University Advancement


Scholarships & Fellowship

Thousand of student success stories unfold every year at UNCW. By establishing a scholarship, you help students soar to greatness. The university has identified merit scholarships and graduate fellowships as one of its most profound fundraising priorities, to attract the best and brightest students. 

Endowed gifts ensure that support for scholarships and fellowships will thrive in perpetuity. Whether a scholarship has been created in honor of a spouse, parent, dear friend or for another purpose, we appreciate those who have made their legacy at UNCW one that directly benefits our students. Support UNCW scholarships by visiting the online giving site

Scholarship Stories

Jack's story

"These scholarships are a much-appreciated and a welcome contribution to paying for my education and living expenses. I can't tell you how grateful we are for that."

I first enrolled at UNCW after leaving the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984, but never finished my undergraduate degree. Now, a quarter century later, I have returned to finish what I started back then, and to continue on to earn a master’s degree in history. 

The History Department faculty is top-notch. I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting and learning from some of the best historians in the state of North Carolina. I have generally found my instructors to be quality professionals who have
the best interests of their students and academia at heart. As a non-traditional student returning to school after an extended absence, I have no safety net of parents or others to help share the burden of funding my educational pursuits. My wife, God bless her, works slavishly to keep our heads above water while I work to earn the necessary academic credentials to achieve my own professional goals.

For students who struggle to attend the university, there is a constant trade-off between trying to maintain academic excellence and punching a clock to pay for that education and living expenses. If we, as citizens, hope to leave the world a better place than the one we grew up in, it is imperative that we provide those who will survive us with the tools they need to find the answers an increasingly complicated world will demand.

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Ashley Wood '15
Wilmington Coca-Cola Scholarship Endowment

“It is difficult to put into words, but it is so encouraging to know that scholarship donors I've never met believed in me and in my ability to achieve my academic and career goals so much that they would support me financially. I certainly would not be where I am today, both academically and personally, had I not been blessed with such a strong support system behind me. My scholarship donors are a part of that system." 

I am originally from a small town near Clinton, NC and Fayetteville, NC. I was homeschooled from fifth to twelfth grade, and had the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru, during high school to do mission work. It was the first time I had ever left the country, and I only knew some basic Spanish, but it was there that I fell in love with the language and Hispanic culture. As I prepared to enter UNCW in the fall of 2012, I knew I wanted to study Spanish and pursue a career in that field. Because I graduated high school early, I was able to come into UNCW with additional college credits, and for that reason I am now graduating from this university early. 

I am currently in the 3+2 Combined Bachelor's/Master's program the Spanish department offers here, which means this past year I have taken graduate courses in Spanish that count toward both my Bachelor's Degree and my Master's. I was just recently accepted into the Graduate School here at UNCW to complete my Master's Degree next year, and I am very excited to embark on this journey!! I am also completing a minor in Criminology, so after graduation I would love to work in some capacity as an interpreter in the criminal justice system. Working on the federal level would be a dream come true, but I would be happy in any job that allows me to work with Spanish-speaking people.

The summer after my freshman year at UNCW, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ubeda, Spain, on a faculty-led trip. We were there for only about seven weeks, which, looking back, was not nearly enough time! One of my favorite aspects of the trip was living with a host family, which really allowed me to experience authentic Spanish life from sunup to sundown. I loved being surrounded by the language and experiencing a new culture I hadn't previously learned much about. It's been two years since that trip and I am hopeful that I will be able to return to Ubeda sometime in the near future, to have a completely different experience, since now I can understand and speak Spanish much better!

Receiving this scholarship was such a blessing and an encouragement to me. Not only did it make pursuing my degree in this field easier to obtain financially, it had even more of an impact on me emotionally. Thank you so much for your support!

UNCW Distinguished Merit Scholarship Program

UNCW’s national reputation for academic excellence inspires the best and brightest students to apply, but they frequently receive substantial scholarships from other universities that far exceed the merit awards UNCW can provide. To compete with the best universities in the nation, the UNCW Distinguished Merit Scholarship Program has been established to assist high-quality, dedicated and creative students.


These scholarships will rank among the most prestigious the university offers and promise to make the UNCW experience affordable and accessible for superior students from an array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds or financial circumstances. Students receiving these scholarships will be known as UNCW Distinguished Merit Scholars.


Contributions to the UNCW Distinguished Merit Scholarship initiative are an investment in the long-term success of our brightest students and their potential to change the world. We hope you share our commitment to empowering them to soar higher than ever before.

Any gift amount can be applied to the Distinguished Merit Scholarship Fund. However:

  • A recurring annual gift of $7,200 will cover tuition, books and fees for an in-state student
  • A fund endowed at $150,000 will provide a Distinguished Merit Scholarship in perpetuity
  • A gift of $400,000 will establish a truly prestigious scholarship program to attract students of the highest caliber to UNCW with coverage for the full cost of attendance