Student Support

Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge

If we can send our fellow citizens to war on our behalf, the least we can do is help them send their loved ones to college.

A Veterans Day ceremony was held next to the Carolina Alumni Memorial adjacent to Memorial Hall on November 10, 2017, on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

If we can send our fellow citizens to war on our behalf, the least we can do is help them send their loved ones to college.

Saying thank you.

The men and women who serve America’s military often put their lives on the line for our country and for us. Yet when the time comes for our service personnel to send their loved ones to college, the financial hurdle can loom high. Carolina aims to change that, thanks to a commitment from Carolina alumni Steve and Debbie Vetter of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Vetters — children of veterans themselves — hope to inspire the Carolina community to come together and double the impact of their gift through the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge. With a goal to raise a total of $40 million in scholarship support for dependents of military families, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will transform lives for generations.

Rewarding hard work, honoring sacrifice.

The Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will support students like Genna Crites, a first-generation college student whose military connections include both parents — students we want on our campus. Many military-affiliated students who receive aid also qualify for the Carolina Covenant, our signature scholarship program that gives our lowest-income students the opportunity to graduate debt-free through a combination of grants, scholarships and federal work-study. They, too, are exceptional. Like all students, Covenant Scholars earn their place at Carolina based solely on their academic merit and outstanding character. Covenant Scholars admitted in 2011 and graduated in 2015 typify the program’s quality: Their high school GPA averaged 4.42, and they graduated with an average 3.15 GPA.

Genna Crites ’21, is a Carolina Covenant Scholar majoring in information science

A clear and present need.

North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation with 100,606 active duty personnel stationed in the state (as of March 2018). Many have family members — children and spouses — who want to go to college, who deserve to go to college. But consider: Basic pay for an Army Staff Sergeant with 18 or more years’ service was just $47,329/year as of January 2018, according to the Department of Defense. No wonder college may be out of reach for these families, making the key to a better future more difficult to grasp. We see their need firsthand. In fall 2016, Carolina enrolled 402 undergraduate first-year and transfer students affiliated with the military, the large majority being military dependents. Of those 402, well more than half (235) qualified for — and received — financial aid.

All of our students from military families have done the hard work to get into Carolina and do the hard work to succeed while here. They’re remarkable in every way. What’s more, all Carolina students benefit from the unique experiences and broad horizons of dependents from military families. And when we support them, we also support the service personnel who have done so much to preserve our freedoms and protect our welfare. Consider honoring these military families by helping Carolina meet the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge today by making a gift of any size to meet this important need.

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