Residency and Tuition

The State of North Carolina created and maintains its public institutions of higher education primarily for the benefit of the residents of North Carolina. UNC campuses are financially supported by the North Carolina General Assembly and the public at large. The state’s statutes serve to provide the benefits of its public institutions of higher education at as low a cost as is practicable to students who qualify as “residents” for tuition purposes.

Nonresidents are charged higher tuition than residents. The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted strict statutes for determining who does – and who does not – qualify for in-state tuition.

Veterans and Spouses/Dependents of Veterans

Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, 38 USC 3679© (the Choice Act) and North Carolina General Statute § 116-143.3A, require that public institutions of higher learning (IHL) charge qualifying Veterans and other eligible individuals tuition at the in-state rate. Qualifying Veterans and other eligible individuals are:

  • Veterans using Chapter 33 or 30 GI Bill benefits who live in the state in which he or she is pursuing a course of education at a public IHL, and enroll in a public IHL within 3 years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

  • Anyone using transferred Chapter 33 GI Bill benefits who lives in the state in which he/she is pursuing a course of education at an IHL and enrolls in an IHL within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

  • Anyone using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) who lives in the state in which the IHL is located and enrolls in an IHL within 3 years of the service member’s death in the line of duty following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

    In order to be considered for in-state tuition under the Choice Act, the student must submit the appropriate paperwork prior to the first day of classes. Contact the UNC Campus Admissions Office for the campus you will be attending for more information.

    Active Duty Service Members Assigned to North Carolina and Their Spouse/Dependents

    If your permanent duty station is North Carolina you and your spouse and dependents will be classified as residents of the State of North Carolina for tuition purposes. If your duty station changes to a state other than North Carolina you remain eligible for the in-state tuition benefit so long as you are continuously enrolled in a UNC campus program. Any break in enrollment at a UNC campus after your change in duty station will disqualify you for the in-state tuition rate. If you are later reassigned to a duty station in North Carolina, your in-state tuition benefit is re-instated effective the report date to assignment.

    In order for active duty service members assigned to North Carolina and their spouse or dependents to be considered for in-state tuition, the student must submit the appropriate paperwork prior to the first day of classes. Contact the UNC Campus Admissions Office for the campus you will be attending for more information.

    Active Duty Service Members Assigned Outside of North Carolina

    A North Carolina resident does not lose in-state status by joining the armed services or by being permanently assigned by the military outside North Carolina. Military personnel or spouses of military personnel who are assigned duty stations outside of North Carolina have the burden of proving that North Carolina residency has been maintained by providing documentation in support of that claim.

    It is the student’s responsibility to submit the appropriate paperwork prior to the first day of classes. Contact the UNC Campus Admissions Office for the campus you will be attending for more information.

    North Carolina National Guard

    Members of the North Carolina National Guard, regardless of whether the person is a legal resident of North Carolina, are eligible for the in-state tuition rate during the Guard member’s period of service whether in a reserve or active status. However, the in-state tuition benefit does not apply to the spouses or dependents of non-resident Guard members unless the Guard member is serving in North Carolina on active duty.

    It is the student’s responsibility to submit the appropriate paperwork prior to the first day of classes. Contact the UNC Campus Admissions Office for the campus you will be attending for more information.

    Residency Requirements for All Other Students

    Military affiliated students who do not qualify for in-state tuition under the Choice Act, as an active duty service member or spouse/dependent of an active duty service member assigned to North Carolina, or as a member of the NC National Guard must meet the following requirements to be considered for in-state tuition as a resident of North Carolina.

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