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NU raising income threshold, expanding free tuition through Nebraska Promise program | Education

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NU raising income threshold, expanding free tuition through Nebraska Promise program | Education

The University of Nebraska is raising the income threshold for a program allowing Nebraska students to attend tuition-free beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Launched in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, the Nebraska Promise guaranteed free tuition for Nebraska undergraduate income students from families with a household of less than $60,000 — the median household income in the state.

On Monday, NU President Ted Carter announced the income threshold would be raised to $65,000, which will expand the program to an estimated additional 175 students.

More than 7,000 students have qualified for the free tuition program at the university’s campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney since it was created.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, that includes a total of 2,969 students, the university said, while 2,831 students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha have accessed the program.

A total of 1,029 students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, 153 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and 63 at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture have also qualified for Nebraska Promise.

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“Over the past two years, the chancellors and I have heard so many stories of students whose dreams of a college education have been made possible because of the Nebraska Promise,” Carter said in a statement.

“We know times are still uncertain and that every dollar matters to students and families,” he added. “We’ve decided to extend the Nebraska Promise to more Nebraska families because access to higher education is more important now than ever.”

University of Nebraska will freeze tuition for two years

To be eligible for Nebraska Promise, students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at any NU campus must take at least 12 credit hours and earn a 2.5 grade-point average.

Students must also complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) each year before the priority deadline in order to remain eligible.

The tuition-free program covers up to 30 credit hours per academic year, and does not apply to costs beyond tuition such as fees, books, or room and board.

Students who receive scholarships and grants from either NU or other sources can apply those dollars to those costs, however.

Carter said the expansion of the Nebraska Promise is among the steps the university is taking to improve access and affordability.

Tuition rates remain frozen at NU for the 2022-23 school year, after regents approved keeping costs steady last year.

The creation of NU’s program in 2020 led other area colleges to establish similar free tuition programs for students from qualifying households.

Nebraska Wesleyan University launched the Access NWU Scholarship, while Union College created the Bridge to Union Scholarship.

Union College to offer full-tuition scholarships to students from median-income households

NWU to offer full-tuition scholarships for Pell-eligible students

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS

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