Jun 04, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalogue 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid

The primary mission of the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) is to assist prospective and currently enrolled students and their families in securing the most suitable financial aid as the student pursues a degree or teaching certificate at UNCW. Through our outreach efforts, we support the University’s mission, including the commitment to public service and the encouragement of access to college. To this end, we administer federal, state and institutional student financial aid programs in excess of $100M to assist UNCW students.

Eligibility for the majority of our programs is determined using the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Methodology. Most gift aid is need based. However, a significant amount of non-need based funding is also available, primarily in the form of loans.

UNCW offers assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, Federal Work-Study jobs or a combination of these programs. For most graduate students, federal student loans are the primary source of financial assistance. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1st as possible to receive priority consideration for aid. Aid funds are disbursed to the students’ account at the beginning of each semester. Aid will continue to be disbursed through the rest of the semester as student’s financial aid files become complete. Refunds are processed regularly for students who have a credit balance. In order to receive a refund, the student needs to access the Student Accounts website to establish a student profile. This profile must be entered in order to receive excess funds from loans, overpayments, scholarships, and grant monies. The information provided in the profile is secure and confidential. The refunds are direct deposited into a checking or savings account specified by the student. Contact Student Accounts at (910) 962-4281 with any questions.

To apply for financial aid, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some students must submit other documentation as requested by the OSFA. To receive federally-funded financial aid, students must be making satisfactory academic progress as determined by the OSFA; be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; and meet other criteria as specified by the U.S. Department of Education including at least half-time enrollment status. Questions concerning financial aid at UNCW should be directed to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid. The office is located in the Warwick Center.

Office: (910) 962-3177 FAX: (910) 962-3851
Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid Web site
Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid questions: e-mail: finaid@uncw.edu
Veterans Services questions: e-mail: veterans@uncw.edu
On-line student account information

Graduate Enrollment Status for Financial Aid Purposes

For financial aid purposes, the following definitions apply for determining graduate enrollment status during the academic year (fall, spring and summer semesters):

Enrollment Status Graduate Level Credit Hours*
Full time 9 or more
3/4 time 6.0 - 8.5
1/2 time 4.5 - 5.5
Less than 1/2 time 0 - 4.0

*Number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled at the end of the drop/add period. Students enrolled in a master’s program must be earning credit hours in a qualified program in order to be eligible for financial aid. Note: a student may also be considered full-time when enrolled for less than nine hours if one of several conditions are met. See full-time status  under the Academic Regulations and Procedures section.

Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time in graduate-level courses to qualify for most financial aid programs.

Total credit hours for all summer sessions are used to define enrollment status in summer semester for financial aid purposes.

In order to receive a refund in the first session of Summer School, graduate students must be registered for at least 4.5 hours during Summer I. If the student registers for 3 hours in each session, the refund will not be available until the first day of class of the second session. All students, including graduate students, must be attending at least half-time prior to a refund being issued.

Classes may be held until Summer II aid is applied to your account. Students are responsible for book money and living expenses until Summer II classes start at the end of June.

Students who need summer school aid must complete a summer school application available at www.uncw.edu/finaid after March 1. In order to have summer school aid processed in time to hold classes, the application must be received no later than one week prior to the start of the session you are attending.


Graduate teaching assistantships are available on a limited basis in the Cameron School of Business; Watson College of Education; College of Health and Human Services; and the College of Arts and Sciences.  The admission application process determines the candidates for these awards. For information contact the specific department/school or the Graduate School.

Scholarships and Awards 

The goal of the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid at UNCW is to provide students and their families with information on both internal and external scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are gifts of money that do not require repayment.

Scholarships usually recognize special achievements in academics, talent, and leadership. Some scholarships may also require that students demonstrate financial need. Financial need will be determined by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarships can come from a variety of sources. Scholarships may be awarded by the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, Admissions, Honors,  and by each of the colleges on our campus. There are scholarships for transfer students as well as students currently enrolled at the university.

UNCW has many scholarships that have been made available through the generous donations of alumni and friends of the university. For more information about scholarships provided by UNCW donors, please visit: https://giving.uncw.edu/why-it-matters/donor-funded-scholarships. Scholarship eligibility, criteria, and amounts may change at any time without prior notice. Information pertaining to the scholarships available and the application process may be obtained from our General Scholarship Application located in SEANET and through our Scholarship Manager Student Portal.  Students may also find additional information about discipline specific scholarships by contacting the academic department of their intended major or by viewing college Web pages.


Students must complete a FAFSA to initiate the application process and are automatically considered for all Federal Loan programs and Federal Work-Study. Students may borrow up to $20,500 in Direct Student Loans per academic year.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans are available to graduate students who file the FAFSA and otherwise are eligible. Students may borrow up to $20,500 or the cost of attendance minus all other resources (including financial aid, tuition remissions). Interest begins accruing when the funds are disbursed to the student. Repayment begins when the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment status. There are a variety of repayment plans. A portion of the loan may be cancelled upon completion of employment under certain terms and conditions. Students must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Federal Direct student loans. More information about the terms and conditions are available at the following link: https://uncw.edu/finaid/basics.html#Loans

PLUS Loans for graduate or professional students. Graduate or professional students are eligible to borrow under the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate/Professional PLUS loans. These requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history, repayment beginning 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan, and a fixed interest rate of 7 percent in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program. Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They must have applied for their annual maximum loan eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program before applying for Graduate or Professional PLUS loan. They also must complete an entrance interview prior to first disbursement and an exit interview when the student leaves school. Entrance and exit interviews can be completed either in person or on the web.

Master Promissory Note. To receive a Direct Loan or PLUS loan for graduate students, the student is required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) with the U.S. Department of Education Direct Loan Program.

Entrance and Exit Interviews

Students who receive a Federal Unsubsidized or Perkins Loan must complete a loan entrance interview prior to receiving the first disbursement of a loan.

Students who received a Federal Unsubsidized or Perkins Loan must complete an exit interview prior to leaving UNCW. Exit interviews must be completed by students who withdraw or graduate.

Entrance and exit interviews may be completed on the web. There is a link to both interviews on the OSFA web site.
It is important that students who borrow Perkins and Direct loans realize that the loans require repayment, usually within 10 years after leaving school. Loan calculators are available at the interview website demonstrating estimated loan payments and approximate income required to make payments.

Please note that all Federal Student Loans are processed through the U.S. Department of Education Direct Loan Program. Students who borrowed prior to 2010-11 and have loans through other lenders may be interested in consolidation. Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center for more information.

Non-Federal and Alternative Loans

Non-federal loans are often referred to as alternative loans because they represent an alternative to the federal loan program.

The Direct Loans and PLUS Loans generally provide more favorable terms and conditions than non-federal loans. For that reason, we encourage students and their families first apply for federal loans using the FAFSA before considering non-federal loans. Non-federal loans may be helpful to students who need to borrow more than allowed under the federal loan programs and those students who are ineligible for federal loans. Eligibility for non-federal loans is determined by the lender based on credit review. UNCW certifies the loan amount but has no influence on the credit decision. A very small percentage of students are ineligible for federal loans. The most common reason for this ineligibility is failure to meet UNCW’s satisfactory academic progress policy.


The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS), which is federally funded, provides part-time jobs both on and off the UNCW campus or off campus with community service organizations, for students who have demonstrated financial need. Students who submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and answer “yes” when presented with the question regarding wanting federal work study to be considered. Funds are limited and are awarded based upon the date the completed FAFSA is received.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility (Graduate)

Federal regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress from both qualitative and quantitative measures: cumulative GPA (3.0), hours earned compared to hours attempted (50%) and maximum time limit (200% of the published length of the program).

Satisfactory Academic Progress and eligibility for financial aid are determined each academic term after grades are available. For more, visit http://www.uncw.edu/finaid/eligibility.html


Federal regulations allow for certain cases in which the school may waive the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Specifically, if a student’s failure to be in compliance with one or more areas of satisfactory academic progress is due to events beyond the student’s control, such as a student’s extended illness, serious illness or death in the immediate family, or other significant trauma, and if such mitigating circumstances can be appropriately documented for the specific term(s) in which the deficiency occurred, the student may appeal to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA). Eligibility may be regained by appeal. Contact the OSFA to obtain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal form.

Policy on Return of Title IV Funds

Federal financial aid funds are awarded with the expectation that students will complete the entire period of enrollment. Students “earn” a percentage of the funds they are disbursed with each day of class attendance. When a student who has received federal financial aid funds (Title IV Funds) leaves school before the end of the semester or period of enrollment, federal law requires UNCW to calculate the percentage and amount of “unearned” financial aid funds that must be returned to the federal government. This calculation may have the effect of requiring a return of funds that have already been disbursed to the student. Students are encouraged to meet with their financial aid counselor prior to making the decision to withdraw from school. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the enrollment period, students are considered to have earned all funding received. For more, visit http://www.uncw.edu/finaid/includes/Return_of_FinancialAid.html

Veterans Services

The Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) provides certification for educational benefits to veterans and/or their eligible dependents, enrolled at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The Veterans Services coordinator is concerned with the recruitment and retention of veterans at the university and ensuring they successfully complete their educational program. The OSFA assists students receiving educational benefits under Chapter 35 (Dependents), Chapter 32 (VEAP), Chapter 1606/1607 (reservists from all branches of the services, and Chapter 30 (individuals who served on active duty), Chapter 33 (Post 9-11), and transfer of Benefits (T.O.E.). Veterans who feel they have an entitlement should check with their local VA Office, the Regional Office in Atlanta (1-888-GIBill1) or the VA certifying official at their local educational institution. The veterans’ coordinator does not determine a student’s eligibility, but can assist a student with the process. You may also obtain information at www.gibill.va.gov.

The exception to the above is:

  • A veteran who has a 20 percent or greater disability due to service connected cause(s) may be eligible for benefits under Chapter 31. Check with the Veterans Affairs Regional Office (1-800-827-1000).

A goal of the OSFA is to assist students eligible for veterans’ benefits with counseling regarding their coursework and benefits while they work to successfully complete their desired educational objective within the guidelines of the North Carolina State Approving Agency. The monitoring of attendance, successful completion of courses and the pursuit of appropriate curricula are required. Services to veterans and dependents include referrals to peer and professional counseling, employment, community outreach services, tutorial services and special programs for educationally disadvantaged veterans.

All students receiving VA educational benefits are required to complete their class schedules each semester and to ensure prompt and timely correspondence between UNCW and the Veterans Administration. Veterans/dependents should make an appointment with the Veterans Services coordinator if they need personal counseling regarding their financial aid/VA benefits. Changes in the veteran’s course of study must be cleared with the Veterans Services coordinator to ensure continuation of benefits. For further information about veteran benefits and eligibility requirements, students should contact the Veterans Services coordinator at (910) 962-3177, Fax (910) 962-3851 or e-mail to: veterans@uncw.edu.