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We understand that college is expensive. But North Carolina ranks in the Top 5 in college affordability nationally. And, we’re doing even more to make college affordable for everyone.

Here are three ways North Carolina makes college more affordable for you:


 With NC Promise, three North Carolina universities now charge just $500 tuition per semester for in-state students. Yep! You read that right, $500.


All 16 UNC System universities have fixed the cost of tuition. That means, when you start college, your tuition will not increase for four consecutive years.


About 60% of North Carolina college students receive some form of scholarship, grants, or financial aid. And you could, too!


Three Universities. $500 Tuition.

While some other colleges charge more than $50,000 tuition per year, North Carolina has three great universities that charge in-state undergraduates just $500 tuition per semester. That’s no typo — $500 tuition (out-of-state students pay just $2,500).

Students at Elizabeth City State University, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University are automatically enrolled in the program; there are no other eligibility requirements. It’s an amazing opportunity that shows North Carolina’s true commitment to keep college affordable…for everyone.


Work a part-time or summer job? Put the money to good use and pay for some of your college costs. Doing so will reduce your student debt.


You’re a Lock: Study for Four Years Without Fear of a Tuition Increase.

There’s a lot we can’t fix, like a bad haircut, a broken phone, or a slow internet connection – but we can fix tuition. And we did. This means that, if you are a North Carolina resident, your tuition costs will stay the same for four consecutive years* once you enroll at any one of the UNC System universities. That’s right, all 16 public universities!

North Carolina map with marked institutions

If it seems like you have a lot of options, it’s because you do! You might change your mind about what you want to study. But as long as you stay enrolled, your tuition won’t change.


In some other states, tuition can increase by an average of 3% per year. Take advantage of NC tuition staying the same for your four years of continuous enrollment.

*You must remain enrolled continuously at the same institution to remain eligible.


Odds are, you’re eligible for scholarships, grants, or aid.

The odds are definitely in your favor. In fact, in North Carolina, about 60% of students receive some form of financial aid each year to help pay for college, including need-based (determined by financial situation), merit-based (determined by achievement or skill), and special-circumstance based scholarships.

Financial aid can also come in the form of work study. You’re already on campus for classes: many available campus jobs may be directly related to your major, and the work schedule depends on your availability and class schedule. By putting in a few extra hours of your time, you can help pay your way through school. So let’s get to work!


Explore all your grant and scholarship options — you may be eligible for more than you realize.


Let’s Get Started!

As you can see, college can be affordable after all. Are you ready to give it a try? Now you need to choose the one that’s right for you. Explore program offerings from across the state.

The process of applying to a college, for scholarships and grants, and for financial aid may seem confusing, so we’ve provided some resources to help. Follow these steps:


Don’t pick based on school colors or mascots — research every school to find what you want to study and the environment that’s right for you.

   © University of North Carolina System 2019


This campaign was produced with GEAR UP funds awarded to The University of North Carolina System by the Office of Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education (grant award P334S120003).