NU expands free tuition program, moves FAFSA priority deadline

(Lincoln, NE) -- The University of Nebraska System expands their 'Nebraska Promise' program to even more low-income students.

On Monday, NU System President Ted Carter announced the program's expansion. The university launched the Nebraska Promise in 2020, which guarantees full-tuition coverage for full-time Nebraska undergraduates with family incomes of $60,000 or less. The Nebraska Promise expansion will take effect in fall 2022. Under the expanded program, full-time resident undergraduates whose families have an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less or who qualify for the federal Pell Grant can attend any campus in the NU System and have up to 30 credit hours of tuition covered per academic year.

NU says more than 7,000 students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center are attending college tuition-free this year under the Nebraska Promise.

The Nebraska Promise applies to returning, transfer and new undergraduate students, both on-campus and online. Students must be admitted to their intended NU institution and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline. No separate application is required beyond the FAFSA.

An estimated 175 additional NU students will be covered under the expanded Nebraska Promise. “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. We know times are still uncertain and that every dollar matters to students and families,” Carter said. “We’ve decided to extend the Nebraska Promise to more Nebraska families because access to higher education is more important now than ever.

“Our message to the people of our state is that no matter their circumstance, a University of Nebraska education is within their reach,” Carter said.

Also on Monday, Carter announced that all university campuses are moving the priority deadline by which students can file the FAFSA and qualify for the Nebraska Promise from April 1 to June 1. NU says it had extended the deadline in past years and decided to permanently move the deadline to June 1 in order to give students and families more time to complete the necessary forms to qualify for financial aid.

To be eligible for full-tuition coverage under the Nebraska Promise, undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree must take at least 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. The Nebraska Promise covers up to 30 credit hours per academic year. Students must complete the FAFSA each year by the priority deadline to remain eligible. The program is not intended to cover costs beyond tuition like fees, books, or room and board, but students may receive scholarships and grants from the campuses or private sources to help pay for these costs.

Complete details on the Nebraska Promise are available in both English and Spanish here.

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