Throughout its history, Nebraska has been known for its agricultural value. From Lakota and Apache tribes, to French and Spanish settlers, to 19th century homesteaders, Nebraskans have produced beef, pork, corn, soybeans, and sorghum, among others. By 2010, the Cornhusker State’s gross state product in 2010 was about $90 billion, having incorporated into the economy freight transportation, logistics, manufacturing, telecommunications, information technology, and insurance — notably Mutual of Omaha. Nebraska has also become an unlikely financial hub thanks to companies like TD Ameritrade and Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO, Warren Buffet, is one the most successful investors in history — and one of the world’s richest people. There are over 30 colleges and universities in the state, many of which are now offering online degree opportunities to keep pace with national trends and need for flexible, affordable higher education.
In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences — often on the weekends or in several week long bouts — enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.
There are at least 13 public colleges and universities in Nebraska that offer online degrees. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the largest of these, offers 36, including 2 bachelors and 34 masters in a wide variety of fields, including Art Education specializations, Education Administration specializations, Special Education, an MBA, History, English, and more. UN Kearney (6 bachelors, 19 masters) and Omaha (17 bachelors, 7 masters) are the second and third largest providers. Metropolitan Community College offers 11 associates and bachelors in Business, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Education, and Information Sciences, among others. Southeast Community College offers the most two-year associates in the state, including unique programs in Geographic Information Systems, Food Services, Respiratory Care, Radiologic Technology, Surgical Technology, Fire and Emergency Services Management, and Dental Assisting.
At least 4 private colleges and universities offer online degrees in Nebraska. Bellevue University offers the most, at 75, including 47 bachelors, 27 masters, and a unique online PhD in Human Capital Management. Bachelors include tracks across a range of disciplines: Accounting, Information Systems, Healthcare Management, Graphic Design, Systems and Network Administration, Business, Legal Studies, International Security and Intelligence Studies, and Child Protection and Juvenile Justice. Masters include MBA specializations, an MPA, and more. Creighton is the second-largest online degree provider: 2 bachelors, 14 masters, and 4 doctorate-level degrees in Healthcare (Nursing, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy) and a Doctorate of Business Administration. Clarkson College and York College offer several online opportunities, as well.
Featured Online Schools
For a variety of reasons, a student may look to move to the state of their online college program whether specifically required by the program or not — be it for a job, location desirability, school benefits, etc. Different states have different policies, however, and some of them can be rather demanding. While many states require students to be in the state for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first date of classes, Nebraska requires students to have lived at least 18 months. Further, according to the University of Nebraska, “mere physical presence in [Nebraska], regardless of length of stay, is not adequate to prove residency for tuition purposes,” nor does owning property in the state guarantee residency approval. For a full treatment, click here.
For 2015-16, the average tuition for a four-year public school in Nebraska was $7,608 per year, or about $1,500 less than the national average; that represents a 4% increase from 2014-15, compared to a 3% national average, and a 5% increase over the previous five years, compared to a 13% national average. Two-year institutions like community colleges have fared equally well, with average tuition at about $2,900 per year — a thousand dollars less than the national average. All this is good news for Nebraska residents hoping to take advantage of in-state tuition, and, if current trends hold, Nebraskans should continue to enjoy highly stable and affordable public higher education costs.
There are at least 5 colleges and universities that offer online degrees in the Omaha area. University of Nebraska at Omaha is the largest, with 17 bachelors and 7 masters in range of fields. Undergraduate options include unique studies in Sociology, Nonprofit Administration, Fire Service Management, Management Information Systems, Gerontology, Information Technology, and Aviation Science. Metropolitan Community College is among the largest two-year professional schools in the state and also offers bachelors in Business, Corrections, Law Enforcement, and Education, among others. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health offers an MS in Healthcare Management and a BSN to Doctor of Nurse Practitioner. Among private schools, Clarkson College and Bellevue University have online tracks in the area, with the latter offering the largest selection in Nebraska. Briar Cliff University, Morningside College, and Western Iowa Tech Community College are options in Sioux City.
Nebraska’s Lincoln campus is the main provider of online degrees in the city and the second-largest statewide, offering 36 tracks. Bachelor’s tracks include a BSAS and BS in Early Childhood in a Mobile Society. From there, master’s degrees are available in Family Financial Planning, Journalism & Mass Communications, Community Development, Engineering Management, Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law, and Education and Business specializations. For students willing to make occasional commutes, Peru has Peru State College (8 bachelors, 2 masters) and Southeast Community College (15 associates). Kearney options include UNK, with 25 online tracks, and Central Community College, with 5 associates in Business Administration, Business Technology, Health Information Management Services, Information Technology & Systems, and Quality Technology.
Bellevue University offers the most online degrees in the state. Of the 47 bachelors, highlights include tracks in Behavioral Science, Communication Studies, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing, Investigations, IT Operations Management, Non-Profit Management, Nursing (RN to BSN), Software Development, Project Management, Sport Management, and Sustainability Management, among others. There are 27 masters available: Business and Professional Communication, Healthcare Administration, Acquisition and Contract Management, Justice Administration and Crime Management, Strategic Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and Strategic Finance, among others. A unique PhD in Human Capital Management is available online, as well. Just north, University of Nebraska-Omaha offers over 20 online degrees and Metropolitan Community College offers 11 associates and bachelors. Briar Cliff University, Morningside College, and Western Iowa Tech Community College offer online degrees from Sioux City.
Cost of Living: 0.88
Top Industries: Trade, Transportation, Utilities, Education
Local Online Degrees: 5
Cost of Living: 0.93
Top Industries: Agriculture, Production, Education, Health Care
Local Online Degrees: 2
Cost of Living: 0.91
Top Industries: Education, Health Care, Trade, Agriculture, Construction
Local Online Degrees: 5
Grand Island City
Cost of Living: 0.87
Top Industries: Manufacturing, Education, Health Care
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 0.91
Top Industries: Manufacturing, Transportation, Higher Education, Health Care
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 0.87
Top Industries: Education, Health Care, Retail, Manufacturing
Local Online Degrees: 2
Cost of Living: 0.85
Top Industries: Education, Health Care, Construction, Manufacturing, Distribution
Local Online Degrees: 1
The Best Online Colleges in Nebraska
1. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Online Programs: 36
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is a public, land-grant, research university located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The University is the flagship school and largest university in the University of Nebraska System. The University has a long history (over 100 years) of supporting distance education, which has continued into the digital age with 36 fully-online degrees. Online offerings are available primarily at the graduate level, though two versatile undergraduate degrees are also offered online: a bachelor of science in applied science, and an education degree titled “bachelors in early childhood in a mobile society.” This latter program is a unique offering meant to help prepare students for helping careers with students whose parents are highly mobile, such as workers in oil fields or the military. Online graduate offerings are particularly varied, including many education programs, design, applied science, and business offerings. For those looking for a high quality and flexible degree in Nebraska, you can’t go wrong with a program offered by the flagship and highest ranked university in the state.
2. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Online Programs: 25
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a mid-sized public comprehensive university located in Kearney, Nebraska and online. It is the second most highly ranked member of the Nebraska University system, and is currently home to some 7,000 students. With 25 fully online degrees, the online offerings are the third most expansive of programs surveyed in the state of Nebraska. These online degrees are offered at the bachelors and masters level. Additionally, a wide range of teacher endorsement programs are offered fully online at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Online courses through the university are asynchronous, meaning greater flexibility for time-starved professionals or adult learners. Don’t let this fool you into thinking that coursework for the university isn’t interactive or social, however, with chat groups, forums, and professors available for private questions.
3. Creighton University
Online Programs: 21
Creighton University is a private, Jesuit, Roman Catholic University located in Omaha, Nebraska. The university is the largest religious institution in the state, and is presently home to some 8,000+ students. As with many Jesuit university’s the school is known for its emphasis on service learning, community service, and dedication to helping first-generation college students recieve higher education. 21 programs of study are offered fully online, making Creighton the 6th most expansive online provider in the state of Nebraska. One notable aspect of their offerings is the large number of doctoral degrees that may be obtained at least mostly online, including doctorates in pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy, business administration, and leadership. A wide range of masters-level degrees are also available fully online, as well as two bachelors-level programs. Particularly for students looking for instruction in disciplines from a Catholic worldview, Creighton is a great choice for online degrees in Nebraska.
4. Bellevue University
Online Programs: 75
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, Nebraska, a portion of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Home to some 10,000+ students, BU has been known since its inception as a university with a strong focus on adult education and educational outreach. This helped to lay the groundwork for what would become one of the largest and most well-supported range of online academic options in the state. With 75 fully online degrees, the university offers more than twice as many online programs as any other university in the state. Offerings are available at the bachelors through doctoral levels, though 74 of 75 offerings are split in a relativaly equal way between bachelors and masters work. Particularly strong support services for online learners include small class sizes, the ability to reach technical and research support during extended hours seven days a week, and the ability to choose from cohort or individualized learning plans.
5. University of Nebraska at Omaha
Online Programs: 24
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a public research university often regarded as one of two premier metropolitan research institution in the state of Nebraska. 24 degrees are offered fully online from UNO at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the bachelors level, the bachelors in general studies has been particularly lauded as one of the best in the country (particularly for non-traditional or adult students). Other unique offerings include masters-level fully online programs in unique disciplines such as critical thinking and creative writing. Don’t let this give the impression that the university doesn’t have career-specific programming, however, with many online degrees offered by top ranked schools in information technology and business fields. For students living in the population center of the Omaha metro area, UNO is one of the most well-established and well regarded universities in the region.
6. Metropolitan Community College
Online Programs: 22
The Metropolitan Community College is a community college system offering campuses through the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan region of the state. One particularly unique aspect of MCC is the fact that it is the largest post-secondary higher education organization in the state, and accordingly offers over 100 1 and 2-year courses of study. Both rarities for a community college. MCC is also a community college authorized to offer online programming to a wide range of states througout the region. To check for availability in your state, follow this link. Currently 22 courses of study are offered fully online, and are divided between associates level degrees, and corrosponding transfer programs in which students are expected to continue their course of study at the baccelaureate level after two years of study at MCC. Offerings are similar at both levels, and include majors in business management, computer technology, computer science, information assurance, management information systems, criminal justice, law enforecement, early childhood education, and general information technology. MCC is regionally accredited by the HLC.
7. Wayne State College
Online Programs: 7
Wayne State College is a constituent of the Nebraska State College System, and is currently home to some 3,500+ students. Degrees are offered the undergraduate and graduate levels from four academic schools. The longest lasting (and what the university was originally established for) is the school of education and counseling. Three online degrees are offered in the school of education: a Master of Education Counseling, Curriculum and Instruction, and School Administration. Other fully online degrees include a top ranked online MBA and three masters-level degrees in organizational management: Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, and Sport and Recreation Management. The college also offers courses through the Northeast Community College (see #9 in this ranking).
8. Southeast Community College
Online Programs: 15
Southeast Community College is an extensive community college system that covers most of the main population centers of Nebraska. Main campus locations are available in Lincoln, Beatrice, and Milford, while 20 extension campuses are available around a 15 county radius. Thirteen degree programs are offered fully online. While offerings cover many practical and trade-related disciplines, the most popular programming option at the university is the general studies transfer program, in which students transfer into a traditional four-year college or university as juniors after two years in the community college system. This program has established SCC as the largest feeder school for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the state’s flagship university. Other fully online offerings include degrees in manufacturing, technology, medical aid, education, food service, and business discplines. SCC offers over 300 fully online courses per term, meaning students will have access to a number of course options every semester that they’re pursuing their degree. Furthermore, the university offers a wide range of support services in-person for online students who reside close enough to a campus to take advantages of such services.
9. Northeast Community College
Online Programs: 13
Northeast Community College is a community college system with four locations in Nebraska: Norfolk, O’Neill, South Sioux City, and West Point. As with many top community colleges, programming offers a great degree of flexibility and focuses on trade and practical disciplines. The Norfolk (main) campus is the only community college i nthe state to offer adult education degrees, 1 and 2-year liberal arts programs, and trade/vocational programming. Currently thirteen associates-level degrees are offered fully online. Online offerings are practical and trade-specific except for an associates in general studies. Other online degrees include four business specializations, an accounting major, agriculture, behavior science, elementary education, education paraprofessional programming, social science, and two criminal justice degrees. The wealth of locations as well as low in-state costs make Northeas Community College a great option, particularly for students looking for practical degrees in that region of the state.
10. Peru State College
Online Programs: 10
Peru State College was the first institution of higher education to be established in the state — back in 1865 — and still functions as a private liberal arts college located in Peru, Nebraska. It’s 100 acre campus known as the “Campus of 1000 Oaks” is known for natural beauty. But it’s the extensive online offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels that have been attributed with the college’s recent successes. 10 fully online degrees are currently offered, the ninth largest denomination of online degrees offered by a university in Nebraska. Offerings are largely in practical and job-centered disciplines, including criminal science, computing fields, psychology, management, and marketing. Two degrees are at the masters level, while eight are baccelaureate programs. A master of science in education program is the sole online offering from the college’s best known department: the department of education, the sole education school (and thus oldest) in the state until the founding of the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Nebraska is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Making sure that a University you’re hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.
Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid
- Submit your FAFSA.
- Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
- Search and apply for private scholarships.
Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.
Great Missouri Higher Education Resources
- Nebraska Department of Education Nebrasksa's Department of Education site includes info on policy and funding, programs and services, financial aid, and more.
- Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education The Nebraska CCCPE offers financial aid, grant opportunities, the Community College Gap Assistance Program, and reports and data.
- Nebraska Community College Association The NCCA is the state's official organizational body of community colleges.
- Blair Area Community Foundation The BACF offers several scholarships for students with an interest in nursing and business administration.
- Fremont Area Community Foundation The FACF offers hundreds of scholarships for graduating seniors and residents pursuing career training.
- Grand Island Community Foundation Grant Island's foundation offers over 40 scholarship funds.
- Hamilton Community Foundation Established in 1954, the HCF has provided $9 million in scholarships to more than 3,000 area students.
- Hastings Community Foundation Since 1987, the Hasting Community Foundation has offered over $9 million in scholarships and grants.
- Iowa West Foundation The IWF serves Eastern Nebraska in addition to Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County.
- Kearney Area Community Foundation The KACF manages over 30 scholarship funds.
- Lexington Community Foundation The Lexington Community Foundation includes a dozen scholarships.
- Merrick Foundation The Merrick Foundation offers several funds for graduating seniors.
- Oregon Trail Community Foundation The OTCF includes a dozen funds for graduating seniors in the Scottsbluff area.
- The Phelps County Community Foundation The PCCF includes funds for graduating seniors and current college students.
- Siouxland Community Foundation The Siouxland Community Foundation manages scholarships for residents within a 50 mile radius of Sioux City.