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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC announces free tuition for undergraduates whose families make under $80,000

South Building is pictured on Oct. 10, 2022.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced in a message to the UNC community on Friday that the University, starting with the 2024 incoming class, would be offering free tuition and required fees for undergraduates whose families make less than $80,000 per year.

Guskiewicz also said in the message that the University has hired several new outreach officers as part of the undergraduate admissions team to help reach underprivileged areas of the state.

This announcement comes after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that affirmative action could no longer be used in university admissions. UNC was the defendant in one of the affirmative action lawsuits that the Supreme Court considered. Guskiewicz said the University will be complying with the Court's decision. 

"Our responsibility to comply with the law does not mean we will abandon our fundamental values as a university," he said in the message. "We are and will remain passionately public, and we will ensure that every student who earns admission to Carolina can come here and thrive. Our University’s commitment to access and affordability and supporting a culture of belonging for everyone does not change with last week’s ruling."

Duke University announced a similar tuition change recently, offering free admission to students from North Carolina and South Carolina whose families earn less than $150,000 per year.


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The Daily Tar Heel has been covering the Students for Fair Admission v. UNC lawsuit since it was filed in November 2014.

We’ve covered the entire legal pathway — the original filing, a 2016 ruling in favor of affirmative action, the first hearings, the beginning of the trial, the lower court rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court taking on the case, the split of the Harvard University and UNC cases and the decision itself.

The Daily Tar Heel sent three editors — Liv Reilly, Ira Wilder and Preston Fore — to the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2022 to cover the oral arguments in the case, and then covered student responses to those arguments.

We’ve covered how it might impact employment and the history of precedent-setting affirmative action cases.

We covered the foundation of UNC for Affirmative Action and the Affirmative Action Coalition, a group that organized events and forums leading up to the decision. When civil rights leaders came to Chapel Hill less than a month before the decision, we covered the event.

As updates arise in UNC’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision, we will be there, covering them.

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Ethan E. Horton

Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.