Nebraska Wesleyan University is committed to helping talented students find a path to a college degree. The private college in Lincoln, Nebraska has made college more affordable for students in the metro by providing 12 high school seniors in College Possible a full-tuition Access NWU Scholarship each year.
“Diversity in the classroom challenges us and forces us to grow as a university. It’s important to show students there are many opportunities available. Hardships don’t have to determine success in the future,” said Cece Abbey, NWU Assistant Director of Admissions.
Recently, NWU saw a greater need to support more students, so starting this year, the tuition scholarship will be awarded to all eligible students.
“We realized we weren’t helping as many as we wanted to, and we saw Covid as a way to help more students. So, we are granting all eligible students full-tuition to Nebraska Wesleyan,” she said.
The Access NWU Scholarship covers funding for full-time, Pell-eligible students after state and federal funds are applied, and students are eligible for up to four years provided they maintain full-time status, carry a 2.0 GPA or higher, and file a FAFSA prior to March 1 each year.
“The whole college search process —finding the right school, right program, right price —it can be very overwhelming. We’re here to find a way to make it work. We’re here to make it happen,” Cece said. At NWU, 98% of students receive financial aid.
Matthew Brown is freshman at Nebraska Wesleyan who was able to attend thanks to the Access Scholarship.
“I was able to get the Access Scholarship through College Possible. It’s a huge scholarship, and it was nice to receive it and not have to worry about loans payments,” said the Omaha Northwest High School alum.
Matthew is studying studio arts and graphic design and taking classes including intermediate digital design, art history, and sculpting. Not only did NWU have his art program, but he was able to join the baseball team as well.
“We’re the lucky ones to have College Possible students come and make an impact in our community. We’re receiving students from College Possible who are very prepared for college,” Cece said.
College students, especially first generation, often need to meet with faculty and their professors after class or during office hours for assistance. Students in College Possible are comfortable speaking up.
“They’re accustomed to meeting someone with authority, like their coaches, and they come in with a higher degree of confidence,” she said.
Matthew liked NWU for its size and location; he gets to enjoy the benefits or a smaller campus with the amenities of a larger town. He is impressed with the faculty, too.
“Within each department, professors are highly skilled and professional and you get to build a bond, which is nice. Student involvement on campus is also a focus this year. Everyone has been hosting small events to get students involved and motivated.”
Matthew joined College Possible as a junior in high school to prepare for college and to be part of a community.
“College Possible was a way to make friends while learning about college. I got to meet new people, make friendships and make connections with students and my mentor. The benefits of the program is not only academics, but building relationships,” he said.
The most popular programs for students at NWU are medicine and theater arts, Cece said, and study abroad is another attractive program. Nationwide only 2 percent of the eligible students are able to study abroad, but at NWU about about 33% of students take advantage of that opportunity.
“The medical programs are by far one of the top programs that we offer, and over the last 15 years our medical school placement rate has been 85%.
Other information about the Access Scholarship
To qualify, a student must: apply and be admitted to NWU; be a Nebraska resident; be federal Pell Grant eligible as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); be a first-year, first-time student from Nebraska; carry a full-time academic course load of 12-18 credit hours per semester
Outside scholarships, family financial resources, unsubsidized federal student loans and on-campus work-study may be used for additional educational expenses, such as room and board, fees and books.
The Access NWU Scholarship program fully funds tuition through federal, state and NWU merit-based and need-based aid for Nebraska students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant. The program will serve most students whose family adjusted gross incomes are at or below $60,000.
After sending a scholarship award letter to a student, NWU staff goes over the details of the financial aid with the student line-by-line. Cost is a big factor, especially for students from low-income backgrounds, Cece said.
“We want students to have a very independent understanding of their financial aid and scholarships. Students should feel like they made a really well informed decision and feel really proud.”