Nebraska (NE): Overview of Nebraska's Colleges and Universities

Nebraska is home to about 35 not-for-profit colleges and universities. See rankings of the best and most affordable schools in Nebraska to determine which schools might be right for you.

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Most Program Variety

Some students prefer schools that have a broad mix of programs from which to choose. The three Nebraska schools listed below have the most undergraduate and graduate program variety in the state.

1 - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

This state school in Lincoln offers students the most variety with roughly 197 programs. In 2011, it was common for students to major in business, engineering, family and consumer sciences, education and agriculture, according to U.S. News & World Report. In the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges, the school ranked as the 101st best national university and 46th best public school. Undergraduate programs in business and engineering were also ranked. Among graduate programs ranked in the top 50 were audiology, speech-language pathology, the online business program, special education and ceramics.

2 - Northeast Community College

Located in Norfolk, this public community college gives students a good variety of options with roughly 113 programs. Students can earn certificates and associate degrees at this school. Programs vary from agronomy and graphic design to journalism and wind energy.

2 - University of Nebraska - Omaha

This public school in Omaha also offers about 113 programs of study. At this school, undergraduate students frequently majored in business, education, biology, communications and public safety, based on 2011 data reported by U.S. News & World Report. The same source ranked the school 11th best for its online bachelor's degree programs in 2013. Graduate programs in public affairs and criminology ranked in the top 50.

Lowest Net Price

The average net price for a college or university is determined by subtracting the amount of government or institutional financial aid a student receives from the total cost of attendance. The three traditional Nebraska schools with the lowest net prices, listed below, were determined using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the 2010-2011 academic year. Generally, the net price for Nebraska schools varies from more than $5,000 a year to nearly $25,000 a year. It's common for community colleges to offer students the most affordable options for their postsecondary studies.

1 - Mid-Plains Community College

Located in North Platte, this public community college has the lowest net price of $5,737. During the 2012-13 school year, in-state students paid $2,760 in tuition and fees, while out-of-state students paid $3,450, according to the NCES. Most students at this community college receive financial aid. During the 2010-11 school year, 91% of full-time, beginning undergraduate received grants, loans and scholarships to help pay for school. During the same year, 46% of all undergraduate students received, on average, $5,070 in grant or scholarship aid.

2 - Western Nebraska Community College

This Scottsbluff school is another economical option with its net price of $5,840. During the 2012-13 school year, in-state tuition and fees were $2,316, while out-of-state students paid an estimated $2,652, according to the NCES. During the 2010-11 school year, 89% of full-time, beginning undergraduate students received financial aid. An average amount of $5,140 in grant or scholarship aid was awarded to 55% of all undergraduate students during that school year.

3 - Northeast Community College

Along with the previous two schools, students can also consider this college as a value, which has a net price of $6,043. According to the school website, in-state students paid $2,837 in tuition and fees during the 2012-13 school year. Out-of-state students paid an estimated $3,426. On-campus housing is available at this community college, which cost an estimated $6,043 for the 2012-13 academic year, per the NCES. During the 2010-11 school year, 85% of full-time, beginning undergraduate students received financial aid to help cover the cost of school.

Highest Graduation Rate

The overall graduation rate for a school includes the percent of students who completed their studies in 150% of 'normal time' (for example, six years for a bachelor's program). Based on NCES figures for full-time students, the following traditional, 4-year Nebraska schools had the highest graduation rates in 2011.

1 - Creighton University

Located in Omaha, this private school has an overall graduation rate of 77% for students who enrolled in fall 2005, giving it the highest graduation rate among traditional postsecondary schools in Nebraska. The school has a number of academic support services for students, which include drop-in and individual tutoring. Between the 2010 and 2011 school years, the retention rate for full-time undergraduate students was 88%, according to the NCES.

2 - University of Nebraska - Lincoln

The University of Nebraska - Lincoln recorded an overall graduation rate of 67% for students beginning their studies in 2005, putting the school in second place. This state university offers specialized academic centers for math, engineering, Spanish and chemistry students. In addition, students can get writing help for a variety of assignments. The retention rate was 84% for full-time, first-time undergraduate students between 2010 and 2011, while part-time students had a retention rate of 47%, according to NCES.

3 - Nebraska Wesleyan University

Taking the bronze is this Lincoln school, which has an overall graduation rate of 64% for students who enrolled in fall 2005. Students have access to tutors as well as a virtual academic success center to learn how to improve time management, study skills and motivation. The retention rate for full-time, first-time undergraduate students was 85% between 2010 and 2011, according to the NCES.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Some students look for schools that have low student-faculty ratios because they may promote a small campus feeling. The three Nebraska schools listed below had student-faculty ratios of 10:1 or less as of fall 2011, based on NCES figures. Other schools in the state have student-faculty ratios as high as 39:1.

1 - Midland University

Located in Fremont, this school maintains a ratio of 10:1 for its roughly 1,030 undergraduate and graduate students. The school doesn't have any faculty for research and public service. Rather, the 43 full-time faculty and 52 part-time faculty focus on instruction, according to the NCES.

1 - Union College

With a student population of 886 undergraduate and graduate students in 2011 (per the NCES), this Lincoln school ties for first position with a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. This small school in a large city offers associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs. According to the NCES, there were 59 full-time faculty and 43 part-time faculty in 2011, all dedicated to instruction.

2 - Mid-Plains Community College

This community college is the largest school in the state with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. According to the NCES, the school enrolled 2,623 undergraduates in 2011. Most students, 62%, attended on a part-time basis. The school employed 67 full-time and 218 part-time instructional faculty the same year, according to NCES.

Nebraska Schools At A Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Creighton University Omaha 4-year, private; not-for-profit 1- to less than 2-year certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate
Midland University Fremont 4-year, private; not-for-profit Bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Mid-Plains Community College North Platte 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1- to less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees Lowest Net Price,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln 4-year, private; not-for-profit Less than 1-year certificates; bachelor's degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates 3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Northeast Community College Norfolk 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1- to less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price
Union College Lincoln 4-year, private; not-for-profit Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln 4-year, public Associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
University of Nebraska - Omaha Omaha 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates 2nd Most Program Variety
Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1- to less than 2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
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