Student Accounts & Cashier's Office

Student Accounts News

"Per Credit Hour" is Replacing the "Stair Step" Model

May, 2021

Beginning Fall 2021 the UNC System will eliminate the “stair-step” model (see below) that has been used to bill main campus programs/courses for a number of years. It will be replaced with an equal tuition rate for main campus & distance education programs/courses. Tuition (including differential tuition) will be charged one rate per each credit hour up to the full-time enrollment levels. The per credit hour rates will be equal across all methods of instruction.

This means that all enrollment, beginning Fall 2021, will be billed at a per credit hour rate:

  • Tuition will be charged up to 12-credit hours of enrollment for undergraduate students.
  • Tuition will be charged up to 9-credit hours of enrollment for graduate students.

Any semester enrollment beyond these caps will not be billed additional tuition. 

*Please note: Full-time enrollment status may be determined differently for purposes other than tuition billing; i.e. financial aid.

The Previously Used "Stair Step" Tuition Rate 

Previously, tuition (excluding Distance Education) was assessed using the “stair-step” approach. Meaning, tuition was charged flat rates for certain ranges of credit hours up to the full-time enrollment level; 12-credit hours for undergraduates & 9-credit hours for graduates. The "stair step" tuition rates were applied through Spring 2021.

Below is an example of how tuition was charged under the “stair-step” method.

Credit Hour NC Resident Non-NC Resident Credit Hour NC Resident Non-NC Resident

0 - 5



0 - 2



6 -8



3 - 5 



9 - 11



6 - 8



12 or more



9 or more