Financial Aid Overview

Learning about the essential elements of financial aid is a good place to start the process of applying for and eventually receiving financial assistance. The better you understand the process, the better your chances are of maximizing the amount of aid you'll receive.

Qualifying for Aid

To qualify to receive financial aid, you must:

  • Have financial need, except for some loan and some scholarship programs
  • Be a U.S. citizen with a valid Social Security number or an eligible non citizen
  • Have a high school diploma, General Educational Development (GED) certificate or the equivalent
  • Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate
  • Be registered with the Selective Service if required
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress standards set by the university
  • Certify that you are not in default on a federal loan or owe money on a federal grant.
  • Certify that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.

Note a students enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home school may be considered enrollment at the home school for the purpose of applying for assistance under the Title IV, HEA program.

Related Links: Applying for Aid

Types of Aid

  • Grants are awarded based on financial need and do not have to be repaid.
  • Scholarships are awarded on merit or talent and do not have to be paid back.
  • Student employment and work-study programs provide financial aid in exchange for work.
  • Loans are funds that you and/or your parent(s) can borrow to help pay for college expenses. Loans must be repaid, usually with interest.

Most students receiving financial aid are awarded a financial aid package that may consist of a combination of several types of aid, depending on the level of your financial need and available funds.

Details:Types of Aid

Financial Aid Application Process

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) atwww.fafsa.ed.gov by our March 1 priority date to be considered for the maximum amount of financial aid. If you miss the March 1 deadline, you should still submit a FAFSA as soon as possible. UNC’s Federal School Code: 001349.
  2. Apply for admission to UNC. The admission application also serves as an application for several UNC scholarships you might qualify for based on your previous academic performance.
  3. Once you’re admitted, apply for other UNC scholarships by completing the UNC Universal Scholarship Application by our March 1 priority date. The application is in Ursa – our secure online source of information and tools for students.
  4. Frequently check your financial aid status in Ursa. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or documentation.
  5. When you receive notification of a financial aid award via BearMail, log in to Ursa to accept your award within 20 days. This award offer details the amounts and types of financial aid for which you are eligible.

Details: Applying for Aid

Receiving Your Financial Aid

Most financial aid is applied directly to your university account and amounts are reflected on your monthly bill, but not until after the funding sources of your financial aid package (federal and state programs, private lending institutions, the UNC Foundation, etc.) have released the funds to the university.

If the amount of your financial aid exceeds the amount due to the university, the unused balance will be issued to you via direct deposit into a checking account of your choice or a check that you can pick up on campus or have mailed to you.

Details: Receiving Aid