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Undergraduate Scholarships

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  1. What types of scholarships do you offer, and to what student populations?
  2. How do I get considered for scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill?
  3. If I don’t receive a merit scholarship as a first-year, incoming undergraduate, can I be considered as a transfer or returning student?
  4. I’ve heard of the Morehead-Cain and the Robertson Scholars’ merit programs. Can you tell me more?
  5. Who can apply for the merit Pogue Scholarship?
  6. I’ve heard there is a special scholarship for Episcopalians, is that true?
  7. I want to play sports at Carolina. Can you tell me about athletic scholarships?
  8. How many merit scholarships are available?
  9. What is the typical academic profile of a merit scholarship recipient at UNC-Chapel Hill?
  10. Will my chances of getting a scholarship improve if I send additional supporting materials to your office?
  11. Will I receive special consideration for a merit scholarship if I am a National Merit finalist?
  12. When do I need to apply to UNC-Chapel Hill to ensure full consideration for merit scholarships?
  13. When will I be notified if I will be receiving a merit scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill?
  14. Do I receive a scholarship check from UNC-Chapel Hill for my merit scholarship?
  15. What is the minimum grade point average required to keep my merit scholarship? Do I need to be enrolled full-time?
  16. How do I find other possible scholarship resources?

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1. What types of scholarships do you offer, and to what student populations?
  The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid administers funds for both merit-based and need-based scholarships.

Merit-based aid is determined based on academic excellence, such as student scores and activities. Financial need does not factor into the awarding of merit-based awards.

Need-based aid is determined based on a student’s financial need. Some need-based scholarships also have a merit or other criteria requirement; some do not. Students with financial need are, of course, also eligible for consideration for merit-based scholarships, as well.

There are also scholarships requiring the student to meet specific criteria stipulated by the donor, such as county of residence, high school attendance, etc. Also based on the donors requirements, these scholarships may be in either the merit-based category or the need-based category.

First-year, incoming undergraduates: Merit scholarship administered by our office are available only to first-year, incoming undergraduate students. For this same population of students, Carolina is also home to two exceptional scholarship programs that are not administered through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid: The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program and The Robertson Scholars Program. Please proceed directly to their web sites for more information.

International students who are first-year incoming undergraduates are given equal consideration for merit scholarships, but are ineligible for need-based sources of funding.  

Students not receiving University-sponsored scholarships or financial assistance should research possible outside sources of funding.

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2. How do I get considered for scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill?
  For merit-based scholarships administered by the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, there is no separate application process beyond applying for admission to the University. Candidates flagged in the admissions process for consideration for the the Pogue Scholarship will be invited to supply more information. The Scholarships Committee looks at a variety of factors when making scholarship recommendations. These factors include consistency of grades, the strength of curriculum followed in high school, standardized test scores, examples of leadership, demonstration of intellectual curiosity, and the quality of essay responses submitted as part of the application for admission to the University. We take a holistic approach to each student’s application and do not focus solely on metrics such as class rank and test scores.

For need-based scholarships administered by the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, both a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and a CSS/PROFILE application are also required to determine a student’s financial need. March 1 is the priority deadline for filing these aid applications and for getting any requested additional documentation submitted to our office.

You may find more about merit-based scholarships at our Scholars Program site.

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3. If I don’t receive a merit scholarship as an incoming student, can I be considered as a transfer or returning student?
  Academic awards, generally, are awarded only to incoming first-year students. These scholarships are rare, very competitive, and depleted after first-year awards. Those not receiving academic scholarships in their first year might research possible outside sources of funding on our site. Or, visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Distinguished Scholarships and Honors Carolina, both located in the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence, to research potential scholarship awards.

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4. I’ve heard of The Morehead-Cain Scholars and The Robertson Scholars merit programs. Can you tell me more?
  The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program and The Robertson Scholars Program are two of the most prestigious and dynamic undergraduate scholarship programs in the United States, and UNC is privileged to have their presence here. For more information, please go directly to their websites.

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5. Who can apply for the merit Pogue Scholarship?
  Outstanding applicants to UNC-Chapel Hill who have demonstrated high academic achievement, commitment to diversity issues, and engagement in matters of inclusion are flagged by the Admissions Office and may apply for the Pogue Scholarship, by invitation.

You may find more about the Pogue Scholarship at our Scholars Program site.

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6. I’ve heard there is a special scholarship for Episcopalians, is that true?
  Yes. The Blanchard Scholarship is administered through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Students documenting an affiliation with an Episcopal Church (baptism/confirmation certificates and a letter from a church official suffice) are eligible for consideration. Priority is given to applicants with financial need. Visit our Types of Aid -> Internal Scholarships page for additional information about the Blanchard Scholarship.

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7. I want to play sports at Carolina. Can you tell me about athletic scholarships?
  The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid does not award athletic scholarships, but rather only administers athletic scholarships awarded by the Athletic Department. For more information about athletic scholarships, please call the Administrative Office of the Athletics Department at (919) 962-6000, or write to the head coach of the sport of your interest.

Athletic Department

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

PO Box 2126

Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2126

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8. How many merit scholarships are available?
  Approximately 140 merit-based scholarships are awarded annually to qualified first-year, incoming students by the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

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9. What is the typical academic profile of a merit scholarship recipient at UNC-Chapel Hill?
  Since scholarship criteria for merit scholarships vary depending on the scholarship, awards are not subject to a minimum SAT score or class rank. However, due to the limited number of merit scholarship awards, and given the selectivity of the University, competition for merit scholarships is very stiff. Recipients tend to be at the top of their high school classes and have strong test scores, though these two elements alone do not guarantee a merit scholarship.

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10. Will my chances of getting a scholarship improve if I send additional supporting materials to your office?
  No. Please do not send additional materials to the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid unless you are specifically requested to do so.

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11. Will I receive special consideration for a merit scholarship if I am a National Merit finalist?
  UNC no longer participates in offering college-sponsored scholarships to National Merit finalists.

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12. When do I need to apply to UNC-Chapel Hill to ensure full consideration for merit scholarships?
  Admissions application deadlines are set by the Admissions office. You will want to apply by the earliest deadline stated there.Visit admissions.unc.edu -> Apply -> First-Year Students -> Deadlines.

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13. When will I be notified if I will be receiving a merit scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill?
  The University has two admissions deadline. Visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Admissions -> Apply section, click your appropriate student level, and then click the “Deadline” link displayed under that level. The first is a non-binding “early action” deadline. The second deadline is the final deadline to apply for admission. If you apply by the “early action” deadline, you should hear by early January if you are being considered for a merit scholarship. (This does not include The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program and The Robertson Scholars Program. Please see their respective websites directly for detailed information about these scholarship programs.) If you did not apply by the “early action” deadline, but did apply by the final deadline, you will be notified by early March if you are being considered for a merit scholarship.

Students from each deadline who are considered for merit scholarships will be invited to campus for a “Scholar Day”. The first Scholar Day is held in February and the second is held in late March. Students are then notified within two weeks follwoing the scholar day of their merit scholarship offer. Provisions can be made for students with special circumstances that otherwise would prevent them from attending Scholar Day.

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14. What is the minimum grade point average required to keep my merit scholarship? Do I need to be enrolled full-time?
  Usually, 3.0 is the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) to keep most merit-based scholarships at UNC; your scholarship award notification will tell you the exact details. If your grades fall below the minimum required GPA, you will be given one semester without penalty to bring your grades up to the minimum. Please notify the Associate Director for Scholarships in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid if you think your GPA is in danger.

Yes, you must be enrolled full-time to receive scholarship awards. However, seniors who are on schedule to graduate on time may take an underload of no fewer than six hours. Please contact the Associate Director for Scholarships in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid should you wish to take an underload. Keep in mind, however, that underloading may have unwanted implications for any outside scholarships and may impact your status with student insurance companies which insist on full-time enrollment. Please research with the appropriate entities the possible implications of underloading before doing so.

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15. Do I receive a scholarship check from UNC-Chapel Hill for my merit scholarship?
  No. With the exception of National Merit awards and “outside scholarships” (scholarships from sources outside of the University), funds are electronically transferred to the Student Accounts & University Receivables (the UNC cashier’s office) at the beginning of each semester. If you are receiving a non-University outside scholarship, checks usually arrive at the Student Accounts & University Receivables within the first few weeks of each semester. If you do not receive your National Merit award or outside scholarship in a timely manner, please contact the Outside Scholarships and Grants Manager in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

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16. How do I find other possible scholarship resources?
  Periodically, organizations outside the University will ask us to publicize scholarships they sponsor. The criteria for these awards vary greatly. We encourage you to visit our Search for Outside Scholarships page for information on a variety of funding sources.

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