Nebraska goes beyond cattle and corn and proves it’s also a top producer of higher education opportunities.
The state regularly ranks among the best in the nation when it comes to state and local government spending on education. They offer an impressive array of affordable institutions where students can learn online or in traditional classroom settings.
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Indeed, the cornhusker state values higher education and is dedicated to providing the best opportunities for its students.
Overview of Higher Education in Nebraska
Nebraska is home to 39 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Of these, 18 are public schools, 17 are non-profit private schools and 4 are for-profit private schools. According to a 2018 report by the NCES, in-state tuition at one of Nebraska’s 4–year public institutions is $8,467. Out-of-state students will play closer to $21,516. Both rates are below the national average.
Those in neighboring states will get an even bigger break, thanks to Nebraska’s partnership with the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). Through the MSEP, public universities agree to charge no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate to students who reside in the 9 participating states.
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In Nebraska, higher education is overseen by the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE). The CCPE’s duties include collaborating with the state’s public colleges and universities on plans to guide higher education, conducting research and publishing reports on higher education issues, reviewing institution’s budget proposals and making recommendations to the state Legislature, administering financial aid programs, and more.
In their 2020 Nebraska Higher Education Progress Report, the CCPE noted improved high school graduation rates, improved college enrollment rates, improved freshmen retention rate and increased state-funded financial aid. Going forward, the focus will be on making more aggressive progress, which they say is essential to the state’s economic growth.
About Online Colleges in Nebraska
In 2018, a report by the NCES showed 21.1% of undergraduate students in Nebraska were enrolled in a fully online degree program, and an additional 23.5% were participating in a hybrid program, meaning they attend some classes online and some on campus. Those percentages continue to rise as more and more universities meet the changing needs of college students.
Today, the University of Nebraska offers more than 150 online degree programs across its four campuses. Each one is promised to provide the same rigor, faculty and support as the traditional on-campus college experience. Private institution Creighton University offers more than 30 online degrees and certificates.
In Nebraska, nearly every subject matter is offered in a distance learning format, including courses requiring hands-on activities such as biology, nursing, and mechanics. At the community college level, the largest scale category of courses is liberal arts and sciences.
At 4-year institutions, large numbers of courses are offered in social sciences, business, education, health professions and computer and information sciences. Nebraska’s educational programs at accredited online colleges are connected through the Nebraska Distance Learning Association (NDLA), which promotes distance learning opportunities and provides networking opportunities and resources for members.
Institutions are further supported by Network Nebraska, an educational network created by the state to provide reliable, affordable high bandwidth connections to all of Nebraska’s community colleges and public colleges, and half of the private institutions. The network also serves some of Nebraska’s K-12 schools and public libraries.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Nebraska
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education in the state of Nebraska, you will first need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you access to federal, state and even private financial aid. The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1st, and should be completed as early as possible, since funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
The application itself is free and easy to fill out. You will need to include financial information about yourself and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). The data you provide will be used to determine how much and what type of financial aid you quality for. Grants and scholarships are the ideal types of financial assistance, since they do not have to be paid back.
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In addition to federal grants, the state of Nebraska, through the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, offers its residents the following grant and scholarship programs:
- Access College Early (ACE) Scholarship Program — Pays tuition and fees for low-income high school students to enroll in college courses through dual-enrollment or early enrollment agreements
- Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG) – Need based aid
- Community College Gap Assistance – Need based aid for community college students who are taking credit or non-credit courses that could lead to jobs in high-need fields
Students in Nebraska can also apply for private scholarships, which may be awarded based on academic or athletic skill, financial need, field of study or even hobbies and interests.
Here are some scholarships available to Nebraskans:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Lawrence ‘Larry’ Frazier Memorial Scholarship||$800|
|Norma Ross Walter Scholarship||1st place: $2500
2nd place: $17503rd place: $1250
|Scott Mecham BBB Student of Integrity Award||(12) $2000|
|Susan T. Buffett Foundation Scholarships||Varies|
|Urban League of Nebraska Scholarship||Undisclosed|
More scholarship opportunities can be found using search sites like Fastweb.com. You should also ask the financial aid office at the school you have chosen, as they may have aid programs available exclusively to those who are admitted.
List of Online Colleges in Nebraska
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bryan College of Health Sciences is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Chadron State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Clarkson College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
College of Saint Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Concordia University – Nebraska is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Doane University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Midland University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Nebraska Methodist College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Nebraska Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Peru State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
UNK is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Nebraska – Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Nebraska – Medical Center is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
UNO is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Wayne State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Clearly the cornhusker state has a lot to offer. With top-notch colleges and universities, an impressive list of online learning opportunities, and very affordable tuition rates, Nebraska is an excellent place to pursue your postsecondary education.