Academic & Professional Development:
Funding & Finances

Navigating funding & finances at Carolina

Understanding Your Funding Situation

  • To ensure that you have a clear understanding of your funding situation, make sure to be in close communication with your Director of Graduate Studies, your Student Services Manager, and other key faculty and staff throughout your program.
  • To ensure that you manage your finances accurately and appropriately, make sure to go through the Cashier's Office new student check list.

University Cashier

  • The University Cashier bills tuition, fees, and a variety of other campus-based charges to students via a student billing system. Bills are issued electronically each month and are generally due the next month.
  • Check your account regularly throughout the semester and the year – you don’t want to miss out on any charges or deadlines.
  • You are required to sign up for direct deposit in order for the Cashier's Office to most quickly deliver any credit balances directly to you.

Tuition and Fees

  • Tuition rates are set by the North Carolina Legislature. Fees are set through an on-campus process and approved by the Board of Trustees. The billing schedule is based on the University Registrar's Calendar. Tuition and fee rates are based on your classification and program.
  • To be eligible for tuition and fee awards, you must be a full-time, on-campus, degree-seeking graduate student and earn a minimum stipend as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, or Fellow with an appropriate job code.
  • NOTE: Partial tuition and fee awards are awarded by some programs.

What Happens If I Drop A Class?

  • Drop – A drop is withdrawing from a course while remaining registered for other courses in the term. Dropping a course during the drop/add period may result in a reduced tuition charge, if the drop reduces total hours to a lower tuition rate tier. Dropping a course after the last official day to drop a class during the term will not reduce tuition.
  • Withdrawal – A withdrawal is dropping all of your courses after the term has started. If the withdrawal is effective during the withdrawal refund period, tuition and fees will be reduced according to the withdrawal refund schedule (scroll down the page).
  • NOTE: If you have tuition and fee awards, dropping or withdrawing from classes could cause you to be personally responsible for paying the full costs of tuition and fees for the semester. Please consult with your program before taking action.

The Office of Scholarships & Student Aid

  • The Office of Scholarships & Student Aid (OSSA) provides information on the University's cost-of-attendance and options for financial aid.
  • Awards from your department (fellowships, tuition, and fee awards) are considered financial aid and will reduce the amount of loans you can accept.
  • NOTE: International students are not eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Before accepting any loans, carefully consider the overall amount of debt required to attend a particular program. Your comfort level with student debt will depend on your personal circumstances, post-graduate plans, expected earnings, and other variables. Make those considerations before you borrow.

Applying for External Funding

  • Consider applying for external, competitive fellowships. This is a critical part of graduate training, helps you clarify and focus your research, and is important for future success.
  • Plan ahead. Think about your funding needs for the long-term – not just for next year, but also for future activities.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to research sponsors, and plan and write your proposals. Funding deadlines generally fall between October and March.
  • Ask colleagues, mentors, speakers, fellow students, and others about their funding experiences and knowledge.

Graduate Funding Information Center

  • The Graduate Funding Information Center (GFIC) supports UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students seeking funding for their research, collaborative projects, travel, professional development, and other scholarly activities.
  • GFIC hosts general workshops on searching for funding several times a semester.
  • If you would like more personalized assistance or are unable to attend a workshop, you may request an hour-long consultation with a GFIC representative.
  • The Funding Information Portal is a collection of databases and other resources selected to help you apply for funding opportunities.

Managing Your Finances

  • Finances are always hard to manage, but particularly in graduate school. Know that you're not the only one who has finances on the mind.
  • Do you support a family? Do you own a car or a home? Do you have retirement funds set aside for the future? Are you familiar with how and when to pay taxes on your fellowships/grants?
  • NOTE: While the university cannot give you specific tax advice, we can help you navigate available resources, such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Financial Literacy Resources

  • ASK QUESTIONS of your advisors, programs, and funding agencies.
  • LOOK OUT for financial literacy workshops available through The Graduate School and other campus offices, particularly the Office of the Dean of Students that sponsors and coordinates the UNC Financial Literacy Consortium.
  • CONSULT with your local bank, credit union, and other reliable financial resources.