Attending college in North Carolina can cost thousands of dollars. If you do not have enough money to pay for your NC college education, student loans are not the only aid available. You may also qualify for one or more scholarships which are provided throughout North Carolina from various sources, including colleges themselves, private citizens and public and private organizations. If you are awarded one or more scholarships based on your academic or extracurricular achievements, you will not be required to pay the scholarship money back like would if you were to obtain a student loan. Available scholarships in North Carolina are divided into several categories, including special scholarships for veterans, North Carolina residents studying specific subjects and disabled North Carolina students. You must meet the eligibility requirements for a specific scholarship in order to be considered for that scholarship. The sections below provide several types of scholarships available in North Carolina and how each scholarship type can be obtained.
University-Based North Carolina Scholarships
Many North Carolina universities offer specific scholarship programs for students enrolled on their campuses. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a program called the Carolina Covenant, which has been in place since 2004. The Carolina Covenant program may provide you with financial aid if you are from a qualifying low-income family. You must contact the financial aid department at your chosen university in order to inquire about university-specific scholarship opportunities.
North Carolina Merit-Based Scholarships
If you have a history of both high extracurricular and academic achievement, you may qualify for a merit-based scholarship in North Carolina. Most merit-based scholarships are awarded by specific NC colleges. Such scholarships also include sports-based NC scholarships, which are often given out by athletic departments in colleges throughout North Carolina.
You may be automatically awarded merit-based scholarship funds based on an assessment of your college admissions essay by the admissions committee of your chosen NC college. However, some merit scholarships require separate applications. Due to the limited number of merit-based scholarships available, you may not receive scholarship funds, even if you meet basic eligibility requirements.
North Carolina Scholarships Based on Financial Need
If you require a scholarship due to extreme financial hardship you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
The FAFSA form can be submitted online or mailed when completed. In addition, you must contact the financial aid department at the college where you intend to enroll and request information about additional resources for financially needy students. Certain universities and colleges offer special scholarships for low-income students who demonstrate high academic achievement. Each college in North Carolina has specific types of aid available for needy students aside from scholarships, including grants and specialized loans.
North Carolina Study Scholarships
Many North Carolina scholarships are based on area of study. For example, there are certain scholarships available to you only if you are an undergraduate. There are separate scholarships available to you if you are conducting post-graduate studies. Some NC scholarships are also only available based on your area of study. For example, if you are studying nursing you will have access to a variety of scholarships specifically for nursing students in North Carolina. Similar scholarships are available for general medical studies, specific medical fields, dentistry, business and many other vocations. The financial aid department of your intended college can provide you with a list of some such scholarships.
North Carolina General Scholarships
General North Carolina scholarships are often provided by private citizens and local businesses. Some general NC college scholarships are for students of a specific nationality, gender or ethnic background. Other such general scholarships are provided based on such criteria as age, area of residence or grade point average. Some NC general scholarships have no requirements at all other than North Carolina residency and the submission of an essay for consideration. A list of such scholarships can be obtained through any NC financial aid office or from the College Foundation of North Carolina.
North Carolina Veteran and Family Scholarships
There are several scholarships available in North Carolina for students belonging to military families. You must apply for the military scholarships which apply to you based on whether you or a family member served in the military and which branch of the military is involved. Both specific military branch scholarships such as ROTC, Coast Guard or Navy scholarships and general scholarships for veterans and descendants are available. You may obtain a list of NC military scholarships for which you may qualify from the College Foundation of North Carolina or from your college admissions office.