Financial Aid

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Financial Aid Basics

Read all correspondence that the Financial Aid Office sends to you and respond immediately to any requests.

Keep all of your personal information up to date. This includes your legal name, address, and telephone numbers. If you move, you can submit an "address change" through your SeaNet account.

Apply early. For priority consideration of limited need-based federal, state, and institutional funding, the FAFSA application should be filed by the established priority deadlines of January 1(fall), October 1 (spring), and April 1 (summer).

Maintain a "Financial Aid" file and keep track of your submitted documents.

Types of Financial Aid

There are four main types of financial aid. A student is offered a combination of aid (known as a financial aid award) from these four programs:

Please Note: Due to limited funding allocations, not all students meeting priority deadlines are awarded funds from all programs. Priority filing deadlines: January 1(fall), October 1 (spring), and April 1 (summer).


Grants are need-based financial awards that do not have to be repaid. Grants are provided based on Federal, State and institutional regulations and guidelines.

Federal Grants

  • Federal Pell Grant funding, including Year-Round Pell, is limited to the equivalent of 12 full-time terms (life-time eligibility), starting from the first time you received Federal Pell Grant funding. If you have already received the equivalent of or exceeded the 12 full-time term limit, you will no longer be able to receive Pell Grant funds. Pell grant payments can be viewed on NSLDS. There are no appeals or exceptions to the life-time eligibility Pell Grant rule. Students who have already earned a bachelor, master, or professional degree are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. 
  • Students who are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant may click here to view the amount of Pell that will be awarded per semester (fall/spring) based on a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the 2021-2022 FAFSA and semester credit load. Please keep in mind that the Pell Chart is only an estimation of funds. Several other factors may contribute to a student’s eligibility including, but not limited to, withdrawal or failure to attend classes and failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Pell Grant disbursements for students in an Online Accelerated Program (OAP) may differ 

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)- This federal grant program is based on extreme financial need for students who are Pell eligible. Students are automatically considered for this grant based on the results of the FAFSA. The maximum award is $1500. To be eligible for an FSEOG, the student must meet these requirements each academic year:
    • Complete a FAFSA by January 1 priority deadline
    • Be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen
    • Enrolled in at least six credit hours per term
    • Have a zero ($0) Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the FAFSA
    • Have not previously received a bachelor's degree or higher
    • Must not owe a repayment or be in default under any state or federal grant or loan program
    • Must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants of up to $4000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.

State Grants

Institutional Grants

  • Seahawk Grant - This grant is provided by UNCW to help students offset the cost of tuition. It is awarded on the basis of need as determined by the FAFSA.


The largest source of scholarships at UNCW are institutional merit scholarships. Institutional merit scholarships are generally awarded based on stated criteria such as a high grade-point average, SAT or ACT score, or exceptional talent. Other institutional scholarships are awarded based on affiliation with a certain group such as a sorority or fraternity, interest in a specific subject area like math or science, etc.

Need-based scholarships and grants are awarded based upon a student's financial need. Some scholarships are awarded based on both merit and financial need. Read more about scholarships at UNCW.

Federal Work Study  

  • FWS provides part-time employment for undergraduate and graduate students who have established financial need through the submission of the FAFSA.
  • Earnings are not applied to your account. You receive a paycheck on the 15th of each month for the hours worked the previous month.
  • You may not earn more than your awarded amount for work-study.
  • Positions are available on and off campus. Off-campus positions are within non-profit organizations in the local community. While the pay rate is considerably more for community service positions, you must have your own transportation to the job site.
  • If you are eligible, and funds are available, FWS will be included in your financial aid award.
  • Explore available student employment opportunities at Handshake. Handshake will also have opportunities for non-need based positions available on campus and is managed by the Career Center. 

    For guidance on how to access the Handshake portal, please view the Handshake Step-by-Step Guide.

  • Information for students who have already been awarded Federal Work Study is available in the Federal Work Study Handbook

Read more about Student Employment.


There are several loan options available to assist you in financing your education including Federal Direct Student Loans, and Federal Parent PLUS Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).

Non-Federal loans are offered by banks or lending institutions to help bridge the gap between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. These are loans that are not guaranteed by the federal government. Students and their families have the right to use a lender of their own choosing, will not be penalized in any way for exercising such an option and will receive assistance from the campus in processing the loan of the student's choice.

The actual federal Direct loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. These limits vary depending on what year you are in school and whether you are a dependent or independent student.

If you are a dependent student whose parents are ineligible for a Direct PLUS loan, you may be able to receive additional Direct unsubsidized loan funds.

If your earned credit hours at the end of a semester transition you from one grade level to another, then you may be eligible for more federal loans at that time. Email your counselor to request any available eligibility you may have. 

Read more about Direct loan limits, aggregates and interest rates.