to distribute and manage as they do many other scholarships to Gov. Kenny Guinn’s plan to subsidize the fund with general fund money. The governor’s plan will leave students relying on the good graces of the Legislature to decide how much money is available and what requirements students will have to meet to qualify.
And without Guinn’s backing, who can say how long lawmakers will be willing to subsidize the program.
In the end, it may be better to let the program run dry rather than form a legislative bucket brigade that could leave Nevada students guessing as to whether there will be enough water in the stream to float their college education.