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University of Nebraska to give free tuition to students of families making less than $60K

University of Nebraska to give free tuition to students of families making less than $60K
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The University of Nebraska announced on Friday that it will offer free tuition to in-state undergraduate students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year.

The Omaha World-Herald first reported the announcement, which comes the same week the university predicted it would lose at least $50 million this fiscal year because of the pandemic.

"We understand that in these uncertain times, many Nebraskans are rethinking every dollar," University of Nebraska President Ted Carter said in a statement. "We want students and families to know that their University is here for them, that we want them as part of our family, and that we’re doing everything we can to keep the promise of a college education within reach, no matter what their circumstance."

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The program, Nebraska Promise, will begin in the fall of 2020 and comes as families across the country struggle economically during the coronavirus pandemic. To be eligible, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a 2.5 GPA. The university will cover up to 30 credits in an academic year. The program doesn't cover room and board, however.

The offer will be available at the university’s four four-year campuses: Lincoln, Kearney, Omaha and the medical center. At UNMC, it applies only to undergraduate nursing students.

Carter called the program a "game changer," and noted that while it will hopefully help students whose families have been hit by economic hardships from coronavirus, it is a long-term program not created directly in response to the pandemic.

“The chancellors and I are exploring other steps related to affordability," Carter said. "We don’t have further announcements just yet, but will share any decisions as soon as we make them."

Carter said no private money is being used to fund the program, and officials will make the program work within the university's current budget.