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Director’s Welcome

Student Aid Director Shirley OrtWelcome to the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Carolina has earned national recognition for value—the best in the nation among public universities for the quality of academics and low cost—from both Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the Princeton Review. To uphold this tradition and to ensure that outstanding students continue to choose Carolina, our office is committed to helping both prospective and current students meet the costs of college.

Undergraduates who apply for aid by the priority deadline of March 1 can expect to receive aid for all of their demonstrated need through a combination of about two-thirds grants and scholarships (money that does not have to be repaid) and one-third in loans or Federal Work-Study.  Students may apply for aid at any time during the year, but those who apply by March 1 will receive more aid through grants and scholarships.

Last year we distributed over $350 million to 20,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students—over 60 percent of Carolina’s student body. Most of this aid is administered on the basis of need. These funds include grants, scholarships, loans, work-study jobs, and graduate awards. We also provide all first-year students on financial aid with a supplemental grant to cover the cost of a new laptop.

While we place a priority on need-based aid, we are also committed to recruiting outstanding students through merit-based awards. The University awards more than 250 merit scholarships to highly qualified first-year students each year. There is no separate application to be considered for these scholarships; students are automatically considered for scholarships on the basis of their application for admission. We also enjoy working with undergraduate, graduate and professional students to counsel them on other scholarship opportunities at the University.

Founded in 1789 as the  nation’s first public university, Carolina has long recognized the value of socioeconomic diversity. Our Carolina Covenant® program, now in its tenth year, offers low-income students who earn admission the chance to graduate from Carolina debt-free. This year, more than 13 percent of our first-year class entered as Carolina Covenant Scholars.

Our website will help guide you through the many resources available to help plan and pay for your Carolina education, but please do not hesitate to contact us by phone, email, or in person.

You will find our staff both friendly and knowledgable, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you.


Shirley A. Ort
Associate Provost and Director
Office of Scholarships and Student Aid