First 30 Students Selected for Kearney Bound!, A Program for First-Generation College Students

Glennis Nagel

Thirty Nebraska high school students in North Platte and Lexington will have opportunities they never thought possible through a program called “Kearney Bound!” which provides full tuition and expenses at UNK.

Dusty Newton, director of Admissions, recently announced the names of the students who will participate in the new program, 15 at Lexington High School and 15 at North Platte High School.

The program will make it possible for these high school sophomores to attend UNK after high school graduation with full support for their tuition, books, fees, room and board. The partnership between UNK and the high schools will provide $1.5 million in educational support for the 30 students. Discussions are underway regarding offering “Kearney Bound!” opportunities to students at Kearney High and Kearney Catholic as well.

“The partnerships in North Platte and Lexington came about in response to the needs and requests of these schools,” said Dr. Finnie Murray, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “If we had the resources, we would like to do this in every community in the state.”

The students selected demonstrated academic promise and motivation to participate. They also met federal government criteria for participation in TRIO programs, designed to help high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend college.

The students must be Nebraska residents, have a social security number and be a first-generation college prospect, i.e., neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. There is also an expectation that students will have parental support to be in the program and the potential to be Pell Grant eligible.

The students will also receive directed advising, tutoring, mentoring and fee waivers for the first ACT exam. In addition, students will come to the campus for motivational experiences and exposure to educational opportunities. Each high school will provide a staff member to direct the school’s involvement and serve as a liaison with UNK staff.

UNK will provide on-campus programming designed to motivate the students to earn a university degree. “Kearney Bound!” students must complete high school core courses necessary for admission to UNK, as well as maintain at least a 2.85 grade point average, overall, and a minimum 2.5 in the core courses.