By MELISSA LEE
University of Nebraska Communications
LINCOLN – In his annual State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts proposed a new scholarship program that would support students at the University of Nebraska, state colleges and community colleges pursuing degrees in high-demand fields such as engineering, mathematics, health care and information technology.
The governor’s proposed Nebraska Career Scholarships Program would invest $16 million over the next four years, half of which would go to students across the NU system. The remaining $8 million would be split between the state and community colleges.
NU President Ted Carter thanked the governor for making student financial aid a priority in his mid-biennium budget adjustments.
“Nebraska is facing urgent workforce challenges, and attracting and retaining more talent to our state is a key part of the solution,” Carter said. “Governor Ricketts’ proposed scholarship program is an important investment in economic growth that will expand access and opportunities for our young people to pursue careers in high-demand fields.
“I look forward to working closely with the governor and Legislature to grow our state.”
The proposed scholarship program would provide $2 million to the university in 2020-21, growing to $8 million by 2023-24. First-time freshmen scoring at least a 20 on the ACT would be eligible to receive scholarships. Transfer students in qualifying programs would also be eligible. Students could use the scholarship funds for tuition, fees, room and board or relevant tools and equipment.
Scholarship recipients would be asked to complete a Nebraska-based internship, apprenticeship, clinical position or other work related to their major before graduating. The university would be expected to assess outcomes for scholarship recipients.
In his address, the governor said: “Connecting the next generation of Nebraskans to great opportunities in our state is key to helping our kids make Nebraska their home.”
The governor’s recommendations will now be taken up by the Legislature, which convened Jan. 8 for a 60-day session.
Details on the proposed Nebraska Career Scholarships Program, along with complete information about Ricketts’ proposals for mid-biennium budget adjustments, are available here.