Military Affairs

seahawks-who-served-web-headerThinking of applying to UNCW?

If you are thinking of applying to UNCW as a military-affiliated student, here are some things to consider: 

  • UNCW serves more than 2,200 military-affiliated students (those who have served, are currently serving, and their spouses and children are all considered military-affiliated). 


  • When the new Veterans Hall building is completed (coming online in fall 2020), the Office of Military Affairs will be moving and expanding our services into a space that will offer a larger lounge and reception area, a full kitchen, a quiet study room, and a training classroom, as well as office space for our staff. 



  • Many of our military-affiliated students use VA benefits to attend UNCW; some use Tuition Assistance or military college programs; and others use financial aid, scholarships, or a combination of the above. 


  • The Veteran's Choice Act is legislation that allows certain military-affiliated students to be awarded in-state tuition rates when they are not considered North Carolina residents. You must apply for the Veteran's Choice Act; it is not awarded automatically. 



The Post-9/11 GI Bill and Other VA Benefits

If you are planning to use VA educational benefits to pay your tuition and fees, you are responsible for initiating that process with the VA. Here are the basic steps to the process:

  1. Apply for VA educational benefits online at eBenefits (either for the first time OR to transfer from another school where you previously used VA benefits)  
  2. Receive a Certificate of Eligibility letter from the VA (may take 4-6 weeks to arrive in the mail)
  3. Turn the Certificate of Eligibility letter in to the VA Certifying Officials at UNCW (scan and email to

We recommend that this process is started before you attend orientation (the above steps constitute a one-time process).

Whether you are transferring VA benefits from another school or you are using your benefits for the first time at any school, the housing payment and book stipend (if applicable) will not be paid to your bank account for about the first 6-8 weeks of the semester during your first semester. The first payment you receive will include backdated payments. 

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will cover the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory fees; costs that are not covered by the GI Bill at UNCW are the application fee (waived for active duty service members), the enrollment fee, the orientation fee, the student ID/OneCard fee, parking permits, and meal plans. Additionally, the student health insurance fee will be covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill; you may elect to have more than one kind of insurance, including the university health insurance. 

UNCW students have the opportunity to apply their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to study abroad with more than 1,000 programs through the Office of International Programs. 

North Carolina Residency and the Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you are planning to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at UNCW, it is very important that you recognize that the Post-9/11 GI Bill will only cover tuition at the in-state rate. Residency in the state of North Carolina goes through the Residency Determination Service (RDS); the RDS process is not managed by UNCW. You may check the requirements to be considered a North Carolina resident. If you do not meet the requirements, you may review the eligibility criteria for the Veteran's Choice Act. If your application for the Veteran's Choice Act is accepted, a waiver for the amount of the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition will be applied to your student account.

Sometimes, the RDS process does not produce the correct determination (i.e., you are eligible for in-state tuition, but for whatever reason, the system designated your status as out-of-state). If this happens, you may appeal the determination by calling RDS at 1-844-319-3640. You will then work with RDS to verify your residency status.  

Vocational Rehabilitation

We have many students who are using their Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) benefits to attend UNCW. Once you have applied for Voc Rehab via the eBenefits portal, you will work with a Voc Rehab counselor; if accepted to the program, your counselor will manage the submission of the necessary eligibility and enrollment paperwork to UNCW.  

Which VA benefit is right for me? 

That is a great question! You may browse the VA website for information about all the educational and vocational programs available, or try the VA Welcome Toolkit. You may call the VA (1-844-698-2311) to speak with a counselor about which program would be right for you. You may work with the education office or transition coordinators at your command. Even if you have already separated from the military, you may be able to reach out to the transition program instructors where you were last stationed via phone or email to ask for help with understanding which benefits might work best for you. Please note that the Office of Military Affairs does not represent the VA

I'm not using VA benefits, but I am using military education benefits.

If you are using Tuition Assistance (TA), you will need to work with your unit's education coordinator to pay your tuition. You are eligible to apply for financial aid and scholarships. If you have questions about billing and which costs are covered by TA, please contact Sissy Hendricks in Student Accounts at (910) 962-3147 or 

If you are applying to attend UNCW as part of a military college or commissioning program, please contact Nile McKibben in the Office of Admissions (; 910-962-3726) for help with procuring the necessary admissions paperwork according to the deadlines for your program. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid at UNCW

All students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and financial aid at UNCW. The general scholarship application is open from Dec. 1-Mar. 1 for the following year; some scholarships are specifically designated for military-affiliated students, while others are designated for non-traditional students, a category that includes veterans, those currently serving, and their spouses. Students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for fall/spring and an additional FAFSA for the summer term, if taking classes during the summer. Scholarships are also available for study abroad programs. 

Many scholarships for military service members, veterans, and their family members are available through a variety of organizations. UNCW is a member of the Southeastern Council on Military Education (SECOME), which means that our students are eligible to apply for the SECOME scholarship. We are also members of the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), and out students may apply for the CCME scholarship as well. 

UNCW offers a military-affiliated student payment plan, which may be set up through the student's eBill. This payment plan allows the bill to be divided into 3 payments. 

Housing at UNCW

Housing is available at UNCW for both first-year students and transfer students. Off-campus housing is also available. For those who choose to live off-campus close to the university, UNCW offers a free shuttle service

Parking at UNCW

All faculty, staff, and students pay for parking permits to park on campus at UNCW. Students who are veterans or who are currently serving are eligible for a $20 discount on parking permits, and they are eligible for Zone 1 parking when space is available. Students may register for a parking permit after they have registered for classes. Visitors may park for free in visitor's parking (see map below). 

How to Apply to UNCW 

Military students and veterans apply to UNCW as transfer students. UNCW waives the application fee for active duty service members; when completing the payment portion of the application please select "pay by check" and select "submit". Follow up with an e-mail to: with your name, date of birth and request for the active duty fee waiver. 

If you've taken college classes before, you may use the transfer equivalency tool to evaluate how many of your credits will transfer over.

As part of the application process, you'll need to request transcripts from any other schools you've attended. Usually, they have an online option where you can have the transcript emailed to You can also have transcripts mailed to the following address:

University of North Carolina Wilmington
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
601 S College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403 – 5904

You’ll also need to request your military transcript through Joint Services Transcripts (JST); sometimes training that you’ve taken in the military counts toward college credit. When you are in the Joint Services Transcript portal, be sure to search for "University of North Carolina Wilmington" (instead of "UNCW") and select the undergraduate Office of Admissions. 

If you have additional questions about transfer credits, please contact the Office of Admissions and ask for a transfer admissions coordinator at 910-962-3243.

Military spouses and dependents may apply as first-year or transfer students depending on their circumstances. 

Testing Services

UNCW offers testing services at the Camp Lejeune Base Education Center; tests include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Defense Activity for Non-traditional Educational Support (DANTES) Standardized Subject Tests (DSSTs), which can replace college credit for certain courses with a single test. Testing is free for active duty and reserve service members, and testing services are also available for veterans and civilians. 

In other words, you could take a test in a standard college subject for free and have it count toward general education college credits, saving you time and allowing you to get to the required coursework for your major earlier in your college career. Learn more about CLEP and DANTES testing at Camp Lejeune, including how to register for tests. 

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Office of Military Affairs often receives questions about the Yellow Ribbon Program. UNCW is not part of the Yellow Ribbon Program because the Post-9/11 GI Bill already covers all in-state tuition and fees here. In other words, UNCW is ineligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program because we are so affordable! Our tuition is well under the maximum amount that can be covered in full by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program or read our post about how to evaluate higher education programs on the Military Seahawk Blog. 

I have more questions...

The staff of the Office of Military Affairs is here to answer your questions. You may email the Melanie Nelson, the Military Students Services Specialist, at  

If you are a current military member who is preparing to transition out of the military, you may contact Melanie Nelson as the academic counselor for your transition capstone program. 

Please continue exploring the Military Affairs website, as well as the rest of the website

Additionally, you may find some of the free resources available through PsychHub to be helpful to you as you undergo the transition from the military. PsychHub's The Transition School is comprised of 13 courses covering topics such as telling your own story, navigating medical benefits and pursuing employment. The courses, which can be taken in any order you wish, are designed to support separating and retiring military members, their family members, future employers and even Veterans who are going through new transitions.  

Thank you for considering UNCW, and we look forward to hearing from you and to helping you begin your academic journey here!


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