The University of Nebraska-Kearney wants more Colorado students to see this sign heading east.

Starting next fall, The University of Nebraska-Kearney will offer in-state tuition to Colorado and Kansas residents in an effort to recruit more out-of-state students.

UNK’s Advantage Scholarship will save Colorado and Kansas students almost $28,000 in tuition over the course of four years. The scholarship will have no limit as to how many students can receive it as long as the students stay in good academic standing.

“We’ve sent a tremendous number of alums to Kansas and Colorado and particularly the Front Range in Colorado,” said Ed Scantling, UNK’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management. “So it felt like that was a good place for us to start.”  

Over the last few years, UNK has seen a drop in enrollment across the board. But Scantling said UNK has had success with pulling students from the Front Range in the past, making it a good option to test the scholarship.

UNK hopes to eventually expand this scholarship to more states. Other universities have similar programs — particularly ones in the midwest states who struggle to keep up with the competitive enrollment around the country — like Kansas and Missouri, he said.

“The competition for quality students has probably never been more fierce,” Scantling said.

The University of Colorado Boulder does not offer in-state tuition to any out-of-state students because they are confident in their current recruitment tactics, said Colleen Newman, CU’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

But Newman also acknowledged the rising competitive climate in undergraduate admissions. The Rocky Mountain region is particularly competitive, she said, because of the steady high school graduation rates. This causes universities around the country to place regional recruiters “here in our backyard,” Newman said.

“There’s at least, I believe the number is about 40 regional admissions counselors based here in Colorado and that causes an increase in competition,” Newman said.   

Scantling praised Colorado’s students, saying they do very well at UNK. But he’d like to start seeing more of an even trade between the states.

“Boy, we’ve sent a lot of our kids to Colorado after they graduate,” Scantling said. “We’d like to start getting some of those high school kids from Colorado to come to Nebraska.”