Nevada recently passed a bill to make tuition free for students attending community college, a common alternative to the traditional 4-year college experience. Sponsored by the Western Nevada College, Nevada lawmakers crafted the Nevada Promise Scholarship to mirror similar legislation in Tennessee and Oregon.

The average cost for a year at Western Nevada College is about $3,000. For many students who don’t qualify for other aid, that’s a steep price. Thanks to the Nevada Promise Scholarship, all students will be able to attend community college for free in 2018.

The Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, which means that students will get other financial aid first, and the Promise Scholarship will fill in the rest. In addition to covering remaining costs, it also covers remaining students — that is, students not covered by the current aid opportunities: Pell grants, the Millennium Scholarship and the Silver State Opportunity Grant.

Unlike the other financial aid, the Nevada Promise Scholarship covers students who need to take remedial courses to fill the gaps between high school and college. It lowers the minimum course load to 12 units per semester, allowing students who need to work or care for family members to attend college.

Mirroring the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, Nevada Promise provides a mentorship program that will fill the wide gaps in academic advisors. Volunteer mentors will help students stay on track to complete their program. A community service requirement gets students out completing civic work to better the community, a fair price for free community college tuition.

To take advantage of the Nevada Promise Scholarship, students must apply before October 31, 2017. Funds will be issued on a first come, first served basis, so students are encouraged to apply early. Students are also required to fill out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid by March 30, 2018, from which they may discover other aid they are eligible to receive.