July 1 marks the first day that Nebraska's community colleges can begin offering financial assistance to low-income students through the Community College Gap Assistance Program.
The program’s primary goal is to address workforce shortages in high-need occupations in Nebraska, as well as to train those already employed in these in-demand areas and increase their advancement potential. Community colleges can award financial aid to students taking non-credit courses that could lead to jobs in one of these occupations. These students would not be eligible for federal financial aid because they’re enrolled in non-credit courses.
The Coordinating Commission administers the program, which is funded through revenue from the Nebraska State Lottery. The program will receive 9 percent of the available lottery funds set aside for education every year, which equates to about $1.4 million for fiscal year 2016-17.
Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln championed legislation that created the program during the 2015 legislative session.
Interested students should contact their local community college for more information about program offerings and availability of funds. College contact information is available on the Gap program homepage.