Students encouraged to complete the FAFSA to qualify for financial aid

The University of Nebraska is encouraging students and families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as they can in order to qualify for financial aid, including Collegebound Nebraska, the university’s tuition assistance program. To receive Collegebound Nebraska aid, students must complete the FAFSA by April 1.

The FAFSA can be accessed online at www.fafsa.gov or through a student’s guidance counselor or financial aid officer. No separate application is required for Collegebound Nebraska, but students do need to submit a FAFSA annually.

Collegebound Nebraska guarantees that any Nebraska undergraduate who qualifies for a federal Pell Grant and meets NU’s admission requirements can attend one of the university’s four campuses and pay no tuition. Generally, a student from a family of four with one in college and an income of about $53,000 or less will qualify for Collegebound Nebraska. A student must maintain a 2.5 grade point average to remain eligible for the program.

Collegebound Nebraska covers all of a student’s tuition costs, up to 30 credit hours per academic year, that are not covered by Pell funds or other grants or scholarships. It does not cover non-tuition expenses such as room and board, fees or books, although many students receive additional financial aid to support those expenses. In addition to completing the FAFSA, students should apply for financial aid at the campus they are attending or plan to attend as soon as possible.

High school counselors, teachers, nonprofit leaders and others who work with students are welcome to request free materials that explain Collegebound Nebraska and the college preparation and application process here.

In 2011-12, more than 6,600 NU students qualified for the Collegebound Nebraska promise, up from about 6,200 the year before. As part of its efforts to further expand the reach of the program so more students can take advantage of the opportunity to attend NU and pay no tuition, the university has enlisted the help of outstanding former student-athletes such as Super Bowl champion Prince Amukamara and Olympic medalist Jordan Larson.

The athletes, along with about a dozen student ambassadors for Collegebound Nebraska, are helping to promote the program via social media and other venues. Collegebound Nebraska also provides up-to-date information on financial aid, college preparation, student life and related topics on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. For more information about the program, visit www.collegeboundnebraska.com.

FAFSA completion also is required for other financial aid opportunities in Nebraska, including the college scholarships provided through the Susan T. Buffett Foundation. Applications for Buffett Foundation scholarships are being accepted until March 1. More information is available here.

EducationQuest Foundation in Nebraska offers free tools to help students and parents with FAFSA completion, including webinars, financial aid programs at schools around the state and more.

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