University • Financial Aid •

January 27, 2022

UNL Financial Aid: A Complete Guide

Interested in attending UNL but unsure how to pay for it? Learn everything you need to know about UNL financial aid.

Interested in attending UNL but unsure how to pay for it? Learn everything you need to know about UNL financial aid.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a public research university located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s the oldest university and flagship institution of the 4-campus University of Nebraska system. 

If you're interested in applying to UNL but wondering how you'll pay for it, we've got you covered.

Let's look at the facts below.

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A snapshot look at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

UNL was established in 1869 in Lincoln—Nebraska’s capital—as a public, land-grant university only 2 years after Nebraska became a state. This makes it Nebraska’s oldest university.

UNL is just north of downtown Lincoln, offering an urban feel and location close to employers. It counts Warren Buffet as its most famous alumnus.

As of 2021, UNL had a total undergraduate enrollment of 20,478.

The university itself is organized into 8 colleges across two campuses:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

  • College of Architecture

  • College of Arts and Sciences

  • College of Business

  • College of Education and Human Sciences

  • College of Engineering

  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts

  • College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Altogether, these colleges offer over 150 majors, so there are plenty of academic opportunities here.

UNL also provides many graduate and pre-professional programs in some of its colleges:

  • College of Law

  • College of Business

  • College of Engineering

  • College of Education and Human Sciences

Campus life is huge at UNL, with over 400 student organizations. Greek Life is popular, with 40 on-campus fraternities and sororities.

Ranking: 133

Size: 20,478 (undergrad)

Demographics: 13,089 male, 12,301 female; 18,545 white, 1708 Hispanic, 707 Asian, 668 Black, 63 Native American, 14 Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

Tuition: $7,318 in-state; $21,871 out of state

Acceptance rate: 78%

Average GPA of accepted student: 3.59

Key dates and deadlines (2021)

  • Application: May 1

  • Financial aid deadlines: April 1 (FAFSA priority), June 30 (FAFSA regular)

A look at scholarships offered by UNL

Scholarships are a great way to cover the costs of attendance at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska!

UNL automatically considers every admitted student for academic scholarships based on GPA—no standardized test required. However, test scores can boost your chances and award amount.

UNL has many other scholarships available. If you’re interested in applying for any, you can see them all on UNL’s Admissions Office’s website

Altogether, you could earn between $500 and the full cost of tuition, depending on the scholarship.

There are also scholarships available outside of UNL.

For more on which scholarships you can apply for and how Mos can help, check out our financial aid tips and tricks.

Student loans

Student loans are another way to cover UNL’s cost of attendance.

However, you have to pay back your loans plus interest. Some loans don’t make you pay them back until after you leave school—whether you graduate, drop out, or fall below a certain enrollment level.

Others may require payback while in school.

Federal Direct Loans come from the federal government and are some of the most common loan types because of their protections and low interest rates. 

There are two types for undergraduates:

  • Subsidized: Interest doesn’t start building up until you leave the school and a 6-month grace period ends. Interest doesn’t build up if you defer your enrollment, either.

  • Unsubsidized: Interest starts building up immediately.

Neither type requires payments until your grace period ends. That way, you have time to find a job before paying back loans.

Private loans can bridge any gaps that federal loans and other forms of aid don’t cover. 

These tend to have higher interest rates and fewer protections than government loans, so you should be careful. Use up all your other aid options before getting private loans.

UNL’s student accounts department offers information about common student loan types on its financial aid website. The financial aid office can help as well.

For more help finding the right student loan for you, check out Mos and work with an advisor. 

Federal direct student loan types


Every student should fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible for each year they attend college. The federal government uses your FAFSA info to determine what federal aid you’re eligible for and how much.

Using the FAFSA, the government calculates your expected family contribution (EFC). They use that to decide how much money you qualify for.

You can fill out the FAFSA on October 1 before the academic year for which you’d like to file. The deadline is usually the last day of June of the year you attend. 

For example, if you’re filing for the 2021–2022 academic year, the first day you could have applied was October 1, 2020. The deadline is June 30, 2022.

UNL students from Nebraska can also qualify for the Nebraska Promise program if they fill out FAFSA by May 1 and meet other requirements.

This program covers all tuition to help Nebraska resident students with lower family incomes afford college.

For more on applying for FAFSA, including important dates and how to make sure your application is submitted successfully, head to Mos.

UNL financial aid FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about financial aid at UNL:

What is UNL’s cost of attendance?

UNL is a public school. That means Nebraska residents pay less tuition than out-of-state students.

UNL estimates the following annual costs of attendance for each type of student:

  • In-state: $20,064–26,250, depending on your living situation

  • Out-of-state: $37,194–$43,480, depending on your living situation

UNL cost of attendance

These costs are based on 15 credit hours per semester for undergrads.

How do I get considered for an academic scholarship at UNL?

Every student admitted to UNL is considered for academic scholarships based on their GPA—test scores aren’t necessary. 

However, the school recommends you still take the ACT or SAT because a high test score can offset a lower GPA and help you get the most money you qualify for.

Are there any other types of aid I can get to cover UNL’s cost of attendance?

There are a few other forms of aid:

  • Federal Pell Grant: A need-based form of aid you don’t have to pay back. This is part of your FAFSA offering.

  • Work-study: On-campus jobs awarded to students based on financial need. Your earnings help cover education expenses.

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Universities like UNL that you might be interested in

If you’d like to attend school in Nebraska but don’t feel UNL’s right for you, check out these schools.

University of Nebraska Omaha

The University of Nebraska Omaha is in Midtown Omaha, NE, about an hour northeast of Lincoln. Like UNL, it’s one of the more well-known University of Nebraska schools.

This school provides about 95 majors and offers a lower cost of attendance than UNL. 

University of Nebraska Kearney

The University of Nebraska Kearney is at the west end of Nebraska, located near the edge of Kearney, NE.

This University of Nebraska campus contains fewer than 7,000 undergrads. However, the 117 available undergrad majors still provide plenty of learning opportunities.

Creighton University

Creighton University is a private Jesuit university located in downtown Omaha, NE—just 10 minutes from UNO.

This school has about 8,821 students, making it smaller than UNL and other big-name Nebraska universities. However, it still provides over 140 academic programs and majors.

UNL alternatives


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has plenty to offer if you want to attend school in Nebraska. It’s one of the biggest schools in the Cornhusker State.

If you’re looking for the best way to pay for school, Mos can help!

With Mos, you can get help negotiating for more financial aid, apply for hundreds of scholarships and grants with ease, and even get help with writing scholarship essays. 

To get started, check out

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