Online Colleges in Nebraska
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Nebraska enjoys a robust economy and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Like many other largely rural states, Nebraska is currently transitioning from an agriculture and manufacturing-based economy to one strong in service, technology, and healthcare jobs. The fastest-growing industry sectors need college-educated workers in areas like professional, technical, and scientific services; finance and insurance; education; healthcare; and social assistance. Employers across the state encounter difficulties hiring workers with the appropriate skills.
Nebraska boasts some of the nation's top universities, several of which offer affordable online campuses. Economic officials in Nebraska track industries offering the best wages and most job openings, updating these hot jobs on a weekly basis. Read on to learn more about the best online colleges in Nebraska.
Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Nebraska
The best-paying jobs in Nebraska tend to go to those with a degree. Nebraska estimates that by 2020, 70% of the state's jobs will require postsecondary education. Nebraska tracks the highest-paying, highest-demand jobs on a weekly basis. Of the top 10, seven require at least a bachelor's degree. The Cornhusker State is home to traditional industries like construction, truck driving, and vehicle mechanics, which offer respectable salaries to candidates who don't hold college degrees. However, two- and four-year degrees could open more career doors, especially when it comes to Nebraska's highest-paying jobs.
The annual mean wage in Nebraska sits 10% lower than the national average, but residents have stronger purchasing power, since Nebraska's cost of living is relatively low. According to a cost-of-living study conducted by USA Today, Nebraska places fifth in the nation for the value of the dollar.
A college education goes farther in Nebraska than in many other parts of the country. Because the state faces a skilled labor shortage, jobs abound for graduates of online colleges in Nebraska.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in Nebraska
Online colleges in Nebraska prove more affordable than those in most other places. Many universities make little distinction between their on-campus and digitally delivered degrees. The average four-year public university in Nebraska charges almost 15% less than the national average for in-state tuition. Two-year schools in the Cornhusker State are cheaper, too, but the difference is not quite so dramatic.
Students often save a considerable amount of money by attending online schools, which don't incur expenses for travel, parking, or room and board. Some online colleges in Nebraska charge distance learners less in tuition than on-campus students, as well, though online students may have to pay technology fees and other additional charges. A few accredited online colleges in Nebraska charge more for digital classes, due to their popularity.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Nebraska
Colleges traditionally charge out-of-state students more than state residents, since public universities are subsidized by state tax dollars. Tuition expenses vary greatly between Nebraska residents and nonresidents. On average, a public, four-year university costs 2.5 times more for nonresidents than for Nebraska residents. Nonresidents can save in other ways, however. Some online colleges in Nebraska extend in-state tuition to distance learners from other states. Nebraska also partakes in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which reduces tuition fees for students from the 10 participating states. These students receive tuition breaks at both public and private universities across the Midwest.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Nebraska
Financial aid proves necessary for many students at accredited online colleges in Nebraska. The first step usually involves filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which indicates whether applicants qualify for federal aid, and if so, how much. Colleges and universities also use the FAFSA to determine how much institutional aid applicants need.
Once you fill out the FAFSA, you should begin looking around for other sources. Nebraska's state government grants relatively limited aid, but you could also seek aid from scholarships and grants. Also consider options like loan forgiveness and tuition reimbursement programs. The state of Nebraska, for example, forgives the loans of educators who teach high-need subjects. A similar program exists for Nebraskans in an array of healthcare positions, including doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, and dentists. In the state's rural health loan repayment program, healthcare providers who agree to work in certain areas can get as much as $60,000 a year in loans written off.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Nebraska College Students
More than 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships are available to Nebraska students, according to the Education Quest Foundation. These include state-funded grants and scholarships from local communities, charities, and businesses. Many grant and scholarship sponsors base their decisions on criteria other than grades, such as community spirit and leadership potential.
Who Can Apply: These state-funded scholarships for Nebraskans go to high-need students. These funds can only be used at accredited Nebraska colleges.
Amount: $1,306, average in 2016-17
Who Can Apply: The state awards these need-based grants to Nebraskans taking not-for-credit community college courses in areas of high concern for the state.
Who Can Apply: The state's professional association for lawyers sponsors these grants for Nebraskans interested in studying to become legal support personnel. Applicants must hold a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Who Can Apply: Administered by the Willa Cather Foundation, these grants help young women pursue a love of literature at the collegiate level. Applicants must be female Nebraska high school seniors planning to enroll as English majors at accredited universities. Judges base their decision on academic ability, creativity, and character.
Amount: $2,500, $1,750, $1,250
Who Can Apply: The donor disperses these grants to Nebraskans who intend to major in English or history at an accredited university. Candidates must be high school seniors entering their first year of college.
Who Can Apply: The Urban League offers awards to Nebraska residents who hold a 2.5 GPA and at least 10 hours of documented community involvement. Recipients can use their funds to attend any in-state or out-of-state college or university.
Who Can Apply: These scholarships serve Nebraska residents attending a public university or community college in the state. Applicants must hold a GPA of at least 2.5, and demonstrate financial need.
Who Can Apply: Available to college-bound residents of Nebraska and western Iowa, recipients may use these scholarships at Nebraska universities. Aksarben aims to assist students who have overcome adversity to attend college.
Amount: $10,000, matched by several in-state institutions
Who Can Apply: Named after a noted writer and photographer who loved the Sandhills region, these scholarships help young writers and photographers attend school. Judges give preference to students from the Sandhills, but accept applications from candidates statewide.
Who Can Apply: Intended to provide opportunity to Nebraskans enrolling for the first time in a post-secondary program, recipients can use these scholarships at schools in the Nebraska State College System. Applicants must score from 21-24 on the ACT or 1060-1190 on the SAT.
Best Majors for Online Students in Nebraska
Nebraska's economic officials run a website listing the hot jobs in the state, which offer high wages, high demand, and high skill level . The site tracks the labor market on a weekly basis to aggregate a list of the state's fastest-growing, best-paying jobs.
Nebraska continues to see strong demand for traditional industries like trucking, construction, and automotive maintenance. Tech-based industries such as IT, healthcare, and marketing are also on the rise in places like Omaha and Lincoln. Graduates of online colleges in Nebraska who aim to enter the job market in the next few years might benefit from studying business, nursing, or computing.
Business AdministrationCompanies across Nebraska are looking for management-level executives to run corporations, departments, construction firms, and marketing efforts. Online business degrees provide students with the flexibility to move in a variety of directions, and many offer specialization options, as well.
NursingNebraska needs nurses, as does the rest of the nation. Nursing degrees from the top online colleges in Nebraska provide graduates with the skills to jump into the workforce in this in-demand area. Graduates might also move on to the nurse practitioner profession, one of the hottest and best-paying occupations in the country.
Computer ScienceTech is booming in Nebraska. Many companies say they have trouble finding employees to fill IT and programming positions, which generally require a computer science degree at the baccalaureate level. Computer science bachelor's students can tailor their degrees through a specialization, as well.
Resources for Online College Students in Nebraska
Nebraska.gov: The state's official website provides an array of resources for students looking into the best online colleges in Nebraska. These include a listing of the Cornhusker State's public universities, community colleges, private schools, and specialty institutions like beauty and massage schools. You can also find a wealth of data and facts about education resources.
EducationQuest: The EducationQuest Foundation aims to broaden access to higher education in Nebraska. The nonprofit organization provides free college-planning services, promotes adult education, connects students to grants and scholarships, and hosts college prep resources for students as young as middle school.
Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education: The commission promotes Nebraska's university system. Its site brims with information for students and parents, including news, financial aid details, and data and reports about the state's higher educational system. You can find links to grants and scholarships, look at school profiles, and learn about benefits available to veterans.
Nebraska Community College Association: The state's two-year college association offers everything you could want to know about Nebraska community colleges online. You can search for programs, learn about each school's offerings, and research transfer options at facilities across the state.
Nebraska Career Connections: A service of the Nebraska Department of Education, career connections serves as a bridge between college students and the workforce. It helps Nebraskans of all ages research potential careers in the state, and discover pathways to them. Hosted by Kuder, the site features resources for students, parents, adults, and educators.
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