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UNC-Chapel Hill is one of the nation’s few public flagship campuses to practice need-blind admissions and provide low-debt, full-need student aid. This approach makes the promise of a Carolina education possible for all students regardless of their financial means. We provide a variety of financial aid for students, including academic- and need-based scholarships and work study. Carolina long has been one of the nation’s only two public universities to fund 100 percent of demonstrated need among eligible students.

Carolina ranks among the top universities in the nation and around the world. In 2023 rankings, U.S. News & World Report listed UNC-Chapel Hill 5th among public universities for the 22nd consecutive year, as well as the best value among public universities for the 18th time. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2022 College Rankings named Carolina the No. 1 public college in the South, 3rd among all U.S. public universities and 33rd among both public and private universities. The 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities, released by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, ranked Carolina 29th in the world, 20th in the United States among global universities, and 7th amongst public U.S. universities. And the most recent Kiplinger’s Personal Finance assessment in 2019 ranked Carolina the No. 1 best value in U.S. public higher education for the 18th time.

In 2004, UNC-Chapel Hill launched the Carolina Covenant, a ground-breaking program that supports the full financial need of talented, academically qualified low-income students so they may graduate debt-free. Covenant Scholars also receive a suite of co-curricular and academic assistance and opportunities supporting them to graduation. Through a combination of grants, private giving and work study programs, the Covenant has brought over 10,500 scholars to Chapel Hill and led to dramatically improved graduation rates among our lowest-income students.

In 2006, with the help of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, UNC-Chapel Hill launched the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP), which partners with 14 community colleges in North Carolina – most in rural counties – to identify talented low-and moderate-income community college students and to provide a pathway for admission to UNC-Chapel Hill. The program expanded in 2019 to include two new community colleges and a new initiative to help prepare those students for jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The expansion was made possible by a grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

In 2007, again with the help of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, UNC-Chapel Hill founded the Carolina College Advising Corps, which places recent Carolina graduates as admissions and financial-aid advisers in 82 underserved high schools across North Carolina to reinforce the advantages of a college education and guide prospective students through the admissions process.

In 2017, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awarded Carolina its Cooke Prize for Equity in Education Excellence to recognize years of dedication to providing support and opportunities for thousands of deserving students. Carolina was the first public university to receive the foundation’s $1 million award, which celebrates success in enrolling low-income students and supporting them through graduation.

In 2018, the University expanded its commitment to access and affordability for North Carolina families with a $20 million scholarship initiative to provide financial aid for middle-income undergraduate students from North Carolina as part of the Campaign for Carolina. The privately funded Blue Sky Scholars program fills an important gap by supporting exceptionally qualified North Carolina residents from middle-income backgrounds who qualify for financial aid and demonstrate hard work and character but do not meet the requirements for the Carolina CovenantThe Blue Sky Scholars program aims to reduce these students’ loan burden and allow them to pursue an enrichment experience such as an internship or study abroad.