With an increasing proportion of jobs requiring an advanced education, the state depends on the three-campus University of Nebraska, three other state colleges, five community colleges and more than a dozen private colleges to supply its businesses with trained workers — and to prepare its citizens for satisfying careers.
Nationally famous for its Big Ten athletic achievements, the 26,000-student University of Nebraska–Lincoln is also an educational and research institution often rated among the nation’s best in delivering most “bang for the buck” when paying for a college education. UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management develops leaders for this era of information technology and business globalization.
The University of Nebraska-Omaha provides an urban student environment for another 15,000 students, including almost 900 from other countries.
Also in Omaha, the University of Nebraska Medical Center serves 3,700 students in more than two dozen programs. Its physician-assistant program was ranked ninth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and its primary-care program was ranked 17th.
Yet a third part of the university system is the University of Nebraska–Kearney, with 7,000 students, including 1,000 in its graduate programs.
Also operated by the state for four-year students and graduate students are Chadron State College in Chadron, Peru State College in Peru and Wayne State College in Wayne.
Meanwhile, the state’s five community colleges offer associate degrees to start a student off on higher education at a low price while also offering technical training in fields such as nursing and truck driving.
“Surveys show that a shortage of trained workers is the No. 1 issue for Nebraska businesses,” according to Jamie Karl, vice president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He said the community colleges provide a key tool in closing that gap by training Nebraskans in 21st-century skills.
The system includes:
- Central Community College, serving 25 counties from campuses in Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings plus extended centers at Holdrege, Kearney and Lexington.
- Metropolitan Community College serving Omaha and its suburbs from eight locations.
- Mid-Plains Community College has two main campuses in North Platte and one in McCook, plus extended campuses in Broken Bow, Imperial, Oglalla and Valentine.
- Northeast Nebraska Community College, based in Norfolk, also has extended campuses in West Point, O’Neill and South Sioux City.
- Western Nebraska Community College, in the state’s panhandle, has campuses in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Sidney.
Private and church-related colleges include:
- Bellevue University in Bellevue
- Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln
- Clarkson College in Omaha
- College of Saint Mary in Omaha
- Concordia University in Seward
- Creighton University in Omaha
- Doane University in Crete
- Hastings College in Hastings
- Midland University in Fremont
- Nebraska Christian College in Papillon
- Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln