UNC System president calls for deadline extensions, flexibility in face of FAFSA delays

RALEIGH, N.C. —  In-state undergraduate tuition will remain flat for the eighth year at North Carolina’s 16 public universities.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors on Thursday approved tuition and fee proposals for the 2024-25 academic year, deciding to freeze resident undergraduate tuition rates for the eighth straight year. The decision comes as students face challenges with the rollout of the federal government’s streamlined Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Due to significant federal delays in FAFSA processing, University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans has advised UNC System campus leaders to consider a one-time extension of enrollment deposit deadlines. He also recommended offering flexibility to students who face payment challenges related to FAFSA delays, and called for increased communication and guidance to those who need support.

This year, FAFSA completion is particularly important to students who may benefit from the new Next NC Scholarship, which offers at least $5,000 to students from households earning $80,000 or less. That’s enough to cover half — if not all — of tuition and fees at University of North Carolina System institutions. About 55% of all North Carolina households would qualify for the Next NC Scholarship, according to data provided by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. The UNC System’s average annual resident tuition is $4,553 for undergraduates. That number is even lower at the System’s four NC Promise institutions, where in-state tuition is $1,000 per year.

“Our commitment to college affordability is unwavering,” Hans said. “For so many, higher education is a path to meaningful work, financial mobility and strong social and civic engagement. The UNC System will continue to hold the line on costs and keep its doors open to any qualified student who wishes to pursue a degree at our outstanding universities. My thanks to our institutions, boards of trustees, and the Board of Governors for their continued support of this goal.”

The UNC System in recent years has seen a steady decline in overall student debt. In 2016-17, 63% of in-state undergraduates held federal student loan debt at graduation. That percentage dropped to 55% in 2021-22.

UNC System institutions include:

  • Appalachian State University
  • East Carolina University
  • Elizabeth City State University*
  • Fayetteville State University*
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of North Carolina Asheville
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke*
  • University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Western Carolina University*
  • Winston-Salem State University

*NC Promise institution