6 Scholarships for Students in Nebraska

On Saturdays in the fall, 90,000 screaming football fans pack the Memorial Stadium in downtown Lincoln, decked out from head to toe in red, cheering on their Nebraska Huskers. The stadium, for that one day, is the third-largest city in Nebraska, more populous than the city of Bellevue. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is renowned nationally for its dedicated fans, which have sold out Memorial Stadium for 347 consecutive games, dating back to 1962. In that time, future NFL Hall of Famers, such as Chiefs guard Will Shields, and current stars, such as Dolphins tackle Ndamukong Suh, alike have graduated from one of the most well-known football programs in the nation.

Nebraska is considered by some to be the college football capital of the Great Plains region, which only reflects the community aspect felt by many throughout the state towards their college students and fellow statesmen. In their state, life may get difficult, but as Bruce Springsteen sang in the closing track of his 1982 album Nebraska, “…at the end of every hard-earned day, you can find some reason to believe.” Students in Nebraska have plenty of reasons to believe in themselves, at least, and are buoyed by opportunities for higher learning, helped along the way by programs such as:

Fields of wheat below a blue sky.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Regents Scholarship

Amount: Full tuition

Deadline: February 1

The football program discussed in length earlier is only one aspect of what the University of Nebraska has to offer its students. The radical fandom of Huskers backers represents, in large, a culture ingrained in many Nebraska youngsters since birth. Many kids that grow up in the Cornhusker state dream want to attend the university. Through opportunities such as the Regents Scholarship, students receive ways to make that dream a reality.

The Regents Scholarship is eligible for incoming freshmen that are graduates of Nebraska high schools and demonstrate outstanding academic achievement throughout their high school career. If a student receives the award, it covers the cost of full in-state tuition, which rounds at somewhere at $5,000. The scholarship renews for up to nine semesters as long as the winner maintains at least a GPA of 3.5.

Lincoln Community Foundation Scholarships

Amount: Varying

Deadline: March 15, 2020

The Lincoln Community Foundation, a community organizing commission that aims to “secure gifts to perpetually enrich and improve our community and the lives of all its citizens,” makes good on their word by offering nearly fifty scholarships to students in Nebraska. While the society is based in Lincoln, scholarships are available for students statewide.

Depending on the qualifier, which may be geographic, academic, or extracurricular, nearly all Nebraska students could probably find at least one that they qualify for.

Wayne State Nebraska Opportunity Grant

Amount: $1,600

Deadline: File the FAFSA

Consistently ranked among the best public colleges in the state, Wayne State College, appropriately located in the northeastern Nebraskan community of Wayne, offers incentives for Cornhusker high school graduates hoping to attend their school. Wayne State College is one of the most selective rural campuses in the state, with an enrollment of less than 4,000. Many students who come from similar “small town” environments prefer this more personal and intimate learning environment to the massive sea of students in Lincoln.

Wayne State’s Nebraska Opportunity Grant offers Nebraska residents coming from a high school within the state that demonstrate financial need on their FAFSA form a financial award ranging from $400-$1,600. These grants, given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, help those needing an extra financial boost attend an institution of higher learning within their state’s borders.

Norma Ross Walter Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: January 31

One of the more specialized scholarships Cornhuskers will find, the Norma Ross Walter focuses on female Nebraska students who plan to pursue an English major track. The scholarship’s namesake, Ms. Norma Ross Walter, was a newspaper editor in California during WWII and a lifelong advocate for women’s education. Following her death in the early eighties, the Willa Cather Foundation, named for the famed female Nebraskan novelist, began to award a scholarship in her name annually.

To be eligible for the award, female graduates of Nebraska high schools and prospective college freshmen must explain their dedication to the field of English, as well as why they plan to pursue the degree. According to the website, “selection is based on intellectual promise, creativity, and character of the applicant.” Three students win a scholarship, with a top prize of $2,500.

Urban League of Nebraska Scholarship

Amount: Varying

Deadline: TBD for 2021

In 2014, it was estimated that 13.2% of Nebraskans lived below the poverty line, slotting them in at 17th nationwide. Of those in poverty, over a third were African-American. The Urban League of Nebraska hopes to change these figures by helping the impoverished youth escape their environment and accomplish their dreams.

The organization, which began in the 1920s, states, “…we will lead Nebraska in closing the socioeconomic gap in the African American, other emerging ethnic communities and disadvantaged families in the achievement of social equality and economic independence and growth.” One path the Urban League has taken is giving financial assistance to students who grow up in an environment that does not provide them with a feasible academic future.

The Urban League of Nebraska Scholarship helps urban Nebraskans who meet certain academic and social standards, such as a 2.5 cumulative GPA, completed SAT and ACT tests, and 10 hours of community service. The application asks for students to outline their goals and ambitions in a 250-500 word essay, as well as submit two letters of recommendation from teachers. Those awarded the scholarship will be able to use their financial rewards towards tuition at an accredited institution.

Nebraska American Legion Oratorical Contest

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: Varying

The Nebraska chapter of the American Legion, a society founded in 1919, consists of a national club of honorably discharged military veterans. In a way to give back to the community, the national society sponsors an oratorical contest, with the deadline sometime in April every year.

The competition, which starts at the local level, asks Nebraska high school seniors to consider the benefits of the US Constitution as well as specific patriotic topics assigned by the yearly legion board. The Nebraska Legion holds a statewide competition, with the winner of the contest receiving a $1,500 scholarship towards their college tuition.

Additionally, Nebraska’s champion will later receive the American Legion’s annual Oratorical Finals, where fifty students representing all the states of the union compete for the top prize: A scholarship of $18,000, applicable towards any college in the country.


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