Whether you are a recent high school graduate or a returning student, earning a degree at one of the best online colleges in Nebraska gives you access to advanced academics, more job opportunities, and higher pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average bachelor’s degree holder earns nearly $24,000 more in annual salary than professionals with only a high school diploma. By attending an in-state school, you benefit from low tuition rates and extensive networking opportunities. This guide details degree options, career opportunities, and financial aid resources, including a list of scholarships and grants.
Higher Learning Initiatives in Nebraska
University of Nebraska Online Worldwide
Four of the University of Nebraska campuses joined together to create the Online Worldwide program. This program offers more than 120 degree options to undergraduate and graduate students worldwide. All of the Online Worldwide classes are taught by University of Nebraska professors, and online students earn their degrees from the University of Nebraska, regardless of their location. Several certificate programs are also available through the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide program, which allows working students to learn the skills they need to stay competitive on the job.
Bellevue University’s Online Degree Programs
The U.S. News & World Report ranks Bellevue University number one in the nation for engaging online students. Additionally, Bellevue University outranks most online schools in Nebraska in terms of quality of education. Bellevue is a private, nonprofit university that provides flexible degrees to adult and nontraditional students. The university offers 35 online bachelor’s programs and 17 online master’s programs. Recent high school graduates can take a combination of online and in-person classes at Bellevue and graduate in three years.
Network, Education, and Technology Team
The Network, Education, and Technology Team was created by the Nebraska Department of Education. The team’s goal is to equip Nebraska elementary, middle, and high schools with the latest technology to aid in student learning. It also trains K-12 teachers to use technology more effectively in classrooms. This team is an invaluable resource to Nebraska schools as they strive to stay competitive in the midst of technological progress.
Popular Degree Programs in Nebraska
Agriculture drives industry and employment opportunities in Nebraska. The Office of the United States Trade Representative reports that the Cornhusker State is the fifth-largest exporter of agricultural products in the country. Nebraska’s state government cites 10 additional target industries for their high productivity, including biosciences, advanced manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, information technology (IT), and health services. The two majors below represent popular options for students who want lucrative careers in Nebraska.
- Agricultural Economics: Also known as agribusiness, this major trains students in farm management, marketing, sustainable resource usage, climate change, and agricultural finance and trade. Additionally, students learn how to make organizational decisions with respect to the risks and uncertainties of agricultural production. As a multidisciplinary major, agricultural economics prepares degree candidates for work with environmental groups, government agencies, and private companies.
- Nursing: Due to changes in healthcare coverage and government regulations, coupled with the urgent health needs of an aging baby boomer population, nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. The nursing major teaches students to identify and assess health conditions, including diseases and mental health issues. Nurses work with physicians and other health professionals to implement treatment plans.
Paying for College in Nebraska
In addition to the tuition rates shown in the table below, College Board reports that the average college student pays more than $11,000 for room and board when attending a public four-year institution. Distance students save money on housing by living off campus and enjoy access to scholarships and grants. All U.S. citizens can access government funds through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Nebraska students pay lower tuition prices when attending public two-year and four-year institutions than the average U.S. learner. These affordable rates reflect the state’s ongoing commitment to accessible higher education. Nebraska’s government offers financial support to low-income students and coordinates statewide general education courses through a transfer initiative.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in Nebraska
According to the BLS, Nebraska’s unemployment rate is 2.8%, the fifth-lowest rate in the nation. Nebraska professionals earn approximately $5,000 less than the U.S. average. In Nebraska, health practitioners, like dentists, surgeons, and nurse anesthetists, enjoy the highest potential pay. Managers employed in the finance and IT industries also benefit from high salaries.
Occupational projections facilitated by NEworks show significant growth for careers in the social services and engineering fields, at 14.8% and 13.7%, respectively. Healthcare support occupations, such as nursing assistants, home health aides, and medical transcriptionists, boast the highest cumulative growth, at 17.3%. Online colleges in Nebraska prepare students for these rapidly expanding careers through flexible course scheduling and accelerated degree pathways.
Accreditation for Colleges in Nebraska
Colleges and universities must earn and maintain national or regional accreditation to confer valid certificates and degrees. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee national accreditation. The ED and CHEA sponsor regional accreditation through seven partner organizations. Nebraska colleges and universities can obtain regional accredited through the Higher Learning Commission .
In addition to national and regional accreditation, online colleges in Nebraska can obtain accreditation through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission . Schools may also gain industry-specific accreditation for their academic programs. For example, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business oversee business degrees. The Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing supports BSN and MSN programs.
By sustaining accreditation, higher education institutions demonstrate that they meet education standards established by government agencies and professional organizations. Without the official support of the ED, schools cannot access government funds, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Students who attend accredited online colleges in Nebraska know that the knowledge and skills they cultivate match what employers look for in skilled candidates. Accredited credentials also enable graduates to sit for professional licensure and certification exams and pursue additional education.
Scholarships for Nebraska Online College Students
In addition to seeking affordable tuition prices and government assistance, students can receive help paying for their degrees with private scholarships and grants. Local businesses, community organizations, and professional associations offer ample funding opportunities based on need, merit, and identity markers. This section lists 10 awards for students attending online colleges in Nebraska.
- Access College Early (ACE) Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: The award is open to Nebraska high school students attending a participating college or university through dual or early enrollment programs. Candidates must benefit from one of the state’s need-based government initiatives, like the Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program or the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program.
Amount: Full tuition and mandatory fees
- Horatio Alger Association State Scholarships
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports high school students who overcame adversity with perseverance and integrity. Applicants must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. They must also intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a public or private institution in the United States.
- Lincoln Community Foundation Student Scholarships
Who Can Apply: LCF offers more than 80 scholarships to students in Lancaster County and across Nebraska. Candidates submit applications through an online system and must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate leadership qualities and community engagement.
- Verna 'Gwen' Lary Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Omaha Community Foundation delivers 25 scholarship opportunities, including this award supporting Montgomery County high school graduates. Candidates must pursue an education degree and submit an application detailing academic achievements, paid work experience, and special circumstances.
- OTCF Agribusiness Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This award is available to students residing in Nebraska’s panhandle counties who plan on pursuing undergraduate degrees in the agricultural sciences. Candidates must score at least a 21 on the ACT.
- Norma Ross Walter Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Facilitated by the Willa Cather Foundation, this scholarship supports female high school students from Nebraska. Candidates must plan on pursuing an English degree at an accredited college or university in the United States.
- Nebraska Broadcasters Association Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This award is open to four-year college juniors and seniors majoring in communications, broadcasting, media studies, or a related field. Candidates must be Nebraska residents or enrolled at a postsecondary school in the state.
- Davis-Chambers Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This award supports students from underserved ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds who want to pursue degrees at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Applicants must be Nebraska residents who graduated from a high school in the state.
- Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: These scholarships support first-time college students attending one of Nebraska’s public higher education institutions. Candidates must be Nebraska residents who graduated from a Nebraska high school. They also need a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Amount: Up to $4,250
- Get Educated Online College Scholarships
Who Can Apply: This award is open to students attending accredited online colleges in Nebraska with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates submit an online application, academic transcripts, their most recent FAFSA, and an essay explaining what an online college degree means to them.
Resources for Students in Nebraska
- EducationQuest Foundation: EducationQuest promotes higher education accessibility through research initiatives and online training for teachers and school administrators. The foundation provides free college and career planning services for students as early as eighth grade. Learners benefit from need-based scholarships and grants. EducationQuest also offers services for active military personnel, veterans, and returning students.
- Midwestern Higher Education Compact: MHEC fosters research and academic collaboration between its 12 member states. The organization bolsters higher education’s capacity through innovative strategies, like concurrent enrollment, and tools, such as open educational resources. MHEC also operates the Midwest Student Exchange Program, a multi-state tuition reciprocity system that enables out-of-state students to access discounted prices when attending participating colleges and universities.
- Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education: First created in 1976, CCPE oversees the higher education system in Nebraska. The commission provides financial support, including the Nebraska Opportunity Grant and the Community College Gap Assistance Program. Students can search for schools, explore careers, and learn about direct transfer pathways. CCPE also operates a searchable online job database.
- Nebraska Community College Association: NCCA connects Nebraska’s community colleges online and on campus to deliver efficient and affordable hands-on training for all learners. The association aggregates all available degree options, so learners can easily search for the programs they are interested in based on institution, location, and timeframe.
- TheDream.US: As the largest college access and success program for undocumented individuals, TheDream.US provides general guides and legal services for students, parents, and educators. DREAMers and their proponents can find community support, volunteer positions, and advocacy opportunities. The program also facilitates generous national and opportunity scholarships.
Online Schools in Nebraska
- Graduation Rate: 31%
- Average Net Price: $13,992
- Graduation Rate: 75%
- Average Net Price: $23,996
Chadron State College
- Graduation Rate: 42%
- Average Net Price: $11,217
- Graduation Rate: 41%
- Average Net Price: $14,133
Peru State College
- Graduation Rate: 35%
- Average Net Price: $14,254
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Graduation Rate: 65%
- Average Net Price: $15,499
University of Nebraska at Omaha
- Graduation Rate: 46%
- Average Net Price: $12,622
- Graduation Rate: 26%
- Average Net Price: $17,428