Grant-based financial aid on rise at UNC

The University provided more financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships in the 2010-11 school year, a trend that helps ease student debt after graduation, administrators said.

In 2010-11, 74 percent of students’ financial need was met through grants and scholarships.

Amid the highest tuition hikes in school history, Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, said there has never been a time when more students were interested in financial aid.

The number of undergraduate students who demonstrated need and received it, has increased significantly from 2009, rising from 37 to 43 percent.

Professor Charles Daye, chairman of the committee on scholarships, awards and student aid, presented the annual report on financial aid for the 2010-11 school year at the committee’s spring meeting Wednesday.

From 2009-10 to 2010-11, the share of student financial need that was met by grants and scholarships increased by 4 percent.

“We were pleased that even though costs went up, support was consistent and kept up with the trend,” said Shirley Ort, associate provost and director in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

The share of students who received financial aid in the form of loans decreased from 27 percent to 24 percent, and the percentage participating in work-study decreased by only 1 percent.

Borrowing by students has been kept at a minimum, and students had less cumulative loan debt last year.

Ort said the changes are remarkable given the state of the economy.

Federal and state aid accounted for approximately 56 percent of the University’s financial aid funding last year, but Daye said both the federal share and state share declined, with private donors and outside scholarships making up the difference.

Students also brought in $4 million from outside scholarships, and they were very active in attempting to get additional aid, Ort said.

At the meeting, the committee also approved minor procedural changes to the grant-in-aid review procedures for athletic aid.

These procedures are used when athletic scholarships come up for review because a student athlete either leaves a team or has displayed general misconduct.

This is a yearly procedure that was not incident-driven, but a routine evaluation of the current procedures, Ort said.

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