Proposed scholarships include support for University of Nebraska students

by Melissa Lee, University of Nebraska | January 09, 2019

Image with caption: University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, Ph.D.

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, Ph.D.

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, Ph.D., joined Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday for the announcement of a proposed new state scholarship program that would provide support for 250 NU students annually majoring in critical workforce areas.

The proposed Nebraska Talent Scholarships would provide $4,000 annual awards for university students in math, engineering, health care, computer information systems, and at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, according to the governor's office. The initiative also would provide 250 scholarships annually to the Nebraska State College System, and 65 scholarships per year to Nebraska community college students.

Other details of the program would still need to be determined. Gov. Ricketts said Monday that it would be up to the higher education institutions to administer the awards.

The scholarships will be included in the governor's proposed 2019-21 state budget package, which he will unveil on Jan. 15 and then send to the Legislature for deliberation. The body convenes on Wednesday.

Dr. Bounds noted that in his travels across the state, business leaders consistently tell him that workforce shortages are their most urgent challenge. He said Nebraska needs to increase the number of students enrolled in higher education and attract significantly more talent to the state to ensure economic growth -- particularly in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand areas that are key to long-term prosperity.

Dr. Bounds said he looks forward to continuing to work with the governor, Legislature, business leaders, higher education colleagues and other partners across the state on plans for Nebraska's future.

"I'm pleased that the governor recognizes there is a workforce crisis in Nebraska," he said. "Affordable, outstanding higher education for students and families is a critical part of the solution. Gov. Ricketts' proposal is a step in the right direction."

Gov. Ricketts said: "Connecting Nebraskans to great job opportunities and helping our people develop the skills they need to take great jobs is critical to growing our state. These new initiatives will help more Nebraskans find the pathway to a great career. I look forward to working with the Legislature on these measures as a part of the budget recommendation I will be making next week."

The complete announcement on Monday's proposals from the governor's office is available here. Nebraska State College System Chancellor Paul Turman, Nebraska Community College Association Executive Director Greg Adams, and private sector representatives also spoke at the public announcement.

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