Tuition and Financial Aid

Student Finances

Billing Policies

Charges for tuition and fees, on-campus housing, and meals are assessed on a semester basis. Billing statements will only be available online through the ConnectCarolina Student Center. Students are responsible for accessing their statements online and insuring they are paid on time. 

Any past due charges will result in a hold on registration and transcripts. Students must pay past due balances from prior terms before they will be allowed to register for future semesters. Students registering after the first tuition bill of the semester must either prepay tuition and fees or provide documented eligibility of financial aid to the Office of the University Cashier.

Students who are receiving financial aid are eligible to request a student aid deferment to extend their payment due date until after the initial financial aid disbursement of the semester. Deferments can only be requested in ConnectCarolina by the student before the due date on the first bill of each semester.

It is extremely important for students to refer to the Office of the University Cashier Web site prior to each term for announcements and up-to-date information, and to follow instructions concerning payment/deferment due dates to avoid registration cancellation.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for each academic year, including detailed information about the mandatory student fees, are published on the Office of the University Cashier Web site. Additional fees such as incoming student, special laboratory, and other designated program and course fees also may be charged.

A late registration fee of $20 is charged for registration on or after the first day of class for a term.

Authorized Users

Federal law (FERPA) restricts access to student information. Students can designate up to five people as authorized users to access their student account information, pay bills, and discuss the account with the Office of the University Cashier. Students and authorized users will receive a courtesy email notification each month when billing statements are available.

Payment Options

Payments can be made in person at the Office of the University Cashier, through the mail, or by check or credit card online. For up-to-date information on payment options, please visit the payments section of our Web site. Our returned check fee is $25.

Each student is responsible for payment of his or her University charges. If a third party sponsor will be paying the charges, the Office of the University Cashier must receive a written authorization from the third party well in advance so that a separate invoice can be sent to the proper agency or organization in order to ensure timely payment.

Financial Aid Refunds

The Office of the University Cashier encourages students who are receiving financial aid in excess of tuition, fees, housing, and meal plan costs to sign up for direct deposit as soon as possible. Excess funds from the account will be deposited to either a checking or savings account at the student’s bank. Students should also promptly update their direct deposit information if there are any changes to their banking information.

Please note that it can take up to seven working days to generate a paper check for those students who are receiving a financial aid refund and have not signed up for direct deposit.

Drop/Withdrawal Policies for Tuition and Fees

The last day to reduce a course load for credit on a student’s financial account is the tenth day of the semester, commonly referred to as the “census date.” Dropping the only course a student is registered for requires an official withdrawal.

In case of withdrawal from the University, tuition and fees will be prorated according to the withdrawal refund calendar posted on the Important Dates section of our Web site for that semester. The last date for credit on a student’s financial account for withdrawal is nine weeks after the first day of classes for the fall and spring semesters. If a student drops the only course he or she is taking, this constitutes a withdrawal from the University.

Fifty Percent Tuition Surcharge

Effective Fall 2010, undergraduate students seeking a baccalaureate degree at UNC–Chapel Hill are subject to a 50 percent tuition surcharge as required by the North Carolina General Statute Section 9.10.(b) §116-143.7. Session Law 2009-451. Further information about the Tuition Surcharge Policy can be found on the Web site for the Office of the University Registrar.

Tuition Guarantee Program

Effective Fall 2016, undergraduate students seeking a baccalaureate degree at UNC–Chapel Hill are eligible for fixed tuition as required by the North Carolina General Statute §116-143.9 and UNC Policy 1000.17, Policy for the Tuition Guarantee Program. Further information about the Tuition Guarantee Program can be found on the Web site for the Office of the University Registrar.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

For Undergraduates

The University works so that Carolina is affordable for all students. A combination of low tuition and strong financial aid helps put Carolina within reach, regardless of financial circumstances.

Students and families are expected to pay for college to the extent that they are able. Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study funds are provided to help those who cannot afford the full cost of attendance.

Aid comes from federal, state, University, and private sources, each with a particular set of rules and restrictions. Aid policies are guided by federal and state laws, donor wishes, and the University Committee on Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid.

Detailed information on scholarships and student aid can be found at the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Students and parents are also welcome to email aidinfo@unc.edu. We are here to help.

Applying for Financial Aid

Funds are limited, and the most helpful types of aid — University scholarships, campus jobs, and low-interest loans — are awarded first to students who apply by March 1.

If your tax and income information is not available by March 1, apply with your best estimates. You can make corrections later.

To apply for financial aid:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.
    UNC school code 002974
  2. Complete the CSS PROFILE by March 1.
    UNC school code 5816
  3. Monitor UNC email and regularly check ConnectCarolina for updates.

If we need more information, we will notify you by email. The sooner you respond and complete the application process, the more likely funding is available.

Applying for aid is an annual process, so you will need to reapply each year. The application is available, generally, by October 1 of the prior year.

Priority Deadline

Complete the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE by March 1 each year. Late forms are accepted, but aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Students should apply as early as possible, even before admission to Carolina in the case of new students. Reapply by March 1 each year.

Award Decisions

Financial aid offers for all students will begin in February. Students who apply after March 1 are notified as time permits and as resources allow. Awards for late-filing students may not arrive until after enrollment has begun.

Types of Need-Based Financial Aid

Scholarships, grants, and work-study do not have to be repaid; loans require repayment. Aid awards will include as much scholarship and grant aid as possible, with remaining need usually met by the offer of a loan, a work-study job, or both. Graduate and professional students will receive loans and/or work to meet any eligibility remaining after awards from schools or departments.

Students will always have the opportunity to reduce or decline loans before accepting an aid offer.

Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

To be eligible for financial aid, a student must be enrolled and making satisfactory academic progress in a degree or eligible certificate program. Information about the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy can be found at studentaid.unc.edu/sap. Once all requirements of a degree are met, students may no longer receive financial aid.

Aid is restricted if a student is in default on a loan previously received for college expenses or owes a refund on a grant or loan from an earlier enrollment period. Both resident and nonresident students are eligible for financial aid, though different University policies may apply.

The Carolina Covenant

The Carolina Covenant is offered to eligible undergraduates who have family income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and limited assets. Covenant Scholars have the opportunity to graduate debt-free through a combination of grants and work-study. Covenant Scholars also have access to faculty and staff mentors, enrichment activities, and other personal support services. No special application is necessary; eligible students will be notified after applying for financial aid. Details are on the Carolina Covenant Web site.

Federal Aid Programs

Rules for federal student aid are set by Congress. Eligibility is set by a federal formula that examines the income and assets of the student and family, household size, the number of people in college, taxes paid, and other factors. Scholarships and awards from private sources are also factored into the eligibility formula.

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides assistance to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. A Pell Grant will automatically be included as part of an eligible student’s financial aid package.

More detailed information is available at the Federal Student Aid Web site.

University Scholarships and Grants

Undergraduate students are considered for UNC-funded scholarships and grants, which do not have to be repaid, based on a detailed analysis of family financial circumstances. This may include home equity, other income, and family assets that may not have been considered in the calculation of federal aid. Institutional scholarship and grant funds are often combined with federal aid to provide a total package of financial aid.

The University also offers scholarship funding to enroll certain students with exceptional financial need who are likely to contribute to the intellectual experience and diversity of the undergraduate student body, as well as funds to assist eligible students who are residents of North Carolina and members of an Indian tribe recognized by the state or the federal government. No separate application is required; students will be considered based on their aid application and UNC admissions application.

Merit Scholarships

Each year the University offers a limited number of merit scholarships to entering first-year students. These highly competitive programs recognize academic achievement, leadership, commitment to service, and potential for success at the University. Most of these awards are based solely on merit; some consider a combination of financial need and academic merit.

Because Carolina is a highly selective university, competition for merit scholarships is strong. Only a very limited number of merit scholarships are awarded each year.

There is no separate application for UNC merit scholarships. Selection is based on the information provided in a student’s admission application. Merit scholarship finalists will be notified in early January (for early admissions applicants) and mid-March (for regular deadline applicants).

The Morehead-Cain and the Robertson scholarships are administered by private foundations and do require separate applications.

More information about the University’s merit scholarships — including the Johnston, Pogue, Carolina, and Colonel Robinson programs — can be found at the Scholars Program Web site.

Work-Study Employment

A limited number of work-study jobs are available to help students earn a portion of their University expenses. Most of these jobs are on campus, with a small number in community service agencies. Undergraduate work-study jobs require an average of 10 to 12 hours per week and pay more than the federal minimum wage. Graduate students may be assigned work-study assistantships, with teaching and research responsibilities in their departments or schools. Eligible students can apply for a variety of work-study jobs to match their skills and interests. There is no separate application for undergraduate students; simply apply for financial aid by March 1.

Need-Based Loans

The University administers a number of student loan programs, both federal and institutional, which provide low-interest, long-term loans to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are eligible for aid. Most financial aid packages to undergraduate students include loan offers, and the majority of aid to graduate and professional students is in the form of loans. Repayment of most loans begins six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Federal Perkins loans can be deferred and/or partially cancelled if the borrower is fulfilling certain categories of public service, such as teaching, military service, or service in the Peace Corps.

After a student applies for aid, the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid determines which type of loan is most appropriate based on student need and available funds . More information on loan programs can be found at the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid Web site.

Students always have the opportunity to reduce or decline loans when accepting a financial aid offer. Contact aidinfo@unc.edu with any questions.

Non-Need-Based Loans

Students not eligible for need-based aid, or who require funds beyond available need-based aid, may apply for unsubsidized federal loans. Unlike need-based loans, these programs have higher interest rates, and interest is generally not deferred. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available upon request, subject to certain borrowing limits. Overall loan limits for dependent undergraduate students from Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct Subsidized Loans are $5,500 for first-year students, $6,500 for sophomores, and $7,500 for juniors, seniors, and fifth-year students. Independent undergraduate students may borrow up to $9,500 for the first year, $10,500 for the second year, and $12,500 for the third and subsequent years. Graduate and professional students may receive up to $20,500 per year. Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans have an origination fee of 1.069 percent, deducted from each loan disbursement. Those interested in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans should contact the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

Parents of undergraduate students who do not receive need-based aid, or who need additional assistance, may apply for Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans. The interest rate on Parent PLUS Loans is 6.31 percent; an origination fee of 4.276 percent is charged. Repayment begins within 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan. More information is on the Federal Student Aid Web site.

Laptop Grants

All Carolina students are required to have a laptop computer. The University offers grants — in the form of a credit at Student Stores, which sells a variety of laptops — to cover the cost for qualifying first-year students who apply for financial aid.

Questions and Assistance

Financial aid counselors are ready to help. Visit the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid or email aidinfo@unc.edu to get in touch.

For Graduate Students

The Graduate School offers a variety of funding opportunities to assist graduate students in funding their graduate programs from admission through graduation. The Graduate School provides information and support to students applying for external fellowships, as well as providing fellowships and other direct financial support to graduate students, which supplements what the individual school or department provides. For updated information, please see The Graduate School's funding resources Web site.

Graduate Tuition Incentive Scholarship: Helps cover the remaining cost of in-state tuition for graduate students who are receiving external funding awards in support of their thesis or dissertation research

Graduate Student Opportunity Fund: Assists students with small, nonrecurring, unusual and unexpected academic expenses

Graduate Student Transportation Grant: Assists students with some of the transportation costs necessary for travel to a regional, national, or international academic conference or professional society meeting to present their dissertation research

The Graduate Funding Information Center is a resource for graduate students seeking information on funding sources for independent research, collaborative projects, fellowships, program development, and other scholarly activities.

If you have questions about funding, you are welcome to e-mail the Fellowships Office at gradfunding@unc.edu.

To receive alerts when funding opportunities are posted, subscribe to The Graduate School funding listserv.

Departmental Awards

Teaching and Research Assistantships

The majority of assistantships available to graduate students are awarded by academic schools and departments. Approximately 2,500 graduate, research, and teaching assistantships are available through specific departments. Graduate assistantships are also available through the University's various research institutes and centers. Stipends, responsibilities, selection criteria, and application and notification procedures vary from department to department. Applicants should discuss with the program to which they are applying the specific funding opportunities available to graduate students.

Federal/State Fellowships and Traineeships

A number of state and federally funded fellowships and traineeships are also available in some departments. Students must be pursuing graduate training in specified fields of study to be eligible for these awards. Interested students should request additional information from their academic departments.

Application Deadline

Prospective students may indicate when applying for admission their interest in an assistantship and should discuss application deadlines with their prospective departments.

If you have questions about departmental awards, please contact the department to which you are applying. A list of degree programs, together with contact information, is available on the Web.

Financial Aid

The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid works with graduate students who need financial aid to meet the costs of attending the University. Financial support may be available through small grants, from federal or private lender loan programs, and from the federal work-study program, in the form of hourly paid campus jobs.

To be eligible for financial aid programs administered by the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, a student must be enrolled in a degree program on at least a half-time basis, a United States citizen or permanent resident, making satisfactory progress toward completion of the academic program, and, if applicable, registered for Selective Service. The student may not be in default on a loan previously received for college expenses nor owe a refund on a scholarship, grant, or loan from a previous enrollment period.

Graduate students who wish to apply for financial aid to meet the costs of attending the University must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application should be completed online. However, a paper application may be obtained from high schools, most college financial aid offices, or in person at the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. In completing the FAFSA, the student must list UNC–Chapel Hill (code number 002974) as one of the schools to receive the FAFSA information. The information on the FAFSA will be analyzed by an agency contracted by the federal government. The agency will send information and an analysis of the student's eligibility for financial aid funds to both the student and to the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

A student should not wait for admission to a graduate program before applying for aid. An applicant should submit the FAFSA by March 1. If additional documentation is needed to complete a student's application for financial assistance, the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will notify the student. A student who completes the file promptly can expect to receive notice of an award decision early in June.