UNO Fund Scholarship Stories – Matthew Beckmann
As a full-time social worker, Matthew Beckmann works every day to assist those who most need support. In the course of working on behalf of these individuals, he also navigates a social safety-net system that is incredibly complex and has what he sees as significant flaws.
Matthew wants to change that and currently is taking the first steps to do so by pursuing his bachelor’s degree through the University of Nebraska at Omaha, with emphases in social work, business administration, and psychology.
“I feel like, as a social worker at this level, I can’t make changes.” he said, “So in a perfect world, I’ll keep on going through — I’m planning on getting my master’s degree — so hopefully I can actually make some of the changes I would like to see.”
Matthew’s ambitions are matched by his determination. Both he and his wife, a registered nurse, work full-time in North Platte, Nebraska. The couple have two sons, one 4 years old and one 5 months. To support his family as well as make a difference in his field, Matthew wanted to continue his education. But unfortunately, he found few options close to home that would let him pursue his chosen field.
Initially, Matthew looked at a nearby community college but found the experience discouraging. He decided to explore distance education options. After researching the offerings at most of the major universities in Nebraska, he decided to enroll in UNO’s online multidisciplinary studies program in the fall of 2021.
“I talked with the advisers at UNO quite a bit before I made my decision, and they definitely were amazing through the entire process and kind of told me what I could expect,” Matthew said. “Honestly, this last year and a half that I’ve completed the program with UNO, they’ve been there basically every step of the way. It has been great.”
Shortly after enrolling and starting classes at UNO, Matthew learned he would be one of the recipients of the UNO Fund scholarship, which provides financial assistance thanks to the generosity of alumni and others who donated to the UNO Fund.
While UNO has many scholarships, the UNO Fund for Student Scholarships are the only ones that see hundreds of alumni and supporters come together and make gifts — last year gifts ranged from $5 to $15,000 — to give directly back to students. Thanks to UNO Fund donors, UNO was able to offer Matthew a renewable scholarship to cover much of his tuition through his expected graduation in May 2023.
“When I received the message that I was going to get a scholarship, it definitely made my wife and me very happy,” Matthew said. “With two kids, we’re both working full-time jobs. But it’s definitely been difficult to work extra or really do anything extra because we’re so tight to the wall with our budgets right now. Getting the extra money just to be able to take a breath and actually pay off some different things because of the scholarship has definitely made a massive difference in our quality of life. I’m able to focus more on school because I’m not trying to work 40 hours a week plus more overtime so I can cover the different expenses.”
Matthew has been able to continue working and taking distance classes and is now on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree from UNO. After that, he hopes to pursue his master’s degree in social work, which is also offered by UNO as an online program.
Matthew said the UNO Fund scholarship helped propel him toward the finish line, and he wished to express his gratitude to every donor to the fund, no matter the size of their gift.
“My wife and I are both so incredibly thankful for this opportunity,” Matthew said. “The donors that are contributing are providing an avenue for people that are not financially able to go through UNO, and I feel like the benefits that you provide are just so incredible. To be able to give that opportunity to prospective students is just an absolute gift. We couldn’t imagine trying to do it without the scholarship. We are so incredibly, incredibly grateful.”
You can help bring more students like Matthew to UNO. The more people who give, the more scholarships we can award to students who need and deserve them. Make your gift of $25, $50, $100, or more to the UNO Fund today. https://unofund.org