An important part of creating a sustainable community is ensuring that opportunities are available to everyone regardless of economic, social, or physical limitations. Carolina has a number of programs that work to promote social equity both on campus and in the community.


In January 2015, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked Carolina as the top value among public universities for the fourteenth consecutive year.

In-state undergraduate students pay approximately $8,560 in tuition and fees, and $20,910  including room, board, and books. About 47 percent of Carolina students receive some form of financial aid, which is generated by federal and state student aid programs, revenues from tuition increases, trademark and licensing royalties, sales at Student Stores, and private scholarship sources. Ninety six percent of all undergraduates who receive need-based financial aid also receive scholarship and/or grant aid.

The path-breaking Carolina Covenant program enables academically qualified students from families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level to graduate debt free.  More than half of these scholars are the first in their families to attend college. In addition to receiving grants, students work 10 to 12 hours per week in a federal work-study job. A mentoring program eases the transition to college for both the students and their families. More than 1,800 students have benefited from the program, and the 600 members of the first two graduating classes performed better and were more likely to graduate than members of control group peers. When announced in 2003, the Carolina Covenant was the first such program at a major U.S. public university. Similar initiatives have since been implemented by many universities across the country.

The minimum wage for university workers was raised to $25,000 plus benefits in FY 2009.


Carolina Covenant


Students walk through Polk Place on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Diversity is defined broadly at UNC to include experiences and perspectives of students, staff, and faculty as they relate to race, gender, age, class, sexual orientation, culture, nationality, disability, religion, and region.

Diversity and Multicultural Affairs’ (DMA) has had success in recruiting and retaining a diverse student body.  UNC’s student body is considerably more diverse than it was fifteen years ago. Asian-American and Hispanic-American populations on campus have doubled and now represent 14 percent of all students.

The Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) identifies talented low- to moderate-income students while they are still in high school or early in their community college careers.  C-STEP guarantees admission to Carolina if students earn an appropriate associate degree and successfully complete the C-STEP program. UNC is partnered with nine community colleges across the state. C-STEP serves or has served 450 students. 280 of those students have already enrolled at Carolina through the C-STEP program since its launch in 2006, and about 135 of those students have graduated from Carolina.

DMA has addressed issues of accessibility and affordability for students from under-represented and rural populations through programs such as Tar Heel Target, Project Uplift, Upward Bound, Native American Visitation, and Hispanic Student Visitation. These programs reach thousands of North Carolina students each year and encourage the best and brightest to apply to UNC, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Programs like Pre-orientation, Leadership Advantage, and the Legal Education Advancement Program encourage underrepresented and non-traditional students to lead and achieve at UNC.

Program Support
Project Uplift Organizes a college life experience for rising seniors from under-served communities or disadvantaged backgrounds. Enables students to visit classes, meet with faculty and staff, interact with students, and participate in cultural and social activities.
Upward Bound Provides academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages. Upward Bound parents are organized into associations that provide assistance to program participants, serve as a support group, and recruit students.
Carolina Advising Corps During the last academic year, advisors conducted one-on-one meetings with 9,200 students, held more than 2,000 group meetings, and made classroom presentations in 57 low-income high schools across the state.
Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Academia (IDEA) Provides paid geoscience research opportunities and graduate school preparation. Geoscientists study water quality and availability, climate change and natural hazards, and oil and gas exploration.
Carolina Millenial Scholars Program Provides faculty and staff mentors according to academic major or interest to promote academic and professional success among enrolled minority male students.
Cultural Competence Leadership Institute Helps academically successful sophomores and juniors at UNC to develop leadership skills and professional competencies needed in graduate school and the global workforce.
Carolina Latina/o Collaborative Offers student and professional mentoring programs. Organizes Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latina/o Alumni Reunion.

UNITAS, a multicultural living and learning community, is dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding in students’ daily lives. Participants work to overcome prejudices based on differences in gender, race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. In addition to living together in the residence hall, these students take a year-long anthropology course together that explores issues of social and cultural diversity through experiential and service learning.



Historically Underutilized Businesses

Group in meetingThe UNC Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Resource Center ensures that historically underutilized businesses have opportunities to participate in construction at UNC and provides regular training and support. Formal plans, guidelines, and bid rules contribute to the program’s success.

Over the past four years, UNC has awarded 16% of its capital project work to HUB contractors. HUB participation in smaller projects, less than $500,000, averaged 10% for the four years through 2013. The University also encourages minority- and women-owned business to compete in the office products market. During 2012, 8% of purchases made through the electronic procurement system or via purchase orders were obtained from HUBs.


HUB Resource Center