Next NC Scholarship will help cover tuition, fees

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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North Carolina students from households making $80,000 or less could have their tuition and fees fully covered at any of the state’s 58 community colleges or more than half of, if not all, of their tuition and fees covered at any of North Carolina’s 16 public universities thanks to the new Next NC Scholarship. Eligible North Carolina students attending a community college will receive at least $3,000 per year. Those attending a public university within the UNC System will receive a minimum of $5,000 per year. Students with the greatest need for financial aid could qualify for even more funding to help make paying for college more manageable.

The scholarship is available for students enrolling in college for the 2024-2025 academic year and is awarded to those who qualify after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA will open by Dec. 31. Students planning to attend a UNC System school are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by June 1, 2024, and students planning to attend a community college are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by Aug. 15, 2024, to ensure they receive all of the Next NC Scholarship funds they are eligible for.

“Affordability is the number one issue for students and families considering college, and this scholarship will help keep a life-changing education within reach,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “The Next NC Scholarship builds on North Carolina’s long tradition of low college costs and strong financial aid. We’re fortunate to live in a state with such consistent, bipartisan support for higher education.”

The Next NC Scholarship combines the federal Pell Grant with state-funded financial aid into a simplified, predictable scholarship award that helps make paying for college more manageable for North Carolinians pursuing a degree.

To be eligible for the Next NC Scholarship, students must be:

  • A North Carolina resident who is eligible for in-state tuition
  • A high school graduate (high school equivalency completers are eligible)
  • From a household with an annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $80,000 or less
  • Enrolled in an eligible undergraduate curriculum program for the 2024-2025 academic year
  • Taking at least 6 credit hours per semester (part-time students will receive a partial award)
  • Meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards of the school they plan to attend
  • A student who has completed the 2024-2025 FAFSA, with a resulting Student Aid Index (SAI) at or below 7,500 (once complete, the financial aid office at the college/university they plan to attend will determine and confirm eligibility)

Key stakeholders in the state, including the UNC System, the North Carolina Community College System,  and the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority have worked together to consolidate state and federal aid to create this new scholarship, making it easier for North Carolinians to know how much aid they can expect so they can make the most informed decisions about their future.

“Making postsecondary education more accessible is at the core of our mission, and that includes ensuring that college is affordable,” said Dr. Jeff Cox, president of the North Carolina Community College System. “Not only will the Next NC Scholarship make attending a North Carolina community college a reality for many residents who may not have previously been able to afford it – it will also help North Carolina meet its growing workforce needs and close the educational attainment gap.”

Those not eligible for the Next NC Scholarship may be eligible for other scholarship opportunities. Those attending a private school in North Carolina may be eligible for the NC Need-Based Scholarship for Private Colleges and Universities.

For more information about the Next NC Scholarship, visit