It is the mission of the UNC Asheville Office of Financial Aid to provide financial assistance to help students remove the financial barriers to obtaining a college education. Our goal is to help each student attend UNC Asheville regardless of financial difficulties.
The University of North Carolina at Asheville has a broad program of financial aid for students who qualify on the basis of need and academic potential. Financial aid may consist of a scholarship, a grant, a North Carolina grant, a loan, campus employment or a combination of these.
Applicants for financial aid must file the electronic Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov, indicating UNC Asheville as the college choice with federal school code 002907.
Financial aid applications for the academic year beginning in August should be submitted between January 1 and March 1. Students applying for financial aid after March 1 will be given consideration for all types of financial aid on a fund-available basis. Awards are made only after students have met all admission requirements.
The types of financial aid offered by the university are outlined below. Further information is available from the Office of Financial Aid’s website at www.unca.edu/financialaid.
All financial aid is subject to change based on Federal and State funding.
How Need Is Assessed
Need is assessed once the institution receives the outcome from the FAFSA. This information provides the institution with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and that figure is subtracted from the cost of attendance (COA). If the EFC is less than the COA, the student is said to have a financial need and could receive grants, work study and loans. If the EFC is greater than the COA, the student is said to have no financial need and could receive unsubsidized loans.
Eligibility for Financial Aid
The following students are eligible for financial aid: degree seeking undergraduates seeking their first baccalaureate degree whose total attempted credit hours (including transfer hours) are under 180 hours; students seeking a second undergraduate degree whose attempted credit hours are under 230 hours; and students seeking teacher licensure, or who are enrolled in courses required to complete the licensure program.
The following students are not eligible for financial aid: visiting students; certificate of major students; students who are auditing classes; and non-degree seeking students.
Through the generosity of past and present donors, the university offers a variety of scholarships to incoming freshmen who demonstrate high academic achievements. The scholarship amounts range from approximately $100 to the total cost of tuition and fees per year. Though some scholarships carry donor-specific restrictions, many of these scholarships are unrestricted and are available to students who meet academic or academic/need criteria. Some scholarships are renewable as long as the recipient maintains the specified minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 and satisfactory academic progress towards his/her degree.
The University Laurels Program
The University Laurels Scholarship Committee will make merit awards to students with outstanding academic achievements and promise. Entering freshmen should be in the top 10 percent of their high school class and have SAT Reasoning Test scores of 1250 combined or higher on the Critical Reading and Math sections. The most competitive students will have a profile similar to the example below:
|High School Rank
|Upper 10 percent
|Minimum grade point average
|3.8 on a 4-point scale
|Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT Reasoning Test)
|1250 and higher on the Critical Reading and Math Sections
|American College Test (ACT with Writing)
|28 composite or higher
Entering freshmen who want to be considered for Laurels Scholarships must apply for admission by the early action deadline of November 15. The Admissions Committee will nominate competitive applicants at the time of application. An essay and list of co-curricular activities are required for consideration.
Academic scholarships are available from some departments. Recipients of Departmental Scholarships are selected by the individual departments, who notify the students if a separate application is required. Recipients must be full time and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
Federal and State Funds
Federal Pell Grant Program
As the largest federal grant program, the Pell Grant provides education grants up to $5,550 per year which do not have to be repaid.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
Funded by the federal government, this grant provides assistance for students with exceptional financial need. It does not have to be repaid.
Federal Perkins Loan Program
This long-term, low-interest loan (5%) was once funded by the federal government for qualified students who demonstrated financial need. At this juncture, the only funds available are based on amounts that are repaid to the school. Therefore, funds are limited.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan is a long-term, low-interest loan designed to provide students with additional funds for college. Funds must be repaid. This program includes both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours to be eligible for Stafford Loans. For more eligibility information visit the Office of Financial Aid website: www.unca.edu/financialaid.
Loan maximums for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loans:
|Undergraduate Dependent Students
|Graduate (MLA) students: $20,500
William D. Ford Federal Direct Parent Loan Program
Parents of full-time or part-time dependent undergraduate or graduate students may borrow amounts that equal cost minus financial aid.
Federal Work-Study Program
The program provides on- and off-campus jobs (10 hours/week) for students who demonstrate financial need and meet the qualifications set forth by the federal government.
North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (ELS)
This scholarship is awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The student must be a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes, be enrolled in at least six credit hours, and be an undergraduate student seeking their first bachelor’s degree. The student’s initial award is based on the assumption that they will be full-time. If the student is enrolled between 6 and 11 hours, the student is only eligible to receive half of the original funded amount.
The North Carolina Native Americans Scholarship
The North Carolina General Assembly has provided funds for a number of need-based grants to resident North Carolina Native American students in constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina. Eligibility for a grant under the Incentive Scholarship and Grant Program for Native Americans (ISGPNA) is limited to a person qualifying as follows:
- admitted or enrolled as a student in good standing in a degree program at this institution.
- classified by this institution as a resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes as defined in the residence status regulations (Residence Manual, current edition) of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina.
- found to have financial need by this institution.
- coming within this definition of Native American: an individual who maintains cultural identification as a Native American through membership in a tribe recognized by the state of North Carolina or by the federal government or through other tribal affiliation or community recognition.
The North Carolina Need-Based Grant
This grant enables students who qualify for financial assistance to begin or continue their education at the university. Eligible candidates must be residents of North Carolina and must be full-time students in the academic year for which they request aid. The grant is limited in funding and is only awarded to those students with the greatest documented need as determined by the FAFSA. Recipients must have a satisfactory academic record.
North Carolina Tuition Offset Grant
This grant is provided by the state of North Carolina to help students offset the yearly increases of tuition. The student must have demonstrated financial need.
University of North Carolina Need-Based Grant
This program is administered by the College Foundation of North Carolina and provides grants to North Carolina residents who are enrolled at the university at least half time.
Emergency Student Loan Funds
These are made available by individuals or groups interested in providing interest-free loans to needy students. The Leonard S. Levitch Student Loan Fund is available for emergency situations and is repayable prior to the beginning of the next semester. Maximum loan amount is $250.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients
Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The requirements of this policy apply to all students seeking a baccalaureate degree as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.
The SAP policy must measure a student’s progress both qualitatively (Cumulative grade-point average (GPA)) and quantitatively (Completion Ratio). In addition, students are also required to complete their degree requirements within a certain period of time (Maximum Time Limit). This requirement applies to all applicants and recipients of financial aid. Financial Aid is defined as all federal, state, and institutional aid.
For SAP purposes, student academic records are evaluated by the Office of Student Financial Aid at the end of each semester. Students will receive one of three SAP conditions, Good, Warning or Cancelled. If aid is cancelled, the student may appeal (see Appeal Process section). If the appeal is granted, the status will be moved to Probation. The Office of Student Financial Aid will send notification of ineligibility to students through their official UNC Asheville e-mail account.
Students who are suspended or dismissed from the institution will immediately become ineligible for financial aid. In rare cases, exceptions are granted through a formal appeal process (see Regaining Eligibility and Appeals sections). Students who have withdrawn from courses in more than two semesters while receiving financial aid will not be eligible for reinstatement based on appeal. In such cases, the student will be expected to successfully complete a full-time semester of coursework (i.e., with all passing grades) before appealing for reinstatement.
Note: This policy is effective beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year. Returning students who left UNC Asheville prior to implementation of this policy will be reevaluated under the new policy.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)
Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA to be eligible for financial aid. If a student’s GPA falls below the minimum 2.0, the status moves from GOOD to WARNING. If the student meets the 2.0 minimum GPA requirement during the next review, the status will be upgraded from WARNING to GOOD. However, if the student does not reach the 2.0 minimum, the status will move from WARNING to CANCELLED. When in CANCELLED status, the student is not eligible for federal Title IV, state or institutional aid.
Students will regain financial aid eligibility and move the status back to GOOD if their cumulative GPA improves to at least a 2.0.
Some institutional scholarships or grants may require a higher academic achievement than those defined by the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria. Private aid offered by agencies outside the University is not subject to the conditions of this policy, but will be administered according to donor specifications.
Completion Ratio (Quantitative Measure)
UNC Asheville recommends students earn at least 30 semester hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years. To remain eligible for financial aid, students must earn at least 67% of the total cumulative hours attempted. Attempted hours include all credits accepted in transfer as well as those attempted at UNC Asheville. Students must receive grades of A, B, C, D (including “+/-”), or S to earn hours.
Student academic records are evaluated at the end of each academic term (fall, spring and summer). If the student’s cumulative earned hours fall below the 67% completion ratio, the status moves from GOOD to WARNING. If the student meets the 67% completion requirement at the end of the next semester review, the status will be upgraded from WARNING to GOOD. However, if the student does not earn at least 67% of the total cumulative hours attempted, the status will move from WARNING to CANCELLED. When in CANCELLED status, the student is not eligible for federal Title IV, state or institutional aid.
Students will regain financial aid eligibility and move the status from CANCELLED to GOOD if their completion ratio improves to at least 67%.
For financial aid purposes, the following are not included as part of the earned hours at UNC Asheville. However, they are included in the attempted hours.
- Grades of F, I, IP, U, W or X/Y (audit) do not earn hours.
- Audited courses (X/Y) count toward attempted hours but not toward earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes may negatively affect the student’s ability to earn the required number of hours.
- If a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student will only earn hours for a successfully completed course once. Repeating courses may negatively affect the student’s ability to satisfy the Completion Ratio standard.
- Incomplete grades (I) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the I grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
- In-Progress grades (IP) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the IP grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
Federal regulations have amended the definition of a full-time student to allow repeated coursework to count toward enrollment status in term-based programs. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be paid with Title IV aid accordingly. Students may also repeat a failed course until it is passed and be paid. However, as stated above, grades of “F” do not count as earned hours. Repeating any coursework may ultimately impact a student’s maximum time limit, GPA and completion ratio as it relates to Title IV eligibility.
Maximum Time Limit Measure
To remain eligible for financial aid, undergraduate students seeking their first degree must complete their requirements within 150 % of the published length of their academic program. This includes students who are seeking more than one major. Most UNC Asheville programs require no more than 120 hours for graduation. Therefore, students seeking a first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 180 attempted hours to remain eligible for financial aid. However, if a SAP review shows that the student who has surpassed the 120-hour minimum requirement (100%), cannot complete his or her program within 180 credits (150%), all Title IV aid must stop.
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours.
Students will not be eligible for federal or state aid once they exceed the Maximum Time Limit, even if they have not graduated.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Post-Baccalaureate Students
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the same (SAP) requirements as listed above for students seeking their initial baccalaureate degree.
Graduate (MLA) students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and are not able to withdraw from any classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Graduate students do not receive a WARNING period.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Study Abroad Students
Students who participate in study abroad during any term will be evaluated for SAP at the end of the term. If transcripts are not received by the end of the term, students will be on WARNING status for one semester. If transcripts are still not received by the review time for the following term, aid will be CANCELLED. If this happens, students will be required to follow the SAP appeal process to have aid reinstated. Students must complete at minimum 67% of the hours attempted.
Financial Aid Warning
Financial Aid WARNING status will be assigned at the end of the semester to students who fail to make SAP. Students under WARNING status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period. No appeal is required.
If at the end of the one payment period the student is still not making SAP, an appeal will be required. The appeal must be approved by the SAP Appeal Committee in order for the student to continue to receive Title IV Aid. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is considered and a decision rendered.
All “F” Grades or Zero GPA
Students receiving all F grades, or having a zero GPA in one semester, will have their status moved directly to CANCELLED without a semester of WARNING. Until the required hours are earned or the GPA requirement is met, the student is responsible for all charges due to the university.
Students in this situation will be required to pay for one semester even if they are meeting all other SAP requirements. They will also be required to submit an Academic Plan for review by the SAP Committee and the Enrollment Services Committee.
Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid
If students lose eligibility to receive financial aid because they do not meet the qualitative and/or quantitative measures, they can regain eligibility by:
- raising their cumulative GPA by taking courses and earning hours at UNC Asheville. These courses cannot be taken at other institutions.
- successfully completing a minimum of 67% of the attempted coursework at UNC Asheville.
Once the Maximum Time Limit has been exceeded, students are not be eligible for federal or state aid, even if they have not graduated.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
Students whose financial aid was cancelled due to GPA and/or completion ratio standards may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement. If one of the following circumstances exists, students should submit a completed Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, providing the required documentation. Appeals submitted without proper documentation will be denied.
- Death in the family
- Medical Illness (Personal/Immediate family)
- Loss of a job
- Divorce or Separation
Students with chronic conditions are responsible for properly balancing work with known chronic conditions, and appeals for more than one waiver will not be considered.
Students seeking to re-establish financial aid eligibility remain ineligible to receive financial aid assistance or deferment of payment until the appeal process is complete and a decision has been made by the SAP Appeal Committee. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is reviewed and a decision rendered.
Submitting an appeal with the required documentation does not guarantee that the appeal will be approved. The documentation will be reviewed by the SAP Appeal Committee and a decision will be made at that time. Notification regarding the decision of the appeal will be sent to the student’s UNC Asheville email address.
Steps for Appealing
- Complete the UNC Asheville Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form, available at http://www.unca.edu/financialaid/.
- Attach a personal letter, describing in detail the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, and what steps you intend to take to assure that you will maintain SAP in the future.
- Submit the SAP Appeal form and all of the required documentation to the UNC Asheville Office of Financial Aid. Acceptable documentation for the appeal is as follows:
- For Death of Immediate Family Member: A copy of the Death Certificate or newspaper clipping that states your relationship to the deceased.
- For Illness: Statement from physician explaining the type of illness and the date and length of the illness.
- Other: Proper documentation surrounding the circumstances.
Appeals must be received in the Financial Aid Office 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which you are trying to establish eligibility. Students appealing after this time frame should be prepared to pay for the semester expenses. If the appeal is granted, students cannot submit appeals for other semesters citing the same extenuating circumstances. Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on PROBATIONARY status.
Financial Aid Probation
The PROBATIONARY status is assigned by UNC Asheville’s Office of Financial Aid to all students who fail to make SAP, and who have appealed and had eligibility for Title IV aid reinstated. UNC Asheville’s Office of Financial Aid may impose conditions for student’s continued eligibility to receive Title IV aid. If the Financial Aid Office chooses not to impose conditions for a student’s continued eligibility, the student may receive aid for one additional payment period. If at the end of the unconditional payment period the student still fails to make SAP, all Title IV aid will be canceled until the student can regain SAP standards. No additional appeals will be granted. The student should be prepared to pay until SAP is obtained. After Financial Aid Probation, the student must be making SAP or must be successfully following an academic plan. There are no exceptions to this condition.
If the appeal is denied by the SAP Appeal Committee, and students wish to pursue it further, they may appeal to the Enrollment Services Advisory Committee. If the appeal is denied by one or both committees, students must pay for the semester expenses until satisfactory academic progress is reestablished.
If SAP wasn’t maintained due to a deficiency in hours (quantitative measure), students may take courses at another institution as long as UNC Asheville will accept the courses in transfer. This process must first be approved by the Office of the Registrar at UNC Asheville.
If the deficiency is due to GPA (qualitative measure), any additional courses must be taken at UNC Asheville since the GPA is calculated using only UNC Asheville courses.
After completing the semester being used to reestablish SAP, students must submit another appeal form to The Office of Financial Aid as outlined above in Steps for Appealing.
Title IV Refund Repayment
UNC Asheville has a federally mandated Return of Funds Policy that governs the return of Title IV funds disbursed to students who completely withdraw from the University. If a student completely withdraws, he or she must return unearned student aid. Funds are earned in direct proportion to the length of time a student remains enrolled each semester. If the amount of Title IV funds disbursed is greater than the amount of funds earned by a student, a return of funds is required. Both the University and the student are responsible for returning a percentage of the unearned aid.