Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

UNC Initiative to Make College More Accessible for Low-Income Students

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

UNC Initiative to Make College More Accessible for Low-Income Students

Article excerpt

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced a groundbreaking initiative earlier this month to give the children of low-income families an opportunity to attend college--without borrowing a penny.

The initiative, "The Carolina Covenant," will enable low-income students to come to UNC-Chapel Hill and graduate debt-free if they work on campus 10 to 12 hours weekly in a federal work-study job throughout their four years, instead of borrowing. The university will meet the rest of students' needs through a combination of federal, state, university and private grants and scholarships.

Carolina already meets 100 percent of the documented financial needs of all students who apply for aid on time, but about a third of that need is being met through loans. To fund the Carolina Covenant, the university will make modest reallocations of existing funds in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid and pledge growing private gifts dedicated to low-income students. The initiative is expected to cost about $1.38 million annually when fully phased in four years from now.

Carolina is believed to be the first public university in America to launch such an initiative to make college more accessible. …

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