Determining Eligibility

Determining Need (Level of Eligibility)

Your need for financial aid, or level eligibility, is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance (or budget).

Your EFC is determined by a federal processor, who analyzes the information you provide on your FAFSA about your family’s income, assets and debts.

The Cost of Attendance is determined by the university and includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation and other costs associated with attending UNC.

The only way to determine your financial aid eligibility is to apply.

The U.S. Department of Education has released the FAFSA4caster to help you and your family plan for college by providing an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student assistance.

Details: Receiving Aid

Financial Aid Qualifications

To receive aid from the student aid programs offered at UNC, you must:

  • Have financial need, except for some loan and some scholarship programs
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Register with the Selective Service, if required
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, pass a test approved by the U.S. Department of Education, or meet other standards your state establishes that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. See your financial aid administrator for more information.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program. (You may not receive aid for correspondence or telecommunications courses unless they are part of an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree program.)
  • Make satisfactory academic progress
  • Sign a statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) certifying that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
  • Sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that you are not in default on a federal student loan and that you do not owe money on a federal student grant

Expected Family Contribution

You and your family have the primary responsibility to pay as much as possible toward your education. Financial aid is intended to supplement what your family is expected to contribute in paying your costs of attending college.

Your Expected Family Contribution is determined by an analysis of several factors taken from information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is an amount estimated by a federally defined formula called “federal methodology.” The factors considered in this analysis include:

  • Number of students in college
  • Number of working parents
  • Age of older parent
  • Income
  • Assets
  • Family size

Students are expected to help pay for educational expenses as well. It is assumed that savings from summer employment will be a major source of this contribution.