Student Financial Aid in Nebraska
Read This Before You Contact a Bank
Much of Nebraska is rural, with more than 82% of the state devoted to farmland. But that doesn’t mean that Nebraska doesn’t offer its residents an impressive post-secondary education system. The Cornhusker State can boast 16 private colleges, 8 regional community and tribal colleges, and three state colleges. The University of Nebraska itself has five separate campus locations, and there are literally dozens of technical and vocational schools providing Nebraska’s residents with career training in everything from cosmetology to auto repair. College-bound students in Nebraska will find that their state offers post-secondary educational opportunities that are the equal to any largely urban state.
The Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education regulates the state’s higher education system. The CCPE’s mission is to enact the state legislature’s policy decisions in regard to Nebraska’s state and community colleges, as well as the University of Nebraska. The CCPE also administers a selection of financial aid programs designed to make a college education more accessible to residents of Nebraska.
The First Step is The FAFSA
College-bound students in the state of Nebraska will need to first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before they can apply for any Federal or state supported financial aid programs. The information students supply on the FAFSA is used to determine their Expected Family Contribution, and their overall level of financial need. This information is then used to determine what levels of financial aid the student will be eligible to receive. The FAFSA is also used by most colleges and universities, as well as the majority of independent sponsors of scholarships and grants, to decide a student applicant’s eligibility for financial assistance.
General Scholarships and Grants
Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education administers four financial aid programs designed to provide assistance to students who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education. These programs are funded by the state, and are only offered to legal residents who are attending one of Nebraska’s state colleges or universities. As with any state supported financial aid, these programs are subject to change according to legislation and availability of funds.
The following financial aid programs are sponsored by the state of Nebraska for its resident college-bound students.
- The Access College Early Scholarship is available to low-income high school students who have chosen to take early enrollment, or dual enrollment, at one of the state’s public colleges or universities. Eligibility is determined by financial need and academic achievement. To be eligible, students will need to have completed an advanced high school curriculum.
- The ACE Plus Scholarship Program is open to full-time college students who previously qualified for an Access College Early Scholarship while in high school. The ACE Plus Scholarship awards $500 for the first year a student attends college full-time, and $1000 for the second year of full-time attendance. To be eligible, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. Awards are granted on a first come, first served basis and students are encouraged to apply as early as possible for this award.
- The Nebraska Opportunity Grant is available to Nebraska residents who are attending a college or university within the state, and who have the minimum Expected Family Contribution as determined by their FAFSA application. The Nebraska Opportunity Grant is administered through the financial aid offices of colleges and universities within the state, and students will need to apply for the grant through their college of attendance.
Although Nebraska is a predominantly rural state, it still provides its residents with a first class post-secondary education system. College-bound students living in Nebraska should not feel that they need to leave the state to acquire the college education they desire. Through the financial aid opportunities administered by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education, residents of the Cornhusker State can find the money they need to make their college dreams a reality.