Competing to Keep Our Best & Brightest Kids on Team Nebraska


Governor Jim Pillen

By Governor Jim Pillen and University of Nebraska Interim President Chris Kabourek

In Nebraska, we never give up on a kid. Our kids are our future. That’s why we need to do everything we can to encourage our young people to get an education, start their careers and put down roots right here in the great state of Nebraska.

That’s the thinking behind the newly launched Presidential Scholars Program. It covers the full cost of undergraduate attendance at the University of Nebraska, plus stipends, for any Nebraska kid who scores a perfect 36 on the ACT.

Just like the Huskers compete hard for homegrown, 5-star athletes like Jordy Bahl and Britt Prince, we’re going to compete equally hard to keep our top-tier academic talent from getting away. This initiative lets them know: We want you on Team Nebraska!

As lifelong Nebraskans hailing from Platte and Butler counties, respectively, we knew this was the place we could chase our dreams, raise our families and pursue ample opportunities. We want young Nebraskans – the next generation – to have those same opportunities. To keep top talent within our state, we need to get more competitive with other states in providing scholarships. With the President’s Scholarship, we’ll make sure Nebraska is at the top of the list for those smart and hard-working kids.

Since the announcement of the program, positive messages have poured in.  One father shared his 13-year-old daughter was set on attending another school but has now experienced a change of heart. Those are the kinds of stories we want to hear.

Our vision extends beyond students who score a 36. As parents, we know that one test doesn’t decide the future. They don’t have to ace the ACT to be the next great cancer doctor, teacher, rancher. We would like to expand the program, so those who score near the top, are also not left out.  Our message to every student, no matter their circumstance is — if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard, there’s a spot for you on Team Nebraska!

To the parents, teachers, coaches and mentors out there – help us spread the word and give those kids the encouragement they need to find their life’s journey in their home state of Nebraska. We promise, you won’t regret it.