2019–2020 Impact Report

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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2019-2020 Impact Report

A letter from the Carolina Covenant director


The past academic year presented the world and our University with great challenges — and along with those challenges, opportunities for listening and leadership.

Listening to Carolina Covenant Scholars was a top priority for our program this year and provided windows into the leadership our students are already providing in various spaces of critical influence and impact. On top of their studies in an increasingly virtual setting, scholars are doing amazing things with their education, which the Carolina Covenant makes possible. I heard from Carolina Covenant Scholars and alumni who are award-winning authors, community organizers and health researchers, and who are tutoring students in their hometowns and creating start-up companies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the scholars I heard from are motivated by a desire to support other low-income students and communities.

Witnessing our scholars make a difference in the world and the ripple effect of their contributions is both affirming and gratifying. I remain in perpetual awe of our students, of their resilience and generosity, and of the many ways their talents and strengths continue to advance scholarship, service and leadership across our institution and far beyond.

The diversity of wisdom, skills and perspectives that our scholars bring to the University is critical to Carolina’s ability to be the engine of innovation we are called to be, especially in such dynamic times. Knowing this — and knowing that low-income students and families are among the hardest hit by the pandemic — we must do all we can to provide support for these bright young people to become all they are destined to be. Now of all times, our Covenant matters.

Candice Powell ’06
Director, Carolina Covenant
Office of Scholarships and Student Aid
“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

2019-2020 Entering Class of Carolina Covenant Scholars

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.

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Carolina Covenant In Action

Kyara Drew
Kyara Drew ’22, a psychology major at Carolina has always been fascinated by the mind. Kyara’s military family upbringing and participation in a research symposium on how PTSD and TBI affect soldier’s lives would inspire her career path. Kyara dreams of helping veterans and their families.
Amber Friel
Amber Friel ’22 always knew she wanted to become a Tar Heel. Excelling inside and outside of the classroom Amber is shaping her community through service and engagement. A first-generation college student whose parents passed away before she started high school, is applying academic knowledge with public service to a cause close to her heart.
Noah Long
Noah Long ’20 does not shy from a challenge. Completing an associate’s degree at Durham Technical Community College Noah was eager to transfer to Carolina. With aid from the Carolina Covenant, Noah excelled academically in his new environment — a task that is particularly challenging for Long, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as a child.
Fidele Mugisha
From the Democratic Republic of Congo to Burundi to the United States, Fidele Mugisha’s path to Carolina has been a winding one. Thanks to his own perseverance and support from the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program and the Carolina Covenant, Fidele expects to graduate from Carolina in 2021 with a degree in business administration.
Maribel Borger
Carolina Covenant alumna and first-generation college graduate Maribel Portillo Borger ’14 is an undergraduate labs supervisor and lecturer in the department of chemistry within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Borger draws from her own experience as a Carolina Covenant Scholar and McNair Scholar to mentor the next generation.


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