The Carolina Covenant

The Carolina Covenant, UNC’s groundbreaking program for low-income students, covers more than one in 10 undergraduates. Launched in 2004, the Covenant offers a debt-free path to graduation through a combination of grants, scholarships and a work-study job.
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Carolina Covenant
2017-2018 Impact Report

Founded in 1789 as the nation’s first public university, Carolina has long recognized the importance of serving all qualified students, regardless of family income. Financial aid doesn’t simply help individual students — it strengthens the entire University by improving the quality and competitiveness of the student body.

Carolina has earned national recognition as a best value in public higher education, a measure of top-quality academics and affordable tuition. The UNC Office of Scholarships & Student Aid upholds that competitive advantage and UNC’s public mission by helping all students meet the costs of college.

Facts About 2017 Graduating Class of Carolina Covenant Scholars

students of color
first-generation students
median parental income
North Carolinians
graduation rate

Growth in Covenant Enrolling Classes

Scholarships of all kinds help us achieve our goals. Funding for financial aid keeps Carolina need-blind in admissions — welcoming the strongest possible class each year — and able to meet the full demonstrated need of those who enroll. It’s a rare combination for a public flagship and speaks to our deep commitment to the University’s founding ideals.

2018 Entering Class of Carolina Covenant Scholars

The Carolina Covenant, UNC’s groundbreaking program for low-income students, covers more than one in 10 undergraduates. Launched in 2004, the Covenant offers a debt-free path to graduation through a combination of grants, scholarships and a work-study job. Covenant Scholars also have access to mentoring, academic and personal support services, and a network of peers. Since its start, the program has dramatically improved on-time graduation among the University’s lowest-income students, transforming individual lives and building a stronger Carolina.

of all incoming students are Carolina Covenant Scholars
ranked in the top 10 students in their high school class
of Covenant Scholars served in a leadership role while in high school

Scholarship Support Drives Graduation Rates

Graduation rates of all students have improved, but most dramatically among aid-eligible students.

Across the country, the strongest universities are those with the resources and the will to admit students solely on the basis of their achievements, not their bank accounts. It makes for a more academically talented class and a richer experience for all students at Carolina.”
– Rachelle Feldman, Associate Provost

Carolina Covenant In Action

Elizabeth Monaghan ’18: Grateful Scientist
Elizabeth Monaghan chose Carolina because of the warm welcome she received, and because she received a Carolina
Covenant scholarship. “I have not once regretted that decision, as I have made some amazing friends and learned an incredible amount, both inside and outside the classroom,” she said.
Hanna Wondmagegn ’21: Pursuing Passions
Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism — its summer opportunities, its programs and even its alumni — brought
first-generation college student Hanna Wondmagegn to Chapel Hill. Receiving the Carolina Covenant Scholarship and the Johnston Scholarship sealed the deal.
Noah Miller ’19:
Clear Goals, Carolina Memories

Noah Miller was determined to attend Carolina even without financial aid, but receiving the Carolina Covenant Scholarship and the Johnston Scholarship made his decision all the sweeter. Noah entered his first semester with clear goals: to grow as a scientist and pursue a career in neuroscience research.
Mentoring Benefits Everyone
Brian Hogan has been a mentor for the Carolina Covenant for longer than he’s been its director. A member of the chemistry faculty at UNC, he’s worked closely with Covenant Scholars since 2004. Now as director, he’s bringing new students and mentors into the fold.


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Sonny Griffith seated at a table in a library in front of a laptop
Student Support

Following the Narrative

A Carolina Covenant Scholar pursues career-enhancing experiences through the Career Accelerator Program.

Ana Zurita Posas, Scott Hamilton, and Kevin Guskiewicz stand laughing at the Golden LEAF Luncheon
Student Support

Supporting North Carolina’s Rural Communities

Golden LEAF Scholarship increases opportunities for rural North Carolinians

Junior Brenda Palacios Rodriguez poses for a portrait in the Coker Arboretum.
Student Support

Supporting Middle-Income Families

The Blue Sky Scholars Program give scholarship support to middle-income parents and students.

David Routh stands in the center of his family holding the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award with Eddie Smith Field in the background.
Student Support

‘Uplifting future generations’

The David and Jenny Routh Blue Sky Scholars Fund honoring the vice chancellor for development and his wife will support 12 students a year in perpetuity.

Portrait of Alex Acosta
Student Support

‘Where I’m Meant to Be’

The third of four children, Alex Acosta '24 talks about how the Carolina Covenant opens doors and provides support.


Focused on Career Development

Rick Margerison ’70, along with his wife Leah, is still finding new ways to pay it forward.