Federal Financial Aid & the FAFSA Application
Federal Financial Aid is Available for Degree-Seeking Students
Students who cannot pay for tuition alone are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid. Students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA; see below). The UNC FAFSA priority filing date for each academic year (a Fall-Spring-Summer cycle which begins each August) is March 1, although the form is now available by October 1 of the previous year and requests tax information from the year prior. For example, the FAFSA form for aid for the 2020-21 school year is released on Oct. 1, 2019, and is based off of 2018 tax return information.
Late submissions of the FAFSA are still accepted throughout the school year but you may not be considered for the maximum amount of aid. If the March priority deadline has already passed for the upcoming/current school year, we still encourage you to apply for FAFSA consideration as soon as you enroll for your first courses.
Depending on the time of year, you may be able to submit an application for the current academic year and an early/priority application for the following academic year.
The amount of aid you can receive is based on...
- Your recent financial history (or your parents' if applicable) as recorded on your federal income tax information;
- Whether you apply by the Priority Filing Date of March 1; and
- How many credits you register for each term (see below).
Bachelor's degree students: enrollment in a minimum of 6 credits per academic term for part-time financial aid eligibility. Full-time enrollment is based on 12 credits.
Master's and Educational Specialist (EdS) degree students: enrollment in a minimum of 5 credits per academic term for part-time financial aid eligibility. Full-time enrollment is based on 9 credits.
Doctoral degree students: enrollment in a minimum of 5 credits per academic term for part-time financial aid eligibility. Full-time enrollment is based on 9 credits.
Certificate, licensure and endorsement-only students: non-degree seeking students aren't eligible for aid through FAFSA. Your Program Coordinator may be aware of your eligibility for any discipline-related or campus-based aid if available.
FAFSA: Applying for Federal Financial Aid
Fill out the FAFSA form at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
Students can also find helpful information such as the Guide to Federal Student Aid at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/resources. Most of the resources are available in English, Spanish, and Braille.