"In a recession, we often see students who have an unanticipated need for financial aid arise after awards have been made, and we've had limited resources to help them," Milliken said. "We can't predict what the economy will do, but it's likely that this will be a difficult year for some Nebraska families and we want to be in a position to help them."
The new fund will be an important complement to the University's Collegebound Nebraska tuition assistance program, which in 2008-09 provided more than $3.5 million in assistance to 4,300 lower-income Nebraska resident students. Collegebound Nebraska promises that any Nebraska resident undergraduate student who is eligible for a federal Pell Grant and meets NU admission requirements can attend the University of Nebraska and pay no tuition. Early indications from financial aid officers on the campuses indicate that participation in Collegebound Nebraska will increase significantly this year. Unlike Collegebound Nebraska, however, the new relief fund will not require students to file for federal financial aid – the deadline for which was April 1. "We understand that circumstances can sometimes change quickly and dramatically," Milliken said. "We'll look at this on a case-by-case basis to determine what assistance the university can provide." Funds can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
To be eligible for the fund, students will have to provide evidence of financial hardship and must have exhausted other financial aid avenues available to them