Nebraska Student Loans

GradPLUS Loan CosignerAccording to Nebraska.gov, the state is home to more than 50 institutions of higher learning, including colleges, universities, and technical schools. That means you could get the degree you want without moving far away from your home. There are also a number of Nebraska-specific grants, scholarships, and loans that could help you to pay for school.

Nebraska Grants and Scholarships

In 2009, about 44% of Nebraska residents had a college degree, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education. That organization suggests that about 60-66% of Nebraska residents will have a degree by 2020. That’s a huge jump, and it might come about due to grants and scholarships made just for students in Nebraska.Tuition costs continue to rise all around the country, while the amount that states pay for education continues to drop. That means more and more students are asked to pick up a larger part of cost of a college education. Some can easily pay that cost, of course, but others find it difficult to pay those education bills. Meanwhile, states are under pressure from the federal government to increase the number of college graduates that live within their borders.States like Nebraska are responding by providing more and more scholarships and grants to students in need. As a resident, you could cash in on these programs.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau provides a number of scholarships to students who live within the state, including:

  • The Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award, which provides a valuable work opportunity in the legislature
  • County Farm Bureau Mini-Grants for Education, worth $500 each
  • The Greater Horizon Scholarship, worth $1,000
  • The Kenneth E. Schwartz Memorial Farm Bureau Fund, worth $1,000

The vast majority of these scholarships and grants are made for students who want to embark in jobs that have to do with farming, agriculture, or both. That makes sense, as many jobs in Nebraska are in these fields. By boosting education and training, the Bureau is creating a more valuable workforce for the state.

But not all students who go to school in Nebraska want to work in farming. Thankfully, there are many scholarships that are made just for students who want to work in other fields. The Nebraska Broadcasters Association Foundation offers two such scholarships, and each is worth $1,500. Students who apply for this scholarship are hoping to break into broadcasting-related fields, like radio or television, and they’re either planning to go to school in Nebraska or they’ve graduated from a Nebraska high school.

Nebraska students hoping to enroll in engineering programs might benefit from the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers (NeSPE) scholarship program. The NeSPE provides two sets of scholarships: one for high schools students and one for college students. Students must be NeSPE members to apply, which suggests that they must be studying engineering, and the scholarships can make paying for school just a touch easier.

What about students who just aren’t sure what they’d like to study? If you’re not quite set on your ideal career, you still have plenty of opportunities to get grants and scholarships in Nebraska.

The Nebraska chapter of DECA provides scholarship opportunities to member students. The organization provides as many scholarships as it can, and students who are members are encouraged to apply, so they can get the funds they need. No specific majors are required, so this could be a good opportunity if you’re just not sure about what the right career might be for you.

Similarly, the Nebraska State College System has many scholarship programs. Most don’t come with a major requirement, so you’re not asked to study in a specific field in order to get help with school funding. The scholarships you’re eligible for can vary depending on the school you’re hoping to attend. Reading the fine print can help you determine which program is right for you.

Finally, the Great Plains Association for College Admission Counseling offers a $1,000 scholarship for a high school senior graduating from a school located in Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma. The competition can be a little fierce for this particular scholarship, since so many high school students might be eligible for this program, but the funds could be very helpful for students who need a little assistance with tuition.

The Nebraska Opportunity Grant is the largest grant program available for students who live in Nebraska. Students from low-income backgrounds who want to go to school can use these grants for assistance with tuition, and in some cases, the help they’ll get will cover the entire cost of their college education. Many students have used this program in the past to pay for school.

Unfortunately, the Opportunity Grant is falling on hard times, according to Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education. In 2011-2012, the organization says, close to 44,000 students who qualified for grants didn’t get them simply because there wasn’t enough money. These students qualified for help, but even so, there was no help available.

Legislators are, no doubt, working on this problem and trying to find ways to make sure that the grant program has the proper funding to help students in need. In the interim, students who plan to use this grant to pay for school should make sure to get applications in early, and those applications should be complete. If the program runs out of money on a regular basis, students will want to be first in line so they won’t be neglected or forgotten.

Nebraska-Specific Loans and Repayment Program

Scholarships and grants are an ideal way to pay for school, because students who enroll in these programs get forms of money that they never have to pay back. They can use the money as they see fit, helping to pay for school without worry about debt. Many scholarships and grants, however, just aren’t large enough to cover your entire tuition bill. Sure, you’ll get help if you have a scholarship, but you will likely be responsible for at least some of the overall cost of your college education. A Nebraska student loan may help.

If you’re interested in using a loan to pay for school, you have plenty of federal options to choose from. To get these loans, you’ll begin with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). With this form, you’ll provide information about your financial health and your ability to pay for school. You’ll also provide information about the school you’re choosing to attend, so federal regulators can see how much you’ll be asked to pay. Then, you’ll get a letter in the mail that details the loans you’re eligible for.

Should you choose to accept a federal loan, you’ll go through a loan training class, typically at the school you’re planning to attend. Then, you’ll sign official documents and start using your loan money to pay for school.

Once your education is complete, you’ll need to pay back the loans you took out. If you studied in certain fields and you work in Nebraska, you could get help with the repayment process.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has two programs for students that studied health-care-related topics in school. These students agree to work in parts of Nebraska that are underserved by the medical community, and in return, the program administrators pay back the loans students received. In some cases, students must apply for program-specific loans first, and then they’ll see those loans repaid. But in other cases, students can get help with their government loans through this program.

These repayment programs could make your debts much easier to pay, but you’ll need to look over the requirements carefully and make sure you’re filling out all the paperwork properly. Making mistakes could cost you the money you’re looking for.

 
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