University of Nebraska officials call it a celebration. They also want to use it as an awareness campaign as they kick off the first-ever Collegebound Nebraska Week.
University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken hosted a news conference at the Van Brunt Visitors Center, attending by Gov. Dave Heineman and University of Nebraska-Lincoln sophomore Sandy Ngo, who participates in the program.
Collegebound Nebraska guarantees that any Nebraska undergraduate who qualifies for a federal Pell Grant and meets admission requirements can attend one of the four campuses and pay no tuition.
“Now, a lot of people tell me that they think this promise, this commitment of Collegebound Nebraska is too good to be true; that you will pay zero tuition if you’re eligible for a Pell Grant at any level and you’re a Nebraska resident attending the University of Nebraska,” Milliken stated. “But it’s true.”
Collegebound Nebraska covers up to 30 credit hours of tuition a year. To qualify, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application by April 1st. The student must maintain a 2.5 GPA to remain eligible.
The program grew by 7% last year and now has 6,655 students participating.
Gov. Heineman stated the Collegebound Nebraska program will help achieve his goal of seeing more Nebraska high school students go on to college.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to have a job with a company doing business in Nebraska,” Heineman said at the news conference. “And, in today’s economy, a college degree is more important than ever before to achieve a good-paying job.”
Ngo said her family, which emigrated from Vietnam two decades ago, wouldn’t have been able to send her to UNL without the Collegebound Nebraska program.
“I’m so grateful for a program like Collegebound Nebraska. Without it, my family and I would be facing a really difficult financial burden,” Ngo told reporters. “I know there are a lot of students out there who face similar challenges as me. So, it’s great that Collegebound Nebraska makes it so that cost doesn’t dictate which college we choose.”
The university said it hopes to get more students in the program at any of the university’s four campuses: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The University of Nebraska-Kearney, The University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
AUDIO: University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken hosts Collegebound Nebraska news conference. [12 min.]