Nebraska’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Nebraska.

Nebraska’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Nebraska

Students can choose from 29 higher learning institutions, including community colleges, technical institutes, religious colleges, and public universities. Of the 15 public campuses, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is the largest, with over 22,000 students. Coming in under the national average, the university’s tuition rate is $9,000, and students can earn their degree in fields such as law, mathematics, communication, and sociology.

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The most affordable schools in the state are its six community colleges with tuition ranging from $3,000 to $4,000. Nebraska also has 12 religiously affiliated institutions, including those with Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Lutheran influences. At $40,000 in tuition, Creighton University is both the largest and most expensive of these schools, and it boasts a 95% employment rate after graduation.

As one of the largest corn producers in the country, it’s no wonder Nebraska’s nickname is The Cornhusker State. The state is also home to an unusual monument — Carhenge. Replicating England’s famous Stonehenge, this structure is made out of vintage American automobiles that have been painted gray and lodged into the ground. With the Great Plains, over 20,000 square miles of sand dunes, and a portion of the Badlands, Nebraska offers a unique setting for students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Mental health, dental, and other health care professionals working in shortage areas can apply for loan repayment awards through the Nebraska Loan Repayment Program. Doctors and dentists may qualify for up to $200,000.

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What are Nebraska’s Colleges & Universities?

Nebraska’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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How do we determine Nebraska's best private colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 10 private universities in Nebraska, 9 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best private universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in Nebraska

  1. #1

    Creighton University

    #531 institution's historical influence
    #247 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1260/26

    Omaha, NE

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    What is Creighton University known for?

    Creighton University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • History
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Doane University

    #4417 institution's historical influence
    #362 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Crete, NE

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    What is Doane University known for?

    Doane University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Nebraska Wesleyan University

    #1902 institution's historical influence
    #1105 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/25

    Lincoln, NE

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    What is Nebraska Wesleyan University known for?

    Nebraska Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Hastings College

    #3376 institution's historical influence
    #717 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Hastings, NE

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    What is Hastings College known for?

    Hastings College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Union College

    #4830 institution's historical influence
    #517 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Lincoln, NE

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    What is Union College known for?

    Union College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Midland University

    #4070 institution's historical influence
    #1322 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Fremont, NE

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    What is Midland University known for?

    Midland University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Concordia University Nebraska

    #10032 institution's historical influence
    #1076 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1204/23

    Seward, NE

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    What is Concordia University Nebraska known for?

    Concordia University Nebraska’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    York College

    #9223 institution's historical influence
    #199 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    York, NE

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    What is York College known for?

    York College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    College of Saint Mary

    #4487 institution's historical influence
    #170 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    1K

    Omaha, NE

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    What is College of Saint Mary known for?

    College of Saint Mary’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

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