Graduate Students

Applying for Financial Aid

Graduate and professional students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

The form is available at, and the UNC code is 002974. Be sure to select the appropriate academic year when you are applying.

Cost of Attendance

The University’s official cost of attendance serves as the basis for your financial aid. Individual student expenses will vary, but our office relies on standard cost-of-attendance calculations.

Your total aid, including outside scholarships or departmental funding, cannot exceed the estimated cost of attendance shown in the Finances section of your ConnectCarolina account.

You can review cost-of-attendance estimates for: UNC Graduate School  |  UNC School of Law  |  UNC School of Medicine  |  Kenan-Flagler MBAMACExecutive MBA & Online MBA.

For information about additional budget costs for a particular academic department, contact our staff located in the particular department.

Graduate Student Aid Eligibility

Review these policies carefully, so you will know the expectations that come with financial aid at Carolina. To be eligible for financial aid, a graduate student must:

  • Enroll in a degree (Masters or Doctoral) at least half-time
  • Complete a financial aid application and follow-up documentation on time
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen (permanent resident)
  • Make satisfactory academic progress while enrolled
  • Be registered for Selective Service (if applicable) and
  • Not be in default on a prior federal loan or owe an amount on a prior federal grant

Conditions for Receiving Aid


  • Unless enrolling in a thesis or dissertation course (#992 #993, or #994), graduate students must enroll for at least half-time status (4.5 credit hours) to be eligible for federal student aid.
  • A change in enrollment after funds are disbursed and before the end of the tuition refund period will require repayment of all, or a portion of, your student aid
  • Reduction of your course load at any time during the semester may affect your progress toward completion of a degree and your eligibility for financial aid.
  • If your enrollment status changes, it may affect your aid package. Be sure to discuss any planned changes in enrollment with a financial aid counselor.

Other outside Funding

If you receive additional financial aid (from donors outside the University) that has not been included as part of your award, notify the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Visit Outside Scholarships for more information.


Please review the Withdrawal Policy to learn how leaving the University may affect you financially.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students are required to meet satisfactory academic progress standards to remain eligible for aid. Review the detailed policy here.

Types of Aid Available

Grants and Scholarships

Graduate and professional students do not qualify for the Federal and State grants that are available to undergraduate students. In some cases, graduate and professional students might qualify for awards through their department or school. Contact your individual program for more information.

For information about scholarship opportunities, graduate and professional students may wish to check with specific academic departments and also research funding opportunities through UNC’s Funding Information Portal.


The most common form of aid for graduate and professional students is the federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  The FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, which is awarded at a maximum of $20,500 per academic year. (Certain health professions programs have a higher annual maximum limit for Direct Unsubsidized Loans.)

If your cost of attendance is not covered by the annual maximum amount of Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you may also apply for a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Since the loan is based on credit history, you must complete the PLUS Request through


Interest is charged for both Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS Loans while students are enrolled. The interest rate is determined by the loan type and the disbursement date. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for the more current information on interest rate and payment terms.

Private student loans are also available.  They are provided by a variety of banking institutions and lending organizations.  The terms, conditions, and rates are determined by the banks and lenders, and they may differ considerably.

Reviewing and Accepting Aid

Graduate and Professional students will be notified of eligibility for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the status of additional loan requests through the ConnectCarolina Student Center. Login into ConnectCarolina to view your financial aid award. View our Loan Guide for detailed information on accepting student loans.

Before accepting any loans, carefully consider the overall amount of debt required to attend a particular program. Consider how an investment in graduate or professional school aligns with your long-term personal and career goals. Your comfort level with student debt will depend on your personal circumstances, your post-graduate plans, expected earnings, and other variables. Make those considerations before you borrow.

Review your Cumulative Loan Balance while enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill in the ConnectCarolina Student Center by selecting the “other financial aid” menu option.

Disbursement of Funds

Once you have met all aid requirements, funds will be electronically transferred to your student account at the University Cashier’s Office. Financial aid disbursements begin just prior to the opening of each semester and continue throughout the semester.

Visit the Cashier’s Office website to set up direct deposit and learn more about refund policies.

It is possible that there may be several transfers to your account as you meet various conditions for aid. If your aid is not sufficient to cover your charges, you must pay the balance due. If charges are assessed to your account after all disbursement of aid for a term has occurred, you will be responsible for those charges.

If a change in your status results in reduced eligibility for aid, you may be required to repay all or a portion of funds already disbursed to you.

Loan Repayment

Terms and conditions of your loan repayment are determined by the loan type, amount, and the repayment plan you choose. You can review the Federal Loan repayment plans as well as estimate your monthly payments on the Federal Student Aid website.

Generally, federal loans begin repayment 6 months from:

  • the date of your graduation, OR
  • the date you drop below half-time enrollment, OR
  • the date you withdraw from school.

Check with your loan servicer for information about payment deferments or loan cancellations available for your loan. You can log into “financial aid review” on the National Student Loan Data System website using your FAFSA ID and password to view your outstanding Federal student loans and the loan servicer(s) who hold them.

Contact us

If you can’t find an answer on our website or your ConnectCarolina Student Center, feel free to contact our program-specific graduate and professional aid offices:

(919) 962-8396 

(919) 962-5919 

MD Program: (919) 962-6118 

Allied Health: (919) 966-4708

(919) 962-9096

(919) 962-0135