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UNC to cover some students' tuition in 2024-2025 through new financial aid program

university-80k-tuition-program-update

In-state students currently applying to UNC will be considered for the first round of university-covered tuition program for the 2024-2025 academic year if their families make less than $80,000 a year. 

Beginning in fall 2024, eligible students will benefit from the program  Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced in July in a campus-wide message responding to the Supreme Court's Affirmative Action decision. Entering first-year students will be eligible for up to eight semesters of undergraduate study. 

“We want to make sure students know financial constraints should not stand in the way of their dreams,” Guskiewicz wrote

In the message, Guskiewicz explained that the inspiration for the program came from existing scholarships at the University — Carolina Covenant and Blue Sky Scholars specifically. He said the tuition initiative is one of multiple opportunities expanding and continuing to serve the North Carolina community. 

For students taking 12 or more credit hours, in-state undergraduate tuition per semester for the 2023-2024 school year was $3,509.50 with an added $989.06 of student fees.

The Associate Provost and Director of the Office of Scholarship and Student Aid, Jackie Copeland, said in an email statement the new policy will cover the out-of-pocket costs for tuition and mandatory fees, meaning that incoming students will still have to pay for additional costs, such as housing and food. 

In the statement, Copeland also said she is proud of the program and the message that the tuition committment is sending to UNC families. 

“This program was born out of the ideas of several people over a number of years because it is a natural extension of Carolina’s mission to provide an affordable, accessible, world-class education,” she said

The money for this program comes from private donations of approximately $500,000-$600,000 per year. Because of the funding model, Copeland said in her statement that at this time, the new scholarship will only be available to North Carolina residents.

According to the UNC Scholarships and Financial aid website, students will be considered for the program once they are accepted to the University, as long as they submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and College Scholarship Service Profile by the priority deadline, March 1. 

There are some limitations to the program. It does not cover the cost of summer school, and if an enrolled students' state residency changes, they will lose eligibility. Students will be required to update their documentation each year.  

Sylvia Prevette, a UNC sophomore, is a Carolina Covenant scholar and said her scholarship has been more than just financial aid for her. It has also become a community, where the people around her have shared experiences.

“I think it’s awesome that we’re trying to help more kids who need that assistance," Prevette said. "I feel like in an ideal world everyone would have to go to college and not have to leave with debt. I mean who wants debt?” 

Prevette said she feels as though the University is here for everyone, not just for the students and families that are able to afford tuition. She said she loves that the University is taking new steps and that they exemplify the school's values.  

Perrin Jones, a member of the Board of Trustees, said while the program was not initiated by the board, they have been historically supportive of similar programs.

“The board would like to keep Carolina as affordable as possible for as many of our students as we can,” Jones said

While the language of financial aid can be confusing, Copeland said she feels as though the program makes it easier to understand. 

“I believe that saying to families of our state, ‘If you earn under $80,000 and have typical assets, you can send your child to Carolina with a commitment to have at least tuition and mandatory fees covered with grants or scholarships’ really helps us ensure that finances aren’t a barrier to a world-class Carolina education,” she said.

@nataliemcc212

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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