Planning for College

Nebraska is a Best Buy

Low Cost, High Graduation Rate

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been consistently designated as a best buy, best value, or most affordable comprehensive national university by the Princeton Review, Kiplinger's and the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Nebraska takes great pride in our academic excellence, student life and affordability.

College Planning Resources


The EducationQuest Foundation is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Lincoln with a mission to improve access to higher education in Nebraska. EducationQuest provides free college planning services, need-based scholarships, college access grants for high schools, college access resources for middle schools and outreach services for community agencies. They have locations in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Scottsbluff. If you need help filing your FAFSA Form, EducationQuest is a great resource. EducationQuest also provides a free database that contains over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships through ScholarshipQuest.


TeamMates is a mentoring program that began in Nebraska under the leadership of Dr. Tom Osborne, former head football coach for Nebraska, and his wife Nancy. The program matches youth with mentors and offers scholarships to attend college.

College Possible

The College Possible organization has a location in Omaha that serves more than 700 area high school students through partner high schools. College Possible makes college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. College Possible has near-peer coaching, research-based curriculum, a peer support network and a commitment to college success.

Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA)

The Nebraska College Preparatory Academy prepares first-generation, low-income students from certain Nebraska high schools to achieve personal and academic excellence. NCPA provides academic counseling and support, leadership building and personal development throughout high school and college, as well as financial assistance to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. NCPA provides academic, social, and college preparation through the Pillars of Excellence: Knowledge, Character and Commitment.

College Financing Plan

The College Financing Plan is a template provided by the federal government used to present your financial aid offer. Nebraska participates and presents your College Financing Plan in MyRED. At Nebraska, we encourage you to view and monitor your comprehensive financial aid offer in MyRED. You will receive email updates when scholarships or financial aid is adjusted.

College Affordability and Transparency

The College Affordability and Transparency Center serves as a central point to several tools that allow you to compare college tuition and fees, net price and other characteristics. We encourage every prospective student to meet with faculty, tour campus and discuss their academic program with their admissions counselor or academic department. We also encourage you to ask questions about scholarships and financial aid as you determine the best financial fit. You can contact Husker Hub at Nebraska to ask questions related to the business of being a Husker, such as registration, scholarships, financial aid and billing.

College Affordability and Transparency

College Scorecard

The College Scorecard includes information, by college, about costs, graduation rates and average borrowing. It's designed to help you compare colleges and provides high-level information to help you begin your college search as you start applying. At Nebraska, we encourage you to ask many questions with your academic program. We want to ensure that you find a great academic and financial fit at Nebraska!

College Scorecard

College Navigator

The College Navigator is an interactive website that allows you to explore and compare different features of colleges, including programs and majors, admissions considerations, campus crime statistics and more.

College Navigator

Net Price Calculator

The Net Price Calculator is a tool to help you explore the net price of college after subtracting scholarships and grants you are estimated to receive. You can easily compare estimated net prices across institutions that you are considering.

Net Price Calculator

Education Savings Plans and Tax Credits

Qualified Tuition Programs (529 Plans)

A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. A 529 plan can help you save up to pay education-related expenses. Once you’re in college or career school and you withdraw money from your account to pay your education expenses, the money you withdraw will not be taxed. You can learn more about 529 plans through the College Savings Plans Network.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln accepts 529 plan payments to make a payment on a student account. For more information, visit our Bursar's Office website.

Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST)

529 plans are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Nebraska's 529 plan is the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, or NEST. Anyone can open an account to save for their loved one or themselves. View more information about how to open a NEST account.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

A Coverdell Education Savings Account allows up to $2,000 a year to be put aside for a student’s education expenses (elementary, secondary, or college or career school). For more information, you can talk to a personal financial advisor or your local bank to see if you qualify. View more information about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

You can take out a tax deduction for the interest paid on student loans that you took out for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent. This benefit applies to all loans (not just federal student loans) used to pay for higher education expenses.

UGMA and UTMA Accounts

The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and/or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts allow you to invest or transfer assets to a minor that can be used for their education. While these accounts are not specifically designed for financing college, many investors use them for this purpose because the assets become available to the minor when they reach a certain age.  Consult a financial planner or tax professional for more information.

Using IRA Withdrawals for College Costs

According to the IRS, you may withdraw from an IRA to pay higher education expenses for yourself, your spouse, your child, or your grandchild. If you do so, you will owe federal income tax on the amount withdrawn, but would not be subject to the early withdrawal penalty. Because these funds are reported on your taxes as income, if you are a parent on the FAFSA Form, these funds would also be reported on the FAFSA Form as income and may impact eligibility for future financial aid.

Other Higher Education Federal Tax Benefits*

There are two tax credits for higher education expenses that help offset the costs of college (tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment) by reducing the amount of your income tax:

  • (1) The American Opportunity Credit allows you to claim up to $2,500 per student per year for the first four years of school as the student works toward a degree or similar credential.
  • (2) The Lifetime Learning Credit allows you to claim up to $2,000 per student per year for any college or career school tuition and fees, as well as for books, supplies, and equipment that were required for the course and had to be purchased from the school.

    *Note: It is imperative to file a tax return regardless of your typical income level. Failure to do so may result in the loss of potential higher education tax credits, which could provide financial benefits. For further details, we recommend consulting a tax professional.