Over the past few decades, the presence of online higher education has grown significantly. Prospective distance learners can now choose from multiple institutions that offer thousands of programs and concentrations areas. While program diversity offers perks, many students struggle to identify which programs meet their educational and professional goals. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Nebraskan students can choose from 42 higher education institutions, including 14 two-year programs, 15 public schools, 18 nonprofit schools, and nine for-profit schools.
To assist Nebraskan students with their search, this guide provides general data regarding the state of higher education and online higher education in Nebraska. This guide also includes information regarding tuition breaks for out-of-state students, the best online colleges in Nebraska, the most affordable state programs, job outlook for graduates, and tuition assistance options.
But before we dive into our list of the best online colleges in Nebraska for 2018, let's start with the state of higher education and online education in Nebraska today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Nebraska
According to the NCES, Nebraskan students can choose from 42 higher education institutions. During the 2015-2016 academic school year, 19,841,014 students took classes at degree-granting postsecondary institutions across the U.S. Out of this population, 136,102 students were enrolled at accredited Nebraskan colleges and universities, which includes students attending on campus or online.
- 15 public
- 18 non-profit
- 10 for-profit
While schools in Nebraska often provide affordable education compared to other states, students should understand how residency impacts tuition rates. According to CollegeBoard, average tuition for residents hovers around $8,510 per year at four-year universities and $3,180 at two-year institutions. The presence of online colleges in Nebraska often attracts out-of-state students, who pay tuition that ranges from just under $10,000 to more than $20,000 per year. Even at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the state’s flagship school, residents can attend for $9,154 per year, while out-of-state students pay $24,949.
Students who wish to receive financial assistance and plan to attend an online school in Nebraska should also examine Nebraska’s need and non-need-based grant allowance to gauge assistance availability. According to the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, Nebraska provided undergraduate students $16,833,918 in need-based grants during the 2015-2016 school year. Additionally, the state allocated $6,451,459 toward special-purpose programs, which include early college access, vocational rehabilitation, military benefits, and Rural Health Opportunities Program.
The State of Online Higher Education in Nebraska
As the best online colleges in Nebraska continue to improve and offer additional specialized program options, more students complete their education from a distance. According to the 2015 Online Learning Survey data, 25% of graduates and 69% of undergraduate students complete at least one distance course, representing 40.4% of all students.
Many distance learners do not take any on-campus courses. In fact, 15,753 undergraduate and 10,728 graduate students in Nebraska choose to complete all coursework online. Of this population, 61.3% live in Nebraska. Furthermore, nearly 110,000 students take a mixture of on-campus and online courses throughout their program.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Since 1994, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact has worked to provide out-of-state students access to affordable programs through modified tuition rates across multiple states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. As the largest multi-state reciprocity initiative, the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) agrees to charge out-of-state students no more than 150% of in-state tuition rates at public institutions, while private schools offer a 10% tuition reduction. While savings vary by institution, students save $500-$5,000 on average.
To apply, students should contact their preferred accredited online colleges in Nebraska and request a copy of the application. Deadline dates and application requirements vary by school. While some schools only require students to apply once, other programs ask students to apply at the beginning of each school year. Additionally, MSEP rules for online schools in Nebraska differ from on-campus programs. Students should contact the school’s MSEP representative to verify availability. To qualify in Nebraska, students must live in another state and enroll as an MSEP campus student. Students should also note that online schools in Nebraska hold discretionary rights to limit admission.
Best Online Colleges in Nebraska
See below for our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Nebraska. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Nebraska, explore our state resources, such as a database of every college and university in Nebraska or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Clarkson College||Omaha||$$$$$||101 S 42nd St|
Omaha, NE 68131-2739
Originally established as a nursing school in 1888, Clarkson College has since added an array of programs to its curriculum, while maintaining a focus on health disciplines. The school aims to graduate students capable of providing high-quality healthcare. Its core values include a commitment to lifelong learning, integrity, and respect for one another.
Located in Omaha, Clarkson graduates 69% of its undergraduate and 67% of its graduate students. The school’s online programs permit flexibility, with nearly 90% of students enrolling in one or more online classes each semester. Academic programs include health information management, education and leadership, community health, and nursing. Online students enjoy access to Clarkson’s library, which includes peer tutoring. Clarkson offers career services to all students, online and on campus. These services include a list of job openings, resume writing assistance, and interview preparation.
Clarkson maintains articulation agreements with several community colleges, including Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa, Central Community College in Nebraska, and Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. The school expects transfer students to complete all of their coursework at Clarkson once they enroll, including elective classes. Tuition is universal for all students at Clarkson, including an additional technology fee per credit hour. The school also offers scholarships based on merit and need. Eligibility requires at least half-time enrollment, with scholarships including support for Army ROTC and minority nursing students.
|2||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||Lincoln||$$$$$||14th and R St|
Lincoln, NE 68588
Considered among the top online colleges in Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of the country’s preeminent institutions for distance learning. The school offers instruction for both on-campus and online learners from the same faculty, helping ensure a uniform learning experience. The school’s online studies allow undergraduate students to complete a degree in applied science and early childhood education. Graduate students can earn a master’s degree in disciplines including business administration, finance, journalism, and community development. Doctoral programs include educational leadership and higher education.
Select online programs require a short, on-campus residency lasting from a few days to two weeks. Students enrolled in the university’s hybrid distance education for master’s programs in textiles, merchandising, and fashion design must spend a spring semester – or nine credits – on campus to interact with faculty and peers to explore specific topics. The university additionally offers an array of graduate certificates in areas such as food safety and defense, mixed methods research, and business analytics.
Online students still have access to the school’s orientation modules, academic advising, and career counseling. Moreover, they can enjoy use of the university’s library resources, and technical support for assistance with online learning technology issues.
High school students from across the country can enroll in Nebraska Now. This program allows high school students to acquire college credits prior to graduation, and then transfer them to a school of their choosing.
Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln traces its beginnings to 1869. Today, its student population exceeds 25,000 learners, representing all 50 states and over 130 countries.
|3||Creighton University||Omaha||$$$$$||2500 California Plaza|
Omaha, NE 68178
Creighton University allows students to customize their online education to personalize their academic experience. It offers over 30 programs through which students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. These include studies in health lifestyle management, educational leadership, and nursing. Bachelor’s degrees require about 128 credits, master’s degrees require 30-46 credits, and doctoral degrees require 54-143 credits. In some instances, graduate programs require spending time on campus to complement online learning. Both undergraduate and graduate programs may also require an internship or fieldwork experience for practical application of coursework.
More than 2,000 students enroll in the university’s online and hybrid programs. While admission guidelines for Creighton’s online studies vary by program, all applicants must submit transcripts of previously attended schools. Additionally, applicants should be prepared to submit recommendations, a resume, and a personal statement that outlines their academic and professional aspirations. Some programs also require entrance exam scores and proof of English language proficiency for international learners. For servicemembers and veterans, Creighton participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which offers additional financial support for Post-9/11 GI Bill™ students. In many instances, the Yellow Ribbon Program completely pays full tuition and fees.
Founded in 1887, the Omaha-based Catholic university is one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the U.S. Its service learning, research, and study abroad options are designed to complement coursework and develop the student’s mind, body, and soul. The school enrolls approximately 9,000 students and maintains a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Students can participate in a range of Creighton’s cultural organizations and find out more about what extracurricular activities the school offers through its Student Leadership & Involvement Center.
|4||Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||Omaha||$$$$$||720 N. 87th Street|
Omaha, NE 68114
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health offers full-time nursing and healthcare professionals the opportunity to advance their education. Located in Omaha and affiliated with one of the largest healthcare systems in the state, the college delivers high-quality online instruction through the expertise of faculty extensively experienced in the healthcare industry.
NMC offers online master’s degrees in business administration in nursing, healthcare, and wellness and health promotion management. Additionally, the school offers an online doctoral degree in education and leadership in healthcare. Students may enroll in both asynchronous and synchronous classes, depending on the format of the chosen courses. Interaction with faculty and classmates occurs through email, blogs, chat rooms, and social media. Students may also participate in group assignments, which allows additional opportunities to network with peers. In addition to programs, NMC offers continuing education classes online through its professional development and community partnerships division. Founded in 2013, this department offers courses that address topics such as grief and chronic disease management.
NMC’s online courses typically require 10-30 hours each week. This varies depending on the program and courses you select. Prospective first-time online learners should be encouraged by the school’s education technology department, which offers assistance when online learners experience technology challenges.
First-time freshmen must submit a high school transcript, written statement, and career awareness questionnaire. You may apply to enter NMC as a transfer student if you previously completed college credits. In most instances, NMC requires transfer credits to have been completed within the past five years. The college also maintains articulation agreements with several institutions that make the transfer process more seamless. These include Hastings College, Bellevue University, and Chadron State College. Tuition is dependent on the program you select, but regardless of residency, all students pay the same cost per credit hour within the program.
|5||Concordia University - Nebraska||Seward||$$$$$||800 N Columbia Ave|
Seward, NE 68434-1556
Concordia University - Nebraska roots its academic traditions in a Christ-centered community that prepares students to give back to the world. Concordia was founded in Seward by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in 1894. Today, Concordia offers 27 online programs with a variety of disciplines. Graduate students may pursue a master’s degree in accounting, early childhood education, project management, and more. Additionally, the school offers endorsements for students specializing in reading, special education, and English as a second language.
All students can access Concordia’s career services office, which connects them to job opportunities and internships. In addition to job placement, career services helps with resume writing and interview preparation. Concordia’s library provides all students access to digital and physical materials, including books and periodicals. Moreover, the university’s academic resource center offers support in strengthening time management and test-taking skills.
To apply for admission to one of Concordia’s online programs, students must complete an application, provide an official transcript from all previously attended schools, and submit a resume and letter of intent. The letter is an essay designed to outline a student’s reasons for interest in their selected program, goals, and experience related to their academic and professional goals. Admissions officers assess the content and clarity of this essay when determining which applicants to accept.
|6||University of Nebraska at Omaha||Omaha||$$$$$||6001 Dodge St|
Omaha, NE 68182-0225
The University of Nebraska Omaha opened its doors in 1908 and continues to play a pivotal role in the community through education, business, arts, and community partnerships. The city’s first and only municipal university, UNO joined the Nebraska university system in 1968, which allowed it to further expand its reach and impact. Today, more than 15,000 learners comprise its student body, and 80% of them gain practical experience through internships and jobs during their studies.
UNO offers a myriad of online programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as graduate certificates and endorsement programs. Bachelor’s programs include library science, sociology, emergency management, and religious studies. Alternatively, students may pursue a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies, a flexible program for military, adult, and transfer students. Those enrolled can concentrate in fields such as geography, information technology, and cybersecurity. Graduate programs include public administration, writing, special education, and social gerontology.
UNO delivers its online courses asynchronously. The same faculty who teach on campus instruct online classes, and online learners also have access to the same resources and support services as those on-campus. Resources include the library, which serves the university community with its robust collections; reference assistance; and events. In addition, the UNO Service Learning Academy partners with nonprofit organizations to help faculty develop service learning classes. The goal of these classes is to ensure students’ learning extends beyond the classroom, as they give back to their community.
The university admits undergraduate, graduate, and transfer students. While eligibility requirements vary according to program, all students must complete an application, submit transcripts from schools previously attended, and provide any necessary entrance exam scores.
|7||Bellevue University||Bellevue||$$$$$||1000 Galvin Rd S|
Bellevue, NE 68005-3098
Established in 1966, Bellevue seeks to prepare learners for their chosen career while providing competitive tuition rates. Bellevue's real mastery approach provides students opportunities to apply their lessons to real-world situations.
The university offers more than 75 bachelor’s and graduate programs online. Bachelor’s programs include behavioral science, graphic design, and health science. Students seeking a master’s degree can enroll in programs such as business analytics, project management, and human services. The university’s doctoral program offers a degree in human capital management. Students can complete their degree at their own pace, and enjoy interaction with faculty and peers in classes capped at a size of 24 students.
Bellevue’s service desk, which offers extended hours of operation every day of the week, provides technical support to all online learners. In addition, the school’s online library services go beyond access to books and periodicals by hosting online tutorials, and providing research tools and services. Bellevue also makes interactive resources like online tutoring and writing assistance available.
Bellevue requires applicants to submit proof of high school graduation. Students must also submit a transcript from any schools previously attended. Transfer students must complete at least 30 hours in-residency at the university to satisfy the school’s minimum residency degree requirements. This includes 12 hours in upper-division courses in major areas.
|8||University of Nebraska at Kearney||Kearney||$$$$$||905 W 25th St|
Kearney, NE 68849-1212
The University of Nebraska Kearney prides itself on delivering excellence in online education. UNK offers the same quality instruction online and on campus thanks to expert faculty who instruct both types of students. Enrolling in one of UNK’s many online undergraduate or graduate programs through its eCampus allows you to interact with your faculty and classmates through emails and discussion forums from anywhere.
Students can earn a bachelor’s degree at UNK in online programs including early childhood and family advocacy, business administration, and history. Graduate programs include master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction, biology, and higher education student affairs. In addition, the university now offers Montessori coursework online to prepare students to teach using Montessori methods.
Online courses at UNK typically require 9-12 hours per week. Basic computer literacy is needed to enroll, and students possess an understanding of their computer and its functions. Some classes allow examinations online, while others require you a proctored site such as a local college testing center. The school’s flexibility permits online students to attend class anywhere and anytime, while still receiving necessary personal attention from faculty.
Both in-state and out-of-state students enjoy a competitive tuition that makes college studies affordable. UNK offers scholarships for freshman, graduate, and transfer students based on merit and residency. In addition, the NU/UNK study abroad scholarship helps learners afford to study outside of the U.S. Eligibility requirements include a demonstrated financial need, satisfactory GPA, and compelling application. This opportunity provides multiple $500 scholarships in the fall, spring, and summer.
|9||Chadron State College||Chadron||$$$$$||1000 Main St|
Chadron, NE 69337-2690
Established in 1911, Chadron State College shares its name with the rural, agricultural city it calls home. With 19 students for every faculty member, you can enjoy an average class size of just 14. In addition, more than 80% of full-time faculty possess a terminal degree in their field.
CSC Online delivers courses in an eight-week format so that you can complete your degree at an accelerated pace. Fully online bachelor’s degrees include business and mathematics. Degrees in education, family and consumer sciences, and geoscience include some in-person requirements. You can earn a master’s degree in business administration, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration fully online, with fields such as school counseling and clinical mental health counseling partially online. Students must complete studies within seven years following their enrollment.
All online learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency. First-time college students must complete an application, provide a high school transcript, and submit either SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students should provide transcripts from all colleges previously attended. If transfer students have completed fewer than 60 hours of college coursework, high school transcripts are also required. CSC can waive the high school transcript requirement for those who hold an associate degree or completed at least six college credits before July 2012.
The Higher Learning Commission accredits CSC. The school’s student body represents nearly every state, with more than half of those enrolled residing in Nebraska. According to CSC’s recent admissions data, learners range in age, from 15 to 71. Three in four undergraduates study full-time, and 41% of these students are first-generation college learners. In addition, most freshman ranked in the top half of their high school graduating class, while 31% placed in its top 25%.
|10||Wayne State College||Wayne||$$$$$||1111 Main St|
Wayne, NE 68787
Wayne State College's standing among the best online colleges in Nebraska reflects its outstanding reputation and affordability for high-quality education. What began as a teachers’ college in 1891 has grown, and today, one in every 10 teachers in Nebraska holds at least one degree from the college.
The school offers an array of online programs for those pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. You can earn an undergraduate degree in business management, criminal justice, and human resource management completely online. Wayne State offers some master’s programs for degrees in education and information technology management fully online, and degrees in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling partially online. The in-person component for these degrees may require either an internship or fieldwork.
Considered a best value when it comes to tuition, Wayne State ensures competitive enrollment costs. This includes offering programs that can reduce expenses for students who reside out of state. In addition, the Nebraska Access Scholarship attracts top nonresident students if they enroll as full-time freshman, and graduate in the top half of their high school class with at least a 3.25 GPA. These scholarship recipients must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to retain this rate. Eligibility for this scholarship does not require a separate application.
Freshman seeking admission should submit an application, a high school transcript, and ACT scores for admission. Wayne State also participates in the Advanced Placement program and accepts credits for corresponding college classes. This can reduce both the length of your program and how much it costs to complete your degree. Transfer students should also submit transcripts from all colleges previously attended.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Nebraska
See below for all of the online schools in Nebraska, sorted by tuition rates.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Peru State College||Peru||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||Omaha||$$$$$|
|3||Chadron State College||Chadron||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Bellevue University||Bellevue||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||University of Nebraska at Kearney||Kearney||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||University of Nebraska at Omaha||Omaha||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||Lincoln||School profile||$$$$$|
|8||York College||York||School profile||$$$$$|
|9||Concordia University - Nebraska||Seward||School profile||$$$$$|
|10||Clarkson College||Omaha||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Nebraska
While many students think deeply about what degree best suits their career goals, learners should also consider general state job outlook data and specific data regarding their chosen industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Nebraska currently holds a 2.8% overall unemployment rate, while the nationwide unemployment rests at 3.7%. This suggests graduates stand a good chance for career opportunities within relevant industries. For instance, Nebraska offers many agricultural programs. As one of the top five ranked states for product disbursements, agriculture remains a key industry in Nebraska. However, other notable industries include healthcare, technology, education and training, manufacturing, production, and management. Nebraskan graduates may also want to consider the state’s regional layout to determine where job opportunities might arise more frequently.
On average, Nebraska employees earn $45,530 per year. Data provided by NEworks, Nebraska’s official government website, estimates that employment opportunities should increase by 100,493 by 2026.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Nebraska
Access College Early Scholarship Program
This scholarship supports low-income Nebraskan high school students enrolling in a Nebraskan university. Students must show proof of hardship. This program accepts enrollment year round.
Lucy Mora Barrientos Scholarship
This scholarship encourages Latin American and Hispanic American students to earn their degree. Students must have a 2.8 GPA or higher to qualify.
Dick & Chris Draper Scholarship
Applicants must have a minimum 3.25 GPA to apply. Students with a proven financial need receive preference.
Black Employee Network Scholarship Program
Applicants must identify as an African-American high school senior or a college student in their freshman or sophomore year. Students must have at least a 2.5 GPA.
Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation Scholarship
Nebraskan residents with a minimum 2.5 GPA may apply. Only first-time freshmen planning to attend a public college in Nebraska may apply.
TEACH Early Childhood Nebraska
Students planning to teach early childhood education in Nebraska may apply. Students must enroll in an accredited bachelor's or associate program in the state.
A.B. and M.R. Noel Endowed Scholarship
Graduates from Wood River Rural High School or students currently enrolled in specific nursing programs in Nebraska may apply. Student must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
High school graduates from Thayer County enrolling in two- or four-year universities in Nebraska may apply. Students may renew this scholarship.
Charles & Orene Hinds – Odell, Nebraska, High School Scholarships
Odell high school seniors or former graduates may apply. Qualified applicants must have a 2.75 GPA and submit a 500-word essay.
CPCU-Lawrence “Larry” Frazier Memorial Scholarship
Current or former Nebraska high school students may apply. Students must enroll in a Nebraska college or university. Students must submit a 500-word essay.
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