Best Colleges in Nebraska

The higher education experts at reviewed the top 4-year colleges in the state of Nebraska. Start planning for your future today.
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Updated on July 6, 2023
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska featured a low 3.1% unemployment rate as of November 2019. This figure usually indicates more open positions than available candidates; as a result, employers must offer competitive benefits and salaries and consider more applicants.

Nebraska residents can use this opportunity to switch companies or start a career in one of the state's largest employment sectors, such as healthcare, education, or management. However, to obtain one of these financially lucrative and personally fulfilling jobs, most need a college degree.

Top 10 Colleges in Nebraska

  1. University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE
  2. Clarkson College - Omaha, NE
  3. College of Saint Mary - Omaha, NE
  4. Creighton University - Omaha, NE
  5. Concordia University-Nebraska - Seward, NE
  6. University of Nebraska at Kearney - Kearney, NE
  7. York College - York, NE
  8. Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln, NE
  9. Union College - Lincoln, NE
  10. University of Nebraska at Omaha - Omaha, NE

Choosing the right Nebraska college or university can seem overwhelming, especially if you have no experience with higher education. Below, we highlight the 15 best colleges and universities in Nebraska to help you select the right school and program to meet your personal and professional goals.

The following ranking contains valuable information concerning schools' academic programs, extracurricular activities, student services, and application requirements, as well as other details that can help you make an informed decision.

Visit the embedded links to learn more about each school. Admissions counselors can answer any additional questions you may have about specific programs.

Best Accredited Colleges in Nebraska

Best Colleges in Nebraska

  1. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Lincoln, NE



    The oldest public university in the state, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln enrolls over 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students on its Lincoln campuses and online. The university's 10 colleges award degrees in a wide range of fields, including journalism, law, and architecture.

    For undergraduates, nearly all majors feature over a dozen optional minors. Most graduate programs at this Nebraska university also include both master's and doctoral tracks.

    From the day degree-seekers start a program, they can access Nebraska's knowledgeable career coaches. These highly trained professionals work with students to discover academic strengths and possible career paths. Coaches also help learners explore internship opportunities in the Lincoln area.

    Like many public colleges and universities on this ranking, Nebraska accepts GED scores. Other application materials include ACT or SAT scores.

    All incoming students apply for scholarship opportunities by submitting FAFSA results. However, some competitive scholarships also require a one-page essay.

  2. Clarkson College

    Omaha, NE



    A private institution located in Omaha, Clarkson College affiliates with the Episcopal Church. The college's nine academic departments award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates in areas such as community health and radiography. Some programs -- such as education and leadership -- feature an entirely online curriculum with courses capped at 25 students.

    Although smaller than other schools on this ranking, Clarkson College provides many opportunities to complement learners' degrees. Students can select from more than a dozen study abroad programs, and honor societies recognize academically gifted learners who volunteer in the local community.

    Clarkson College accepts new students in the spring and fall semesters. Applicants should have a minimum 2.5 high school GPA and a score of at least 20 on the ACT. However, transfer students do not submit standardized test scores.

    Scholarships vary in amount and only consider incoming degree-seekers with a minimum 3.4 high school or undergraduate GPA. This Nebraska college also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which reduces tuition for active-duty military personnel and veterans.

  3. College of Saint Mary

    Omaha, NE



    The only women's college on this ranking, the College of St. Mary boasts a 10-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

    The school offers approximately 30 undergraduate majors in fields such as the humanities, psychology, and theology. Graduate programs prepare learners for careers as physician assistants, educators, and physical therapists. High school students who live near campus can participate in a dual-credit program in which they take college-level courses without leaving school.

    CSM delivers many student services, including the Single Parent Success program to help young parents find health and education resources for their children. This Nebraska college also offers on-campus childcare at the Spellman Child Development Center and hosts numerous parenting workshops throughout the year.

    CSM does not accept GED scores, and applicants should have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and a score of at least 18 on the ACT or 870 on the SAT. Merit-based scholarships award between $2,000 and $6,000 per year. Student-athletes and incoming degree-seekers majoring in a STEM field may qualify for additional scholarship opportunities.

  4. Creighton University

    Omaha, NE



    A Jesuit university situated in Omaha, Creighton University educates nearly 9,000 students. The university's 10 schools award terminal degrees in medicine, dentistry, and law. All undergraduate degree-seekers complete the Magis Core Curriculum, rigorous courses that impart knowledge and skills relevant to nearly all careers as well as graduate school.

    Each year, Creighton hosts a special Welcome Week to introduce new learners to campus life and instill community values. Student engagement opportunities include dozens of clubs and organizations, fraternities and sororities, and an on-campus recreation and wellness center. Degree-seekers who need tutoring resources can visit Creighton EDGE at any point during the academic year.

    Prospective students can attend a webinar that explains the application process. Creighton does not charge an application fee, and applicants should have a high school diploma. Other required materials include an essay and a high school counselor evaluation. Graduate program admission requirements vary by program.

    This Nebraska university awards dozens of scholarships to freshmen and transfer students. Some scholarships use a separate application.

  5. Concordia University-Nebraska

    Seward, NE



    From its Seward campus, Concordia University - Nebraska enrolls over 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students. This Nebraska university delivers 27 entirely online bachelor's and master's degrees in areas such as curriculum and instruction, leadership, and special education. On-campus learners can personalize a degree by completing a minor or earning a teaching endorsement.

    The Luke Scholars Program at Concordia offers many benefits, including a faith-based curriculum. Throughout the program, honors students receive one-on-one academic support, tuition waivers, and study abroad grants. In their final year, degree-seekers complete a two-semester capstone experience.

    Prospective undergraduates submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Concordia considers transfer credit on a case-by-case basis. Graduate school applicants must submit a resume and letter of intent.

    Available merit-based scholarships award up to $21,000 per year and renew as long as degree-seekers maintain a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA.

  6. University of Nebraska at Kearney

    Kearney, NE



    The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers degrees and certificates to prepare graduates for in-demand careers in fields such as education and healthcare. The university's 19 pre-professional programs feature a rigorous liberal arts education and emphasize the courses students need to enter graduate school.

    Prospective distance education learners can select from dozens of entirely online bachelor's and master's programs.

    UNK features multiple programs that help degree-seekers succeed academically. The Handshake and First-Year programs introduce freshmen to the university's many resources for academic support and career planning. Students can access additional resources when they become upperclassmen, including mock interviews and resume critiques.

    UNK accepts GED scores, and all prospective students should take the ACT or SAT. This Nebraska university requires that transfer credit reflect a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    In-state students save approximately 60% on tuition compared to out-of-state learners. Incoming degree-seekers with an excellent high school GPA and standardized test scores may qualify for the UNK Board of Regents Scholarship, which awards full tuition.

  7. York College

    York, NE



    With only 425 students, York College offers some of the smallest class sizes of any college or university on this ranking. Popular undergraduate degrees at this Nebraska college include biblical studies, criminal justice, and engineering.

    YC boasts two entirely online master's degrees in education and organizational and global leadership. Degree-seekers can also study abroad in Vienna during the summer term.

    YC affiliates with the Church of Christ, and the college makes spiritual life a cornerstone of students' experiences outside the classroom. Chapel services take place each day, and the York Campus Ministry provides learners with one-on-one spiritual guidance. Additionally, overseas mission trips allow degree-seekers to make a positive impact in an international setting while spreading the Christian faith.

    Prospective students should have a high school diploma and ACT or SAT scores. All incoming learners apply for financial aid by submitting FAFSA results. YC boasts many merit-based scholarships and need-based grants, some of which award up to $5,500 per year.

  8. Nebraska Wesleyan University

    Lincoln, NE



    From its Lincoln campus, Nebraska Wesleyan University educates more than 2,000 students through numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learners can pursue bachelor's degrees, including four accelerated undergraduate programs NWU created for working professionals. These degrees boast online and evening courses, as well as new courses that start every eight weeks.

    Graduate degrees at this Nebraska university prepare learners for careers in business, education, and nursing.

    Academically motivated high school juniors and seniors can apply to NWU's dual-credit program. Applicants should possess a B+ average, and these students can take college courses in a high school setting and pay a reduced per-credit tuition rate. Additionally, dual-credit learners do not pay university fees or textbook expenses.

    Application requirements include a high school diploma and prerequisite courses. All incoming learners submit FAFSA results, and in-state students receive the $12,000 Nebraska-Strong Grant. Other merit-based scholarships award up to $22,000 per year, meaning that some degree-seekers pay no tuition or fees.

  9. Union College

    Lincoln, NE



    Union College offers degree-seekers bachelor's programs across eight academic divisions.

    A Christian university rooted in the Seventh Day Adventist tradition, Union features a major in religion with optional minors in business, mission service, and pastoral care. Students can also major in theology with an emphasis in either biblical languages or youth ministries. Learners who earn either degree qualify for advanced education to become a high school teacher, pastor, or marriage and family therapist.

    On-campus spiritual enrichment activities bring students and faculty together. Learners attend weekly religious services and can choose from many faith-based clubs. Meanwhile, the Union Scholars Honors program includes small class sizes, cultural and social activities, and special scholarships for textbooks, travel, and research.

    This top Nebraska college welcomes homeschooled students. Additionally, Union provides incoming learners with multiple scholarship opportunities. For example, the Board of Trustees Scholarship awards full tuition, and transfer students may qualify for up to $7,000 per year in merit-based scholarships.

  10. University of Nebraska at Omaha

    Omaha, NE



    The University of Nebraska at Omaha enrolls over 15,000 students across more than 200 academic programs. Undergraduates can select an optional concentration or minor to pair with their major, while many programs -- such as emergency management and informational technology -- boast online learning options. The university's three Omaha campuses also offer recently updated facilities and new dormitories.

    UNO's Academic Advising Council trains faculty on how to provide excellent academic and career planning advice. The university also offers a search engine that allows students to research and select an advisor. Other valuable student services at UNO include campus recreation centers and a course that introduces first-year learners to academic success skills.

    UNO accepts GED scores but requires that all applicants for undergraduate programs complete specific high school prerequisite courses. Each academic department has unique GPA requirements for transfer students.

    The Regents Scholarships awards full tuition to incoming degree-seekers with a minimum 30 ACT score and a high school GPA of 3.25 or above.

Click here to see the best community colleges in Nebraska.