Why go to College in Nebraska?
Nebraska is a great place to attend college due to its wide range of schools that offer programs for students with just about any budget or schedule. There are several online colleges in Nebraska that allow students to earn a degree and pursue their long-term career goals while also working full-time. Below are a some highlights of why Nebraska is an ideal state for college students.
There are about 1,900,000 people living in Nebraska, and the state’s population continues to rise at a healthy pace. In fact, the state is estimated to grow 4.4% between 2010 and 2016. The vast majority of the state’s population live in urban areas like Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, and Grand Island.
Nebraska has a humid continental climate, with hot, muggy summers and cold, dry winters. While the eastern part of the state receives a fair amount of rain, the western side is much drier and tends to get much less precipitation throughout the year.
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
There are 31 postsecondary institutions in Nebraska. These include seven public and 12 private four-year schools, along with eight community colleges. The University of Nebraska is the largest institution of higher learning in the state and serves more than 25,000 students each year.
- Sporting Events
The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team is by far the most popular in the state. Creighton University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha also compete in Division I athletics in the NCAA. Since Nebraska has no major professional sports teams, college athletics are much more popular than they are in other states.
The state’s urban centers of Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island are all known for their eclectic and lively nightlife, with numerous bars, restaurants, breweries, and tap rooms. Omaha is also a hub for live music and is home to nine popular breweries.
What Options are Available for Colleges in Nebraska?
There are a wide range of schools and program options in Nebraska that provide a traditional on-campus learning environment for students, including both two- and four-year programs. On-campus students live on or near their school’s campus and attend classes in person. This allows students to interact with professors and their fellow students in a face-to-face environment and to become involved in student life activities and events. On-campus programs are ideal for students who prefer a more structured schedule and want to experience the conventional college experience. In Nebraska, most public colleges are located in close proximity to large urban centers like Kearney, Lincoln, and Omaha. There are also several private institutions, such as Clarkson College, the College of St. Mary, and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
There are many online schools in Nebraska that allow students to receive a high-quality education while attending classes and completing assignments on their own schedules. Most of these programs deliver courses asynchronously online, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. This is ideal for those who have children, work full-time, or have other obligations to balance with their studies. Online students interact with professors and classmates through a learning management system, communicating through email, instant messages, discussion boards. Many programs also use video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, JoinMe, or Skype to access course content.
Hybrid programs include some combination of distance learning and on-campus study. This can be an ideal situation for those who want to interact with instructors and other students face-to-face but also need the flexibility that comes with online learning. The in-person components associated with hybrid classes typically take place on weekends, which is useful for those who work or have other obligations during the week. In Nebraska, you can find a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs that are offered in a hybrid format.
Popular Degree Programs in Nebraska
As a largely rural state, it should be no surprise that Nebraska has a dominant agricultural sector. Its urban centers have also become increasingly well known for their strengths in the areas of business, finance, and insurance. As a result, many students tend to pursue majors related to these fields so that they can easily find a job after graduation.Below are a few examples of some of the most popular college majors in the state.
This field is a branch of applied economics that looks at the agriculture industry using both micro- and macro-economic principles. These programs examine topics such as food crises, environmental issues, global trade, and price fluctuations.
Business Management and Administration
This major prepares students for a wide range of careers in the business world, including those related to small business, finance, management, marketing, and human resources. Students can also specialize their studies with a concentration in a particular type of business.
What are the Best Online Colleges in Nebraska?
Below, you will find a ranking of the top online colleges in Nebraska. In developing these rankings, we used a formula that calculates the best value in terms of program quality, tuition affordability, technology costs, and a wide range of other factors. All schools included in this section are regionally or nationally accredited and offer programs either fully online or in a hybrid format.
Admissions Rate 34%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 73%
Online Enrollment 31%
Nebraska Methodist College’s undergraduate and graduate programs are designed for working healthcare and nursing professionals. Online programs include RN to BSN, RN to MSN, educator; nurse educator, certificate; RN to MSN, informatics; and nursing informatics, certificate. Coursework is delivered asynchronously through MyMethodist. Classes last five weeks, and students take one at a time. Some courses include group work, which requires students to communicate online with peers.
Undergraduate applicants should submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Students applying to a graduate program should submit undergraduate transcripts with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and proof of licensure. GRE scores are generally not required. Tuition varies by program, but in-state and out-of-state residents pay the same amount. The college is located in Omaha. Online students are eligible for financial aid.
Creighton UniversityOmaha, NE
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 79%
Online Enrollment 20%
Creighton ranks as one of the best online colleges in Nebraska for its wide offering of over two dozen graduate degrees and certificates. Notable master’s programs include business intelligence and analytics, conflict resolution, healthcare ethics, medical anthropology, and ministry. Students can pursue doctorate degrees in business administration, nursing (DNP), and pharmacy. Graduate certificate programs include Catholic school leadership, organizational leadership, and lifestyle medicine, and students may also pursue an online undergraduate degree in healthy lifestyle management or leadership.
Applications for graduate programs typically require the completion of a bachelor’s degree, transcripts, pre-graduate examination scores, personal statements, writing samples, resumes, and letters of recommendation. Tuition is the same for all online students, regardless of state residency. The university is located in Omaha.
Clarkson CollegeOmaha, NE
Admissions Rate 52%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 71%
Online Enrollment 53%
Clarkson College is dedicated to training health services leaders. About 90% of Clarkson’s student body enrolls in at least one online class every semester. A number of undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are available online, most of which do not have on-campus requirements. Undergraduate programs include healthcare services and medical imaging. Master of science selections feature healthcare administration and nursing, which offer concentrations in adult–gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, and nursing education.
Application requirements vary by program. The college has dedicated admissions advisors for every department that are available to help with applications. Clarkson is among online schools in Nebraska that offer in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition.
Concordia University-NebraskaSeward, NE
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 59%
Online Enrollment 32%
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers undergraduate and graduate options as well as a selection of minors, certificates, and endorsements. Undergraduate degrees include business administration, early childhood and family advocacy, and social work. Graduate programs include history, business administration, and student affairs, as well as several art education and curriculum and instruction degrees.
Undergraduate applicants should rank in the top 50% of their class or receive a composite ACT score of 20 or an SAT score of 950. Students who do not meet these criteria may still be admitted. Graduate applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts and may need to meet additional requirements that are defined by the program they are applying to. Transfer students are accepted from many colleges, and the school has a database of accepted schools. Nebraska residents receive a moderate tuition discount.
University of Nebraska at KearneyKearney, NE
Admissions Rate 85%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 56%
Online Enrollment 24%
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was founded in 1869 and has offered distance programs for over 100 years. The school ranks among the best online schools in Nebraska. Students may pursue two undergraduate degrees: applied science and early childhood education in a mobile society. Minors are available in animal science, business (for nonbusiness majors), and leadership. The university also offers an online undergraduate certificate in meat culinology. The school offers over two dozen graduate programs, including agronomy, interior design, merchandising, and youth development. Graduate certificates include community college leadership, food safety and defense, and quilt studies. There are also two education doctorate programs: higher education and P-12 learning.
Applications requirements include transcripts, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. A number of programs make admissions decisions on a rolling basis. Nebraska residents pay a discounted tuition.
University of Nebraska-LincolnLincoln, NE
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 5%
University of Nebraska at Omaha online students take classes asynchronously and are paired with dedicated advisers that guide them through undergraduate and graduate certificate, endorsement, and degree programs. UNO is among the online colleges in Nebraska to offer distance learners access to the library and other on-campus resources.
Undergraduate degrees include library science, management information systems, and sociology. Students may also pursue certificates and endorsements in data management, gerontology, and school library. Master's programs include critical and creative thinking, political science, and writing. Graduate certificates include American government, information assurance, and public management. Admission requirements vary by program, but all include transcripts and details of academic achievement. Nebraska residents pay a discounted tuition.
University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha, NE
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 9%
Chadron State College, located in the city of Chadron, offers bachelor’s degree completion programs, master’s programs, general studies courses, and alternative teacher certification curricula. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same flat rate tuition. Chadron State is among online colleges in Nebraska to offer degree completion programs in applied sciences, business administration, mathematics, organizational management, and psychology.
Students applying to a degree completion program should have completed at least 12 college credits after graduating from high school or earning their GED. Master’s degree candidates should have earned an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA requirement that varies by program. Applications requirements include official transcripts. Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer.
Chadron State CollegeChadron, NE
|Default Rate 10%||Retention Rate 65%||Graduation Rate 42%||Online Enrollment 45%||
Wayne State College is known among online schools in Nebraska for its 30-credit, fully online MBA program, which only requires students to submit an online application and official transcripts. No pre-graduate examinations are required. MBA students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Up to 15 credits are accepted towards the MBA, which include six credits of electives.
Wayne offers fully online and hybrid bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Undergraduate programs include business management, criminal justice, and human resource management. The school offers eight fully online master's degree, including education, human resource management, information technology management, and school administration. Admission into these programs is similar to the MBA. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
Wayne State CollegeWayne, NE
|Default Rate 8%||Retention Rate 72%||Graduation Rate 49%||Online Enrollment 10%||
York College was founded in 1890. Known among online schools in Nebraska for its commitment to Christian faith, York infuses its three online undergraduate programs and two graduate programs with empirical research informed by spiritual values. Online offerings include a BS in criminal justice, a BS in psychology, a BA in business administration, an MA in education, and an MA in organizational and global leadership.
Tuition is the same for all online students, regardless of state residency. Prospective graduate students only need to fill out the online application and submit their undergraduate transcripts. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Students can begin their program at one of six yearly start dates.
York CollegeYork, NE
Admissions Rate 44%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 42%
Online Enrollment 5%
Bellevue University, founded in 1966, is a private, nonprofit university. The school offers online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Undergraduate programs include accounting, business analytics, child protection and juvenile justice, and communication studies. Master's programs include public administration, project management, and clinical counseling. Bellevue's one online doctoral program is in human capital management. All students must complete the school's Kirkpatrick Series of classes, which focus on various institutions and and traditions of Western Civilization. Kirkpatrick courses include American vision and values, tradition and change, and freedom and responsibility.
Online students are expected to communicate with peers through forums. Student resources include video tutorials, online tutoring, and continuous tech support. Learners can take programs in a traditional or cohort format.
What are the Best Online Community Colleges in Nebraska?
Community colleges are the perfect stepping stone between high schools and universities. They are typically called commuter schools, which means that students do not have the option of living on-campus. These schools are ideal for adult learners who want to work full-time while earning their degree. Community colleges typically offer only associate degrees and certificates. However, it is common for students to enroll in community college for one or two years and then transfer their credit into a bachelor’s program at a four-year institution. Below, you will find some of the best online colleges in the state of Nebraska.
Northeast Community CollegeNorfolk, NE
|Default Rate 14%||Retention Rate 75%||Graduation Rate 48%||Online Enrollment 16%||
Based in Norfolk, Northeast Community College serves students in 20 Nebraska counties. Northeast is the result of a merger between Northeastern Nebraska College and Northeast Nebraska Technical College, making it one of the most unique online community colleges in Nebraska.
Northeast is the only community college in the state with one-year and two-year vocational, adult education, and liberal arts programs. Students can take many general education and program courses online, and the college offers 19 fully online programs. To provide as many online programs as possible, Northeast maintains partnerships with nearby community colleges. Through these partnerships, online students can study early childhood education, culinary arts, and library information services.
Central Community CollegeGrand Island, NE
|Default Rate 15%||Retention Rate 69%||Graduation Rate 32%||Online Enrollment 22%||
Central Community College has more than 30 years of experience in distance education and offers flexible, accessible online programs. A pioneer among online community colleges in Nebraska, CCC has offered online courses for more than 15 years. The college constantly expands its online offerings; distance learners can enroll in more than 260 courses and can complete 22 programs.
CCC boasts some of the most unique online programs in the state. For example, online students earning an associate of applied science in quality technology gain technical and engineering skills needed to excel in the quality control field. CCC operates three campuses and three learning centers across central Nebraska.
Southeast Community College AreaLincoln, NE
|Default Rate 13%||Retention Rate 60%||Graduation Rate 27%||Online Enrollment 18%||
Southeast Community College serves more than 10,000 students at campuses in Lincoln, Milford, and Beatrice and online. Founded in 1941, SCC offers 300 online courses each semester and many fully online programs. Online courses are not self-paced, and they follow the same schedule as on-campus courses.
SCC offers specialized online programs unique among online community colleges in Nebraska, including surgical technology and respiratory care, which both require supervised clinicals. In an effort to make college attainable for everyone, SCC offers the Learn to Dream Scholarship, which covers tuition for up to 45 credit hours. The college offers four start dates per year.
Mid-Plains Community CollegeNorth Platte, NE
|Default Rate 17%||Retention Rate 60%||Graduation Rate 35%||Online Enrollment 17%||
Founded in 1973, Mid-Plains Community College serves approximately 16,000 students at six campus locations and online. The school offers five online associate degrees, and online learners access coursework through Blackboard.
MPCC recognizes the importance of in-person interaction for distance learners; the school pairs online students with personal education advisers and ensures that online courses include opportunities to interact with instructors and classmates. This emphasis on personal interaction sets MPCC apart from other online community colleges in Nebraska.
Mid-Plains Community College offers a free, one-step admissions process and maintains partnerships with three of the state's top four-year institutions.
Metropolitan Community College AreaOmaha, NE
|Default Rate 18%||Retention Rate 45%||Graduation Rate 13%||Online Enrollment 19%||
Established in 1971, Metropolitan Community College is one of the fastest-growing online community colleges in Nebraska. The school currently enrolls nearly 50,000 students in more than 100 academic programs, many of which are available online. MCC provides individualized education and maintains an average class size of 14 students. The small class sizes provide distance learners opportunities to receive personal attention from faculty.
The college offers dozens of online associate programs in nine fields, including computer technology, information technology, and health information management. MCC offers a straightforward scholarship application process; prospective students can browse scholarships and submit applications through the MCC Foundation's online platform.
How We Ranked the Schools
To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.
Education Trends in Nebraska
Despite allocating a slightly lower percentage of tax revenue towards higher education than the national average, Nebraska actually spends much more per student on higher education than many other states. The state also has a higher than average proportion of adults with an associate or bachelor’s degree, although it lags behind the national average for citizens with a graduate degree.
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$8,202||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||5.5%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||9.9%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||19.6%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||9.1%||11.2%|
Paying for College in Nebraska
When searching through prospective online colleges in Nebraska, one of the main factors that you should consider is cost. First, you should check a school’s tuition rate; this cost can vary greatly from school to school and is typically the most expensive part of attending college. However, you’ll also want to factor in other necessary expenses like room and board, child care costs, textbooks, transportation, and more.
Nearly all online schools in Nebraska, whether they are two- or four-year institutions, offer tuition rates that are below the national average. Remember that these numbers reflect only the cost of tuition and do not include other expenses like books, technology, transportation, and cost of living.
All students use some type of financial aid to help them finance their college education. The first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see which types of financial aid you are eligible to receive from the federal government. There are many different types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and student loans. Scholarships and grants are the most attractive form of financial aid because they do not need to be paid back. Work-study programs allow students to work while earning their degree (typically through an on-campus job) to help finance their degree. Subsidized student loans offered through the federal government are the preferred option for many students because they boast payment deferral options and much lower interest rates than unsubsidized loans from banks.
Cost for Online Programs in Nebraska
In most cases, online schools offer tuition rates that are similar to on-campus programs. However, by enrolling in classes online students can save a considerable amount on expenses like books, transportation, and child care. Online colleges in Nebraska also offer comparable financial aid benefits to help you fund your education. When searching for online schools, be sure to consider all of the expenses of online education. Tuition is the largest and most important, but you will also have to pay for housing and food, technology related to online study, and any other fees or additional costs.
Cost of Living by Region
Aside from tuition, cost of living is the most important factor to consider when searching for colleges in Nebraska. Rent costs are highest in the large urban areas of the state than they are in rural areas. Below, you’ll find information on how two of Nebraska’s largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln, compare to other markets of comparable size throughout the Midwest.
Scholarships for Nebraska College Students
- Norma Ross Walter Scholarship
up to $2,500; must be a female graduate of a Nebraska high school and plan to enroll as an English major in an accredited college or university.
- Jennings B. & Beulah G. Haggerty Scholarship
$2,000; must be a senior or graduate of a Nebraska high school and ranked in top one-third of class.
- Margaret & Max Pumphrey Scholarship
$2,000; must be a graduate of a high school in Lancaster County, Nebraska, and be enrolled in a two- or four-year school in the state.
- Duncan and Lillian McGregor Scholarships
$1,500; must be a senior or graduate at Gibbon, Shelton, Sargent, Ord, Ashley, and Arcadia high schools in Nebraska.
- Florence Turner Karlin Scholarship
$1,500; must be a junior, senior, or graduate of a Nebraska high school, and have minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered.
- Ralph & Jean Cuca Scholarship
$1,250; available to high school seniors attending school in Lincoln, Nebraska, who demonstrate financial need.
- Come 2 Iowa (C2IA) Senior Scholarship
$1,000; must be a high school senior, a permanent resident of Nebraska, and plan to attend college in Iowa.
- Chief Industries Scholarship
$1,000; must be in pursuit of a four-year degree in a select area of agriculture.
- Lawrence Frazier Memorial Scholarship
$700; must be a graduate of a Nebraska high school and enrolled in a two- or four-year postsecondary institution in the state.
- George and Lynna Gene Cook Scholarship
$600; must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and graduated from a Nebraska high school.
- AQHA Christopher Lawrence Junker Nebraska Scholarship
$500; must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be a member of AQHA or AQHYA for at least one year.
- Nebraska High School Senior Animal Interest Scholarship
$500; must be a graduating high school senior who plans on entering the companion animal field.
- AOTF Nebraska Scholarship
$250; must be enrolled in an accredited occupational therapy education program in Nebraska.
- Lincoln Legal Professionals Association Scholarship
Award varies; must be interested in furthering education in the legal field and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered.
- Urban League of Nebraska Multicultural Association Scholarship
Award varies; must be resident of Nebraska, have at least 10 hours of community involvement, and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 throughout their studies to be considered.
Employment Outlook in Nebraska
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. The state’s largest industries for employment are trade, transportation, utilities, government, and education and health services. Although the state’s mean annual wage is below the national average, the cost of living in Nebraska is significantly lower than in other states. Therefore, the cost of living is not as bad as it might appear at first glance.
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||2.8%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$44,170||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in Nebraska
Top Industries in Nebraska
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities This sector includes wholesale trade, retail trade, warehousing, logistics, shipping, and utilities. The industry has seen 0.6% growth over the past 12 months.
- Government Local, state, and government positions make up the second-largest Nebraska employment sector. This group includes the military and all government entities aside from schools and hospitals.
- Education and Health Services This sector includes most professionals in the education field, including teachers, professors, and school administrators. It also includes healthcare professionals and administrators across the state.
Top Employers in Nebraska
- Offutt Air Force Base: 9,584 employees
- Nebraska Medicine: 9,000 employees
- Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services: 5,800 employees
Accreditation for Colleges in Nebraska
When searching for the best online colleges in Nebraska, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accredited schools must meet strict standards for quality and demonstrate that they offer a high quality educational experience to their students. There are two main types of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation is considered more prestigious than national accreditation and is typically pursued by nonprofit public universities. On the other hand, national accreditation is commonly earned by for-profit colleges and trade or vocational schools. You should look for online schools in Nebraska with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Resources for Students in Nebraska
- EducationQuest Foundation: This nonprofit organization works to improve access to higher education for Nebraska students. It offers free outreach and college planning services, college access grants, and need-based scholarship opportunities.
- Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education: The CCPE helps low-income Nebraska residents attend college through financial aid and other support programs. It also provides specialized aid to students who wish to enter high-need fields.
- Nebraska Education Savings Trust: NEST is a state-sponsored program that allows individuals to save for a college education for themselves or their children. The program offers tax and other benefits for enrolling.
- Nebraska First Gen: The University of Nebraska in Lincoln offers a program that helps first-generation college students find success in higher education. The program features more than 300 faculty and staff who volunteer to support these students at the school.
- State National Guard Tuition Assistance: Those enlisted in the Nebraska National Guard have access to assistance with GI Bill benefits, financial aid, and other forms of support.