You do if you meet these criteria:
And the program is simple. There is no separate application. Eligible students are identified automatically through the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
In 2008, the university's tuition assistance program was extended to students whose families' earnings are just beyond Pell Grant eligibility. So, even if you don't qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, you may be eligible for full tuition assistance through Collegebound Nebraska.
There is no set income level to qualify, but a general guideline is that a typical family of four with one student in college and an annual family income of $53,000 or less may qualify for Collegebound Nebraska assistance.
Eligibility for a Pell Grant is based on your family's "expected family contribution" toward the cost of college. This is determined by a formula that considers your family financial situation, family size and the number of children in college, the cost of attendance and your enrollment status (full- or part-time).
You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine if you are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. For assistance, contact the admissions office of the NU campus of your choice. Your high school counselor or the EducationQuest Foundation may also help.
To be considered for Collegebound Nebraska tuition assistance, you must complete your FAFSA by April 1 and complete the financial aid process by June 1 of the calendar year prior to fall enrollment. But don't wait until the last minute. Funds are available on a "first come, first served" basis. So, the sooner you submit your information, the better.
After you complete the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report which will tell you if you're eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and the amount of your expected family contribution.
In 2008-09, grants ranged from $890 to $4,731 for an academic year. The average is approximately $2,500. Most grants go to students whose family income is $20,000 or less.
As long as you remain eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, meet the annual April 1 application deadline, remain a full-time student and meet academic standards, you will continue to qualify for Collegebound Nebraska assistance throughout your undergraduate education.
If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, Collegebound Nebraska will cover all your remaining tuition costs, up to 30 credit hours per academic year, after Pell funds and any other grants and/or scholarships are taken into account. You must take at least 12 credit hours per semester, but may take more.
If you file the FAFSA and are told you are not eligible for a Pell Grant, the university will automatically review your FAFSA to determine whether you qualify for Collegebound Nebraska. If your expected family contribution is $5,000 or less, you will qualify. (Note: students with expected family contributions above $5,300 may qualify for grant assistance, but for amounts less than full tuition).
The Collegebound Nebraska program is for tuition assistance only. It does not cover additional costs including fees, books, room and board, or transportation. However, the financial aid office at the campus you're attending will offer other financial aid resources to help you cover these additional costs.
There are many ways to save money on college. Most schools offer merit scholarships to academically talented students. Some states do, too. You may also qualify for a grant or scholarship if you pursue a particular talent such as music or journalism. Work-study is another popular option.
Starting a college savings account early is always a good idea. Fortunately, the Nebraska College Savings Plan is rated one of the best "529" plans in the nation. It offers tax-saving advantages, applies to schools across the country and gives you multiple investment options.
The point is, if you're serious about getting a college education, money shouldn't keep you from reaching that goal.