Nebraska Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

In 2013, more than 207,000 students were enrolled in Nebraska's 52 colleges, universities, and career schools at the certificate, undergraduate and graduate levels. Nebraska ranks 37th in the nation for number of colleges and 37th for student volume -- one of every 142 college students in the United States chooses the Cornhusker State for higher education. Nebraska schools are known for traditional academic programs as well as career-oriented offerings such as cosmetology, real estate, and massage therapy. Postsecondary education in Nebraska is available through the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska State college system, community and tribal colleges, independent colleges and universities, and private career schools:

College Type Number in Nebraska
Public 16
Private for-profit 15
Private not-for-profit (religious affiliation) 14
Private not-for-profit (no religious affiliation) 5

Top Cities in Nebraska for Postsecondary Education

Nebraska colleges can be found across the state, with the greatest concentration of schools and students in major cities like Lincoln and Omaha, close to the border of Iowa. Take a look at the landscape of colleges in Nebraska:

Most Popular Cities for College Students (Total)

  • Omaha (60,200)
  • Lincoln (45,500)
  • Grand Island (13,100)
  • Bellevue (9,200)
  • Scottsbluff (8,500)

Cities with the Most Colleges (Total)

  • Omaha (18)
  • Lincoln (12)
  • Scottsbluff (3)
  • Fremont (2)

Focus on Omaha: The College Landscape

Students in Omaha can take advantage of undergraduate and graduate opportunities at institutions such as Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Also located in Omaha is Grace University, a private Christian school that encompasses Grace College of the Bible, Grace College of Graduate Studies and Grace College of Continuing Education.

Omaha's public postsecondary institutions focus on recruiting diverse groups of students, including personnel at Offutt Air Force Base. UNO proudly reports that almost one-third of its students are the first in their families to attend college. At the community college level, MCC provides easy access to education through multiple campuses, including one in Elkhorn near West Omaha. MCC also serves the community through five off-campus centers and opportunities at several local high schools. The college's broad outreach efforts include the Gateway to College program, a high school diploma completion initiative targeting at-risk students. Part of a nationwide network, the Gateway to College program at MCC is the first in Nebraska.

Online Learning Options in Omaha

While the University of Nebraska system boasts numerous online and hybrid offerings, students at the Omaha campus have additional opportunities. The UNO Division of Continuing Studies' Bachelor of General Studies program offers personalized learning in 50 areas of study. U.S. News & World Report ranks this degree among the nation's 20 top online bachelor's programs for 2014. UNO students also find flexible options for online graduate degrees and certificates, for example, a master's in social gerontology.

Thanks to MCC, Omaha students have access to a variety of online courses and degree programs at the two-year college level. More than 40 web-based options include Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as career certificates and certificates of achievement. MCC students can select among online degree programs aimed at professional paths, for example, database administration or medical office management. Other online offerings focus on preparing students for the transition to four-year institutions, with transfer degrees in business, computer technology, general studies and liberal arts.

Online Colleges and Universities in Nebraska

In the early days of online education, private for-profit institutions took center stage nationwide. Today, however, a growing number of traditional colleges in Nebraska have added online learning to their education offerings, expanding access to those who can't make it to a brick-and-mortar classroom. In 2013, 17 four-year colleges in the state offered online courses or programs. In fact, the University of Nebraska (NU) prides itself as a leader in online education. Online Worldwide is an NU system-wide initiative that offers students more than 100 online and hybrid degree and certificate programs, all of which are of the same high quality as the university's traditional on-campus programs. To see how these schools stack up, and for more information on tuition, fees, enrollment and their online courses and programs, check out the list below.

Colleges in Nebraska: Tuition, Fees and Cost of Living

For students planning their college education, financial issues often top the list of concerns. The biggest expense comes in the form of tuition, which varies according to school, location and resident status. Thankfully, tuition at Nebraska colleges is lower than in many other states. In 2012, college tuition for Nebraska residents averaged $11,392 per year, placing Nebraska 24th in the nation for in-state tuition affordability.

But education expenses don't end with tuition. Many colleges and universities also charge activity fees, health fees, parking fees or technology fees. Nebraska college fees averaged ~$1,300 per student in 2012, bringing the total tuition and fees to $12,700 for the year for Nebraska students.

Tuition and fees are the primary financial consideration for college students, but living expenses such as room and board can also make a major dent in the budget. In Nebraska, however, the cost of living is approximately 10 percent lower than the national average, which can make a world of difference for cash-strapped college students. Take a closer look at the cost of living (COL) for Nebraska's major metropolitan areas compared to the national average (100%):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Omaha -11.7% -20.7% -8.0% -10.1%< 0.0% -3.2% -10.3%
Hastings -6.6% -10.9% 3.7% -6.0% -12.4% -14.2% -4.4%

When comparing the financial costs and benefits of colleges, future students often focus on tuition. Yet considering that college is an investment, it’s perhaps more important to think about the potential return on that investment (ROI). The list below includes the colleges in Nebraska with the highest ROI in the state, with ROI being the result of an average graduate’s lifetime earnings minus total cost of attendance:

  • Creighton University
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Clarkson College
  • University of Nebraska - Omaha
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University

Scholarships and Federal Financial Aid

The price of a college education can be daunting, but students in Nebraska who take advantage of a variety of national, state and school-based financial aid can offset the costs considerably. The first step for all students is to fill out the FAFSA, which is required for eligibility for federal financial aid. In Nebraska, 62 percent of undergraduate students were awarded federal aid in 2012, placing the state 37th in the nation.

Scholarships serve as another important source of financial assistance, awarding students money for college that does not need to be repaid. Students in Nebraska can apply for scholarships from their individual colleges and universities, as well as from private companies, nonprofit organizations and the state itself. Some of the major entities offering scholarships to Nebraska students include:

  • AQHF Nebraska
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange
  • Korean American Scholarship Foundation – Midwest Regional Chapter
  • MGMA Midwest Section
  • Nebraska Elks Association
  • Oxbow Animal Health
  • Urban League of Nebraska, Inc.
  • Willa Cather Foundation

College Accreditation

If you want to be eligible for any form of financial aid, the Nebraska college you're considering must be accredited. Accreditation means that a school or program has met a specific set of quality and educational standards, and is, therefore, eligible to receive federal funding. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (http://www.ncahlc.org/) is the regional accrediting organization for Nebraska colleges and universities. Colleges and universities can have multiple accreditations. For example, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, while many of its programs also maintain specialized accreditation by specialized accrediting agencies--the university's forensic science program is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission, while its clinical psychology and counseling psychology programs maintain accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Conclusion

Current and aspiring college students in Nebraska must weigh their options when planning for higher education. School choice, campus vs. online learning, and financial aid opportunities are all key factors in the college decision. Browse the Nebraska college profiles below to learn more about each school, including their online education offerings.

Read More

Nebraska is an excellent place to find some of the best online degree programs in the country. These distance-learning opportunities boast fully online four-year degrees from accredited colleges. Though classified as “distance” learning, unparalleled access to respected professors and an array of curriculum choices means that there is no distance between you and the benefits that on-campus students enjoy. Similar tuition assistance and admission requirements are also mirrored in the online schools of Nebraska. To ease your search, we’ve created a list of the very best online degree programs in Nebraska, ranked from lowest tuition to highest. Enjoy the multitude of choices among Nebraska online colleges.

Click here to see our methodology.
1
Chadron State College
Tuition and fees: $5,280 Enrollment: 2,879 Accredited: YES Website: Chadron State College

Students seeking an online college in Nebraska can look to Chadron State College for individual courses and degrees available through e-learning. Degrees can be found in areas such as business, criminal justice, education, math, organizational management, and more. Most classes at the college, accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, are available in eight-week terms.

2
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Tuition and fees: $6,432 Enrollment: 6,074 Accredited: YES Website: University of Nebraska at Kearney

The University of Nebraska at Kearny offers both individual courses as well as degrees through distance learning. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue degrees in business administration, criminal justice, sociology and more via this online college in Nebraska. Graduate degrees are also available online in areas that include art education, biology, special education and many others.

3
Peru State College
Tuition and fees: $6,552 Enrollment: 2,786 Accredited: YES Website: Peru State College

Peru State College is one of many online colleges in Nebraska offering online bachelor's and master's degrees to students interested in distance learning. Bachelor's degrees are available in areas such as business administration, criminal justice, and psychology while online graduate programs include master's of science degrees in education, and organizational management. Online learning is administered to students through the Blackboard virtual platform

4
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tuition and fees: $6,960 Enrollment: 20,624 Accredited: YES Website: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln provides numerous online undergraduate and graduate courses for students seeking flexibility in their learning. As an online college in Nebraska, the university offers minors, certificates and bachelor's degrees in undergraduate education. The school's offerings for online graduate education are extensive and include master's of arts, master's of science, and doctoral degrees.

5
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Tuition and fees: $6,960 Enrollment: 14,158 Accredited: YES Website: University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha provides an online bachelor's degree in general studies to students preferring the flexibility that comes with distance learning. This online college in Nebraska degree offering allows students to pursue one of many different concentrations, such as nonprofit administration, political science, and sociology. The university also provides numerous graduate level degrees and certificates to students interested in online learning.

6
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Tuition and fees: $7,392 Enrollment: 1,156 Accredited: YES Website: University of Nebraska Medical Center

The University of Nebraska Medical Center offers online graduate education through its College of Public Health. Students can find e-learning programs such as a Master's of Science in Emergency Preparedness, and a Master's of Public Health in Biostatistics offered through this online college in Nebraska. Students can also pursue online professional certificates in emergency preparedness and pubic health.

7
Wayne State College
Tuition and fees: $8,352 Enrollment: 3,243 Accredited: YES Website: Wayne State College

Wayne State College provides professional development opportunities for educators seeking self-paced and computer-based learning. For students who want to attend an online college in Nebraska, the school does provide solutions through training. These opportunities are available in areas that include advanced classroom management, early childhood education, infant and toddler mental health, working with high achievers, and many others.

8
Bellevue University
Tuition and fees: $8,880 Enrollment: 9,208 Accredited: YES Website: Bellevue University

Bellevue University provides students with an extensive number of degree opportunities, primarily at the undergraduate level, to pursue online learning. Bachelor's degrees offered through distance learning fall into subjects such as criminal justice, information technology, non-profit management, nursing, and many others. Students can also find graduate level degrees and courses available through distance learning at this online college in Nebraska.

9
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
Tuition and fees: $12,510 Enrollment: 850 Accredited: YES Website: Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health provides online certificates, bachelor's and master's programs in the health professions and nursing. Courses through this online college in Nebraska are available in five-week sessions that provide one week off afterward to refresh and recoup. Among the college's online offerings are an RN-to-MSN degree and a MSN degree for nurse educators.

10
Clarkson College
Tuition and fees: $12,562 Enrollment: 912 Accredited: YES Website: Clarkson College

Clarkson College offers online learning to students who want to advance their learning and knowledge using distance education. One program available to students at this online college in Nebraska is a Master's of Science in Nursing degree, which U.S. News & World Report ranked among the best online graduate degrees in nursing for 2013. A number of individuals courses are also available at the school with up to 90 percent of students enrolling in at least one online course each semester.

11
York College
Tuition and fees: $15,600 Enrollment: Accredited: YES Website: York College

Located an hour west of Lincoln, Nebraska, York College is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the churches of Christ. It awards financial aid to more than 90% of first-time students. York offers an online GED, Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Education in Curriculum Instruction programs.

12
Grace University
Tuition and fees: $17,366 Enrollment: 443 Accredited: YES Website: Grace University

Grace University is one of the online colleges in Nebraska providing courses and non-degree programs to students interested in distance learning. Undergraduate and graduate courses run 15 weeks, the length of a fall or spring semester. Enrollments are limited to enable rich instructor-student interaction and to develop a sense of community.

13
Concordia University, Nebraska
Tuition and fees: $23,800 Enrollment: 1,641 Accredited: YES Website: Concordia University, Nebraska

Concordia University at Seward offers online programs to career professionals who want to work while advancing their education. As an online college in Nebraska, the university offers distance-learning choices that include an RN-to-BSN degree, a Master's of Human Services and a Master's of Public Health. Many other online master's degrees are also available to students seeking graduate-level education.

14
College of Saint Mary
Tuition and fees: $25,214 Enrollment: 948 Accredited: YES Website: College of Saint Mary

The College of Saint Mary empowers ethical leaders with training through its online graduate-level degree programs. Students can complete master's of arts degrees in areas such as health and human services administration, organizational leadership, and special education. This online college in Nebraska also offers a Master's of Science in Project Management through e-learning.

15
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Tuition and fees: $25,918 Enrollment: 3,288 Accredited: YES Website: Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan University, a liberal arts institution, offers hybrid and online courses to students who want to learn through a flexible schedule. Although there are many available online colleges in Nebraska, advisors at this school work with students to develop a personalized education plan. Additional distance-learning options are also available through the university, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

16
Midland University
Tuition and fees: $25,994 Enrollment: 1,108 Accredited: YES Website: Midland University

Registered nurses wanting to obtain a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing can look to Midland University for an online program. Students will take e-coursework in areas that include ethics in healthcare, multicultural nursing care, and research and evidence-based practice. Classes at this online college in Nebraska start every eight weeks, giving students the flexibility and convenience they may seek in their learning.

17
Creighton University
Tuition and fees: $33,330 Enrollment: 4,694 Accredited: YES Website: Creighton University

Creighton University offers a variety of online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to students who want to pursue distance learning. Offerings through this online college in Nebraska include a Bachelor's of Science in Integrated Leadership Studies, as well as a Master's of Arts in Medical Anthropology and a Master's of Public Health. Several other online options are available to students seeking education at the graduate-degree level.