Financial Aid and Student Loans in Nebraska

If you’ll be attending college in the Cornhusker State, great news – the average cost of on-campus attendance in Nebraska is lower than in many states. As of the 2017-18 school year, the average cost was $26,156 per year. Still, about 55% of Nebraskans graduate with student loans.

You, like many college students, are probably wondering if you can find scholarships or grants to offset the financial burden of getting your degree. 

We understand that applying for scholarships and grants can feel overwhelming. There is so much to research and so many deadlines to track. Meanwhile, you also need to stay on top of your studies and college applications (which have separate deadlines).

That’s why we’ve provided this overview of some of the potential opportunities for Nebraska residents. There are far too many scholarships to list here in full, but you can search in more detail at resources like,, and

What scholarship programs does Nebraska have?

The main difference between scholarships and grants is that scholarships are usually awarded on merit, while grants are awarded based on financial need.

Competition for high-quality scholarships is usually fierce, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to apply for them if your grades aren’t stellar. Some scholarships offer multiple awards, meaning that the odds are higher in your favor.

It doesn’t cost money to apply for scholarships, so don’t be afraid to apply for as many of them as possible.

Susan T. Buffett Foundation Scholarships

The Susan T. Buffett Foundation has been helping students achieve their dreams for over 50 years. The foundation awards scholarships to Nebraska residents that demonstrate financial need. The scholarships can pay up to $5,750 per semester, depending on the college and field of study.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of Nebraska
  • Graduate from a Nebraska high school or obtain a Nebraska GED
  • Have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Be a first-time freshman when enrolling
  • Plan to attend a Nebraska public four-year or community college
  • Have an expected family contribution of under $10,000

The selection committee reviews applications based on financial need, academic merit, the quality of the personal essay, and the strength of the recommendations.

Applicants must submit their applications by the 1st of February. The foundation will notify successful applicants before May 1.

Aksarben/Horatio Alger State Scholarships

The Aksarben Foundation offers several scholarships each year. These include the Career Promise Scholarship and the Ag Leaders Scholarship. They also offer the Aksarben/Horatio Alger State Scholarship, which is awarded every year to a student from western Iowa or Nebraska that has overcome great personal adversity and who needs assistance to earn a college degree.

The scholarship pays $10,000 per year for up to five years for study at a college or university within Nebraska.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time high school senior, progressing normally towards a 2020 graduation with plans to enter a college the next fall
  • Demonstrate critical financial need (gross family income of $55,000 or lower)
  • Be involved in co-curricular and community service activities
  • Maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity

Applications open on the 1st of August and close on the 25th of October.

Davis-Chambers Student Scholarship

The Davis-Chambers Scholarship provides funds to academically promising students who may otherwise not be able to attend college. The scholarship is available through a number of Nebraska public colleges, including the multiple campuses for the University of Nebraska, students transferring into a full-time program in the Nebraska State College System at Chadron, Peru or Wayne, and freshman or sophomore students at Northeast Community College who are planning to attend a four-year degree program.

The scholarship ranges, providing between $500-$4,000 per year with the possibility to renew. The funds can be used to pay for tuition, room and board, or fees.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • Have graduated from an accredited Nebraska high school
  • Be academically promising from a diverse background
  • Be a Nebraska state resident

Applications for the Davis-Chambers Student Scholarship close February 1.

Norma Ross Walter Scholarship

The Willa Cather Foundation sponsors the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship. The scholarship funds female graduates that want to pursue an English major in Nebraska.

There are three awards given out by the scholarship. First place receives $2,500, second place receives $1,750, and third place earns $1,250. The scholarship is a once-off award and is not renewable.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be female
  • Be a graduate of a Nebraska high school
  • Plan to continue their education at an accredited U.S. university
  • Declare a major in English or literature

Applications for this scholarship close annually at the end of January.

What grant programs does Nebraska have?

Many states, including Nebraska, set aside money to fund college students in the form of grants. Unlike scholarships, they aren’t typically based on academic merit or athletic ability and are awarded based on financial need.

Nebraska offers several different grants and accessibility programs for low-income families. Unfortunately, due to funding limitations, the number of grants offered by the state has decreased significantly.

Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG)

Formerly known as the Nebraska State Grant, this grant helps fund students who meet certain eligibility criteria for a minimum effective family contribution. The grant is funded by the state lottery. The grant gets distributed through post-secondary institutions, so prospective students must apply through their school. 

The NOG is intended for the neediest students, recipients of the federal Pell Grant who still have a funding gap. The NOG awards an average of $1,410 to each student, though it differs based on individual circumstances. Unfortunately, the grant was unable to award money to every applicant last year, due to the overwhelming demand and lack of adequate funds.

Access College Early Scholarship Program

The ACE scholarship program pays for tuition and mandatory fees for low-income high school students to participate in college courses. Most students enroll under dual-enrollment or early enrollment agreements with the participating college of their choice.

Applicants need to meet the following criteria to qualify for the program:

  • The student must have experienced extreme hardship that affects family income
  • The student or their family must be on one of the federal need-based government programs, including SNAP, WIC, TANF, and others

Application and deadline dates vary depending on the term of enrollment.

What student loan programs does Nebraska have?

Nebraska does not have any separate state-run student loan programs. Instead, students in Nebraska have access to federal loans and to private loans.

Federal student loans in Nebraska

Prospective Nebraska students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Private co-signed student loans in Nebraska

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in Nebraska

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What schools does Funding U lend to in Nebraska?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Bellevue UniversityNoNoNoNo074
Bryan College of Health SciencesNoNoYesYes6990
Chadron State CollegeNoNoNoNo4366
Clarkson CollegeNoNoYesYes5377
College of Saint MaryNoNoYesYes6084
Concordia University-NebraskaNoNoYesYes6375
Creighton UniversityNoYesYesYes8189
Doane University-Arts & SciencesNoNoYesYes6578
Grace UniversityNoNoNoNo4151
Hastings CollegeNoNoYesYes5368
Midland UniversityNoNoNoNo4462
Nebraska Christian College of Hope International UniversityNoNoNoNo3981
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied HealthNoNoYesYes6377
Nebraska Wesleyan UniversityNoNoYesYes6375
Peru State CollegeNoNoNoNo3557
Union College (Nebraska)NoNoYesYes5080
University of Nebraska at KearneyNoNoYesYes5879
University of Nebraska at OmahaNoNoNoNo4876
University of Nebraska-LincolnNoNoYesYes6983
Wayne State CollegeNoNoNoNo4369
York CollegeNoNoYesYes5160

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Nebraska that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate. 

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