Graduate Student Opportunity Fund

The purpose of the Graduate Student Opportunity Fund (GSOF) is to assist graduate students at Carolina with unusual and unexpected academic expenses. A private donor initiated this Fund to help students from incurring large debt burdens during their graduate education and to help meet unusual graduate student needs. The Fund is designed to allow for a quick and flexible response to meet relatively small and non-recurring, unusual academic-related expenses of graduate students.

The Graduate Student Opportunity Fund CANNOT be used to fund travel. Please see the Graduate Student Transportation Grant available for this purpose.


You are eligible if you are a full-time doctoral or masters students enrolled in an on-campus UNC-CH graduate degree program. Normally you may only receive this funding once during your tenure as a graduate student at UNC-CH. However, requests from students who have already received a grant from the GSOF will be considered on a case-by-case basis, including overall need and the amount of the previous grant received.


Graduate Student Opportunity Fund grants are designed to cover unusual academic expenses typically not funded by other sources such as research grants, graduate program / Graduate School funding for summer research, Graduate School Off-Campus Dissertation Fellowships or Graduate Tuition Incentive Scholarships. You must demonstrate that you have looked for other resources to cover the need and have applied to other sources as appropriate. Although in some cases the GSOF may also provide funding for a need not eligible to be covered by other sources, the GSOF should typically be in match with other sources of funds. Matching by other sources may positively affect the review/funding of the request.

The Graduate School will accept requests for a wide variety of non-recurring unusual academic needs. Requests for rent, unpaid internships, normal living expenses, and summer tuition for courses offered at UNC-CH during the academic year are not eligible. Grant funds cannot be used for payment of costs accrued prior to the date of an award or to pay loans or reimburse other sources of funds (i.e. departmental funds, grants.)

Award Amount

The amount of the award granted is based on the current availability of funds. The Graduate School may grant partial awards depending upon review of request, criteria met, and availability of funds.

How to Apply

Submit Application »

View Frequently Asked Questions about the online award application.

  1. Prepare a brief description (1 page maximum), outlining the need for the requested funds. The description should include the following:
    1. An explanation of the unusual and unexpected nature of your academic expenses;
    2. A list of all other funding you have applied for with the status of each application, including funding you have not received, including contact information for all sources of funding pending;
    3. Any matching funding available that will help to support the total costs associated with your request
  2. Prepare an itemized budget for all requested funds (1 page maximum)
  3. Prepare any relevant cost documentation (receipts, invoices, estimated costs, etc)
  4. Submit your materials to the Graduate School Award Online Application.
  5. At the same time, the fellowship and award approver for your department will receive an email notifying them that you submitted your application.

The Graduate School considers applications throughout the year and processes requests as they are received. Requests may be awarded in full or partially. You will be notified in writing of the decision. Since funds are limited, The Graduate School urges you and your sponsors to supplement other sources of funds whenever possible. You should understand that processing requests may take several weeks to a month, depending upon time of year.

Contact Us

Graduate School Fellowships Office