Thirty Nebraska high school students will have opportunities they never thought possible as the result of new partnerships signed this month between Chancellor Doug Kristensen and school superintendents at North Platte and Lexington.
Through the partnerships, a maximum of 15 students from each of the high schools will be selected to participate in “Kearney Bound!,” a new program that will make it possible for the students to attend UNK with full support for their tuition, books, fees, and room and board. The combined partnerships 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.”
This spring, North Platte and Lexington High Schools, working in consultation with UNK staff, will select the first freshmen participants. Students who show academic promise, demonstrate motivation to participate and who meet the federal government’s criteria for participation in TRIO programs, are candidates for Kearney Bound!
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.
Those selected will 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.
At UNK, a professional staff member will direct UNK’s involvement in the program and serve as the liaison with each high school. Further, UNK will provide on-campus programming designed to motivate the students to earn a university degree, and Kearney Bound! students will have an opportunity to take a UNK course at a reduced rate during their senior year.
Finally, Kearney Bound! students must complete 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.