Freshman Jazlin Laboy said her high school prided itself in opening doors to respected universities, but she thought finances would keep her locked out.
After Laboy’s acceptance into UNC, she found out she qualified for Carolina Covenant, a program that allows undergraduate students whose family’s income is 200 percent or less of the federal poverty line to graduate debt-free from college. A student from a family of four entering the program in 2012 would have been eligible if his or her family made less than $44,700 that year.
“Without this program, I don’t think I’d be able to attend such a prestigious school,” she said. “I don’t feel totally lost here. I feel like (Carolina Covenant) was ready for me to be here.”
freshman Covenant scholars
transfer Covenant scholars
debt of a program participant
This year, more students than ever were accepted into the program. Out of the roughly estimated 3,960 freshmen, 517 are Carolina Covenant scholars, said Ashley Memory, assistant director of admissions.
When the program started in 2003, there were 224 scholars, and that number has risen each year, said Fred Clark, academic coordinator for the program.