Funding Priority

The Carolina Edge

The Carolina Edge is the University’s bold commitment to raise $1 billion to create opportunity through scholarships and fellowships for students who have earned their place at Carolina, regardless of their financial circumstances. Simply put, these are students our University needs in order to attract and retain the very best. The Carolina Edge will ensure that Carolina continues to set the bar for student achievement by recruiting and enrolling the most talented scholars from North Carolina and beyond.

Signature Initiatives


The growing need for undergraduate scholarship support

As the nation’s first public university, UNC-Chapel Hill has embodied the promise of American higher education for more than two centuries. That promise rests on a single premise: Every student who has done the hard work to gain admission to Carolina, gets admission to Carolina — regardless of their financial circumstances.

Cost-of-attendance for colleges across the country are rising, including tuition, textbooks, technology and meals, and that cost has only become more daunting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate COVID-19’s impact will result in needing up to an additional $15 million in aid in 2020-21, which would represent a 18% increase over the prior year.

With more elite students than ever demonstrating more need than ever, and with fewer public resources to support them, private philanthropy is ever more critical to meeting our commitment to students of all backgrounds.

Scholarships Benefit The Entire Campus

Scholarships enable us to recruit the strongest students from all backgrounds to Carolina. These talented, hard-working students bring a range of life experiences that enrich the education of everyone around them.

We work hard to keep Carolina affordable while providing excellence at all levels. That record of commitment has enabled us to attract the best students from across North Carolina, the nation and around the globe. To remain true to our commitment, we must offer privately funded scholarships. In every case, we intend to give our students the edge they need.

Specifically, we aim to raise undergraduate support for the Carolina Covenant, middle income scholarships through the Blue Sky Scholars program, merit scholarships and student-athlete scholarships; and fellowships and grants for graduate and professional students.

A few weeks before former UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams retired, he and his wife, Wanda, gave $3 million to support three scholarship funds at Carolina.

  • The Carolina Covenant provides low-income scholars a debt-free path to graduation through a combination of scholarships, grants and work-study
  • Student-athlete scholarships enables Tar Heel team members to gain a world-class education while competing for one of the nation’s top athletics programs
  • The Chancellor’s Science Scholars provides academic scholarships for high-achieving students to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering and math and diversify the STEM fields.

Playing It Forward is Carolina’s scholarship drive to honor Roy and Wanda Williams. Say thank you to Coach and Wanda by supporting scholarships that mean the most to them. Through June 30, 2021, gifts and pledges will count toward Playing It Forward and the Carolina Edge.

1 in 10 undergraduates are Carolina Covenant Scholars.

Aid Brings Talent

Top universities invest in student aid. Not just because it’s a measure of fairness and opportunity, but because it guarantees the strongest possible class of students — the best and brightest who apply, not just the best who can pay.

That, in turn, drives every other measure of institutional excellence. Faculty are drawn by the chance to work with great students. Graduate students are drawn by the chance to teach and research alongside talented undergraduates.

Support Drives Graduation Rates

Targeted aid and scholarships also help improve student success. Programs such as the Carolina Covenant help ensure that low-income students have the resources to focus on their academics and extracurriculars — and achieve on-time graduation.

Graduate and professional students account for 36% of total enrollment at Carolina


A Carolina student faces a crowd at a commencement ceremony.
Student Support

Preparing graduate students for the future of work outside academia

CareerWell, a new program at the UNC Graduate School, builds core business skills and valuable professional networks.

CJ Powell in front of UNC's Old Well

Higher Education and a Higher Purpose

CJ Powell’s experiences at Carolina led him to the Department of Education

Samantha Garcia Cruz
Student Support

Transferring, Researching, Excelling

Undergraduate student recognized for excellence in undergraduate research

Close up of upper body of Carolina alumnus RC Orlan ’19 standing on the UNC baseball stadium field

Fulfilling a Commitment, Getting a Degree

Professional baseball player comes back to Carolina to finish out his degree

Ryan Dial-Stanley

Dedication to Cultural Roots

Ryan Dial-Stanley and his journey after Carolina

Purshotam Aruwani
Student Support

A Summer in Public Safety

Carolina student treated like a full-time employee during his summer internship.

    Support Scholarships Through The Carolina Edge

    There is no greater catalyst for opportunity in our society than educating the next generation. By supporting scholarships through the Carolina Edge you will help ensure financial resources do not hinder our ability to fulfill Carolina’s role in this great mission.

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