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Ranked the nation’s number one public university and with a medical school ranked second best in primary care, you won’t sell yourself short with an education from UNC Chapel Hill – as long as your game plan includes a section on how to pay for it. Luckily, students in all programs at UNC will be considered for many need and merit-based scholarships, as well as grants and other aid programs. Here we’ll help you understand what your degree from UNC will cost, as well as your options for paying for it.

How much does it cost to attend UNC?

Given the large difference between tuition costs for residents of North Carolina and students from other states, the total cost of attendance is estimated to be half for residents – leading to significant savings for students from North Carolina. For the 2016-2017 academic year, North Carolina residents will pay just $8,834 in tuition, and total costs are estimated to be $24,898. For out-of-state students, tuition is $33,916, bringing total expenses to $51,466. Note that students in the Health Affairs program may see different costs. For a more detailed look at what you can expect to pay based on your personal details, take a look at UNC’s net price calculator.

These tuition differences are also seen across degree programs. Resident students at UNC School of Law will pay $23,551 for 2016-2017 tuition, while non-resident tuition is $40,182. This brings total estimated costs for residents to $47,975 and $64,606 for non-residents.

The Kenan-Flagler Business School charged $40,096 for 2015-2016 MBA resident tuition and $57,494 for non-resident tuition. Additional fees and expenses brought total costs to $63,866 and $81,264 for residents and non-residents, respectively.

Resident medical students paid $24,268 in tuition for the 2015-2016 school year for an estimated total of $57,612 with other costs. Non-residents paid $51,146 in tuition and a total of $84,490 for the year.

What kind of financial aid does UNC offer?

Most undergraduate financial aid – both need and merit-based – requires no application other than your admissions application, FAFSA, and CSS/PROFILE. In addition to federal grants, students will be considered for an institutional grant to meet an additional need – consideration for a grant is independent of merit and depends only on financial need.

Need-based scholarships also exist and take into account both need and academic performance. Some also look at additional criteria, such as your intended program of study. The James M. Johnston Award is UNC’s premier need-based scholarship, and also includes enrichment programs for selected students. This award totals up to $10,000 for North Carolina residents and $20,000 for non-residents; however, if a Johnston Scholar demonstrated no financial need in a given year, he or she will be given just $1,000 for the year and remain a Scholar.

The Johnston Award is part of the Scholars Program at UNC, which provides not only scholarships but also mentorship and access to exclusive events. Other distinctions in this program include Carolina Scholars, Colonel Robinson Scholars, and Pogue Scholars – these three are exclusively merit-based and can range in amount from $9,000 to the full cost of attendance. Other merit-based scholarships at UNC include Old Well and Founders Scholarships, College Fellows Scholarships, and MacDonald Community Service Scholarships; students should also research The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program and The Robertson Scholars Program, both of which are awarded by private foundations to UNC students and require a separate application.

Law students will be considered for both need-based grants and merit-based scholarships. Those who submit their admissions application before December 31st will be considered for the Chancellor’s Scholars Program, which covers full tuition and fees. March 1st is the deadline to be considered for all other merit-based scholarships.

The law school reports that 67.7% of students received a grant or scholarship in a recent year, so your chances of an award are high. Keep in mind, however, that more than 50% of these awards covered less than half of tuition, so you’ll likely still need a few other sources of financial assistance to meet total costs. Many students, both here and at law schools across the country, look to federal and private student loans.

The Kenan-Flagler Business School is home to a number of fellowships for MBA students. The most prestigious category is Premier Fellowships, which cover full tuition and fees, as well as offer a $5,000 stipend. Full tuition and partial tuition fellowships also exist and are awarded based on factors including work experience, career goals, and academic excellence. Students are also encouraged to apply for external scholarships and may consider a graduate assistantship or Federal Work-Study to cover remaining expenses and reduce the amount of loans needed.

The UNC School of Medicine awards only need-based scholarships – submitting your FAFSA annually will assure you’re considered for dozens of awards. If selected for an award, you’ll likely be asked to write a thank-you note and attend an awards dinner in order to thank the donor who provided your scholarship.

What kinds of extras should I expect to pay for at UNC?

If you plan to bring a car with you to UNC, beware of limitations with on-campus housing. Freshman undergraduates are not allowed to park on campus, and even upper-class students are limited to a lottery system for parking permits. Beyond parking permit fees (in the hundreds of dollars per year), keep in mind the other expenses of bringing a car with you, such as maintenance and gasoline.

If you’re looking for the social boost that often comes from joining a fraternity or sorority, do keep in mind the cost of Greek life – not only the financial cost but also the time commitment you’ll be held to. Students report that Greek life at UNC isn’t all about the parties, but rather that participants are required to complete service and other activities benefitting the surrounding community. You’ll also be required to keep your grades up and go through the rush process, which means you’ll be juggling lots of balls, particularly the first year you join.

On a similar note, UNC students are fervent supporters of the Tar Heel basketball team, so you might end up spending more on branded gear and transportation to away games than at some other schools. But don’t let the cost scare you away – cheering on the team is an integral part of most students’ experience at UNC Chapel Hill.

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