The UNC System is proud to offer some of the most affordable opportunities in higher education anywhere in the nation. Still, a large percentage of students and families seek financial aid to help cover the total cost of attendance, including tuition, housing, textbooks, and program fees. 

Financial aid may come from federal, state, institutional, or private sources. Broadly speaking, assistance comes in two forms: gift aid (scholarships and grants that do not have to be repaid) and self-help funds (money borrowed or earned while in school). Gift aid can be awarded based on merit (e.g., academic or athletic achievement) or need. Self-help funds include loans (federal or private) and work opportunities on campus.

Institution Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office on each UNC System campus provides resources and support for students and families paying for college, including federal, state, and institutional aid. 

Next NC Scholarship

The Next NC Scholarship combines the federal Pell Grant and North Carolina’s state-funded financial aid program to form a simplified scholarship award that’s easier to understand and makes higher education more affordable for most North Carolinians.

Eligible students attending a public university in North Carolina will receive at least $5,000 to cover tuition and fees and students attending a community college will receive at least $3,000. Applying is simple! Just submit the FAFSA form and, if you’re eligible, you’ll receive the Next NC Scholarship.

NC Promise

Through the NC Promise Tuition Plan, students can attend four UNC System institutions for only $500 per semester: Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University. 

Scholarships and Funded Opportunities

Most scholarships awarded through the UNC System are given by institutions. However, the UNC System does offer a few scholarships and paid internship opportunities to help students and employees pay for their education.

You can also find scholarship opportunities funded by organizations outside the UNC System. High school counseling offices can provide valuable information regarding local and statewide scholarships. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor hosts a national scholarship search tool and the College Foundation of North Carolina has a page dedicated to helping students pay for college.