New ‘Leading Nebraska’ podcast episode highlights Nebraska Promise, the university’s free tuition program

The University of Nebraska System has released the newest episode of its “Leading Nebraska” podcast series, highlighting the Nebraska Promise free tuition program.

The program covers undergraduate tuition at University of Nebraska campuses for in-state students who have a family income of $65,000 or less and meet academic qualifications, helping them pursue a degree with minimal cost. With students only paying for room, board, books and fees, they can max out their course load, expand their extracurricular opportunities, have more time to study and pursue internships that will prepare them for the job market.

Mayra Flores, a recent business administration graduate from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, was a Nebraska Promise recipient and the first in her family to earn a college degree.

“I’ve had a lot of hard times in my life,” Flores said. “There were moments where I chose to stick with things because I knew what the outcome was. To see the bigger picture instead of just the small details is to realize that you’re working toward something larger.”

For low-income, underrepresented or first-generation students, there is a tangible gap in transitioning from high school to college. About 66% of eligible high school graduates in Nebraska enroll at two- or four-year colleges, but only 52.6% of low-income students do so.

University of Nebraska System Interim President Chris Kabourek says the Nebraska Promise program makes college accessible to working-class and low- to middle-income Nebraskans.

“We want to make sure all Nebraskans know that higher education is an opportunity for them,” Kabourek said.

Since 2020, more than 18,000 Nebraskans have taken advantage of the program – from all 93 counties across the state. Over half of them are first-generation students; the first in their family to go to college.

This academic year, 7,481 students across the state have received the Nebraska Promise. And through the Nebraska Promise, the University of Nebraska hopes to help even more students like Flores understand that college is possible.

Listeners may follow the “Leading Nebraska” podcast here.