Children of Nebraska’s 16,000 state employees will get 100% reimbursement for 2 years tuition at Nebraska’s community colleges.
Gov Pete RIcketts unveiled the new program at a news conference Monday.
Ricketts said the state strives to be a preferred employer and is continuously upgrading benefits with the new program making career-focused higher education even more affordable.
An estimated 1,000 children will be eligible the first year of the program, which was approved earlier this year by the legislature. They must enter community college by their 25th birthday and complete their studies by age 27.
The community colleges will give the students a 25% discount with the state covering the other 75% after scholarships and other financial aid have been applied to their bill.
Nebraska Department of Administrative Services Director Jason Jackson says the program is the latest attempt by the state to stay competitive in a tight labor market and record-low unemployment.
The state has increased wages for workers in state prisons and other 24/7 state facilities, but Jackson says“We need to do things that differentiate us as an employer.”
Southeast Community College President Paul Illich says participants in the tuition reimbursement program could help fill a statewide shortage of skilled workers in fields such as health care, construction and information technology.
Illich adds that the program will help keep the state’s next generation hear because 90% of Nebraska community college graduates stay in the state.