Nebraskans with family incomes of $65,000 or less will be able to study tuition-free in the University of Nebraska system under an expansion of the “Nebraska Promise” program that was announced Monday.
When it started in 2020, the program promised free tuition for qualifying full-time Nebraska undergraduates in families earning $60,000 or less. This year, 7,000 students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center are enrolled tuition-free.
The expansion kicks in the fall semester of 2022, responding to the state’s current median income. An estimated 175 more NU students are expected as a result of the change.
“Over the past two years, the chancellors and I have heard so many stories of students whose dreams of college education have been made possible because of the Nebraska Promise,” said NU President Ted Carter. “We know times are still uncertain and that every dollar matters to students and families.”
He said in a media release that the message to residents is, “No matter their circumstance, a University of Nebraska education is within their reach.”
Resident undergraduates whose families have an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less or who qualify for the federal Pell Grant can attend any of the NU campuses and take up to 30 credit hours per academic year that is covered. The program applies to returning students and transfer students, who take classes online or in person. Students must be admitted to their school and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline.
Also announced Monday: All university campuses are moving the priority deadline to file the FAFSA and qualify for the Nebraska Promise program from April 1 to June 1.
Nebraska Promise is not designed to cover fees, books or room and board — costs beyond tuition. Students can apply for scholarships and grants that could help pay those expenses.
Carter said the family income adjustment is among steps to expand access to education. Tuition rates were frozen this year and are to remain the same in 2022-23.
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