A homeless individual is someone without a home who generally lives in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, cars, or with someone else due to not having anywhere else to go. Homeless individuals can still receive federal student aid.


Any student that qualifies for one of the dependency questions on the FAFSA or who has been granted an independent appeal (including homeless designations); will NOT be required to provide parental information. Rules for dependency can be found here.


Loans are offers that are given to you to help finance your education. They are money that you can choose to borrow to help pay for educational expenses and must be repaid.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

An MPN is a legal document that contains the Borrower’s Rights and Responsibilities and Terms and Conditions for repayment. A student must have an MPN to receive a loan, you can complete your federal MPN on the federal website. University loans have a separate MPN through ECSI.

Merit Scholarship or Merit-Based Aid

Known as an academic scholarship at Carolina. Aid that is awarded to a student based upon their accomplishments or characteristics during a holistic review of the admissions application. Criteria can include some of the following, such as GPA, SAT score, ACT score, community service, leadership, entrepreneurship etc.

Need-Based Aid

Aid that requires a student to qualify by having financial need.

Net Price Calculator

A tool that can be used to get an aid estimate of what your financial aid package may look like before you receive an aid offer. It is based on the institution’s cost of attendance and packaging policy. The estimate is as accurate as of the information that is entered in the tool.

Non-Custodial Parent

In the case of a single-parent household or divorced parents, this refers to the biological parent of a student with whom the student does NOT live with.  Many other colleges that use the CSS Profile may ask for information from this parent via what is called the Non-Custodial Parent Profile. Carolina does not require the submission of this information.

Non-Need Based Aid

Aid that does not require a student to have financial need. Can include Federal Loans, Private Loans, and scholarships that do not include a financial need component.

Outside Scholarship

Any type of funding for college costs that is coming from outside of UNC-Chapel Hill, Federal, or State funding sources. Outside scholarships must be reported to our office.