Are colleges free in North Carolina?

Are colleges free in North Carolina?

Free education is an agenda that the United States government endorses, as education is power. But, even with the National endorsement, there are still state rules that apply to schools in different locations. These rules are coined by the state government and they control free education and its conditions. There are many public schools in the United States where students can study to obtain their high school diplomas. These schools collect little to no tuition fees from the students, so learners who are not financially capable can get a basic education.

Are colleges free in North Carolina?

Yes, many community colleges in North Carolina are currently offering free tuition to get students to go back to school. This free tuition aid across NC community colleges is for students, no matter their financial background, which means that the schools do not care if you can afford your fees or not. Students get college grants from $700 – $2800 for the two years they would be studying in college. Some of these colleges offer free tuition to only North Carolina residents, depending on the conditions. 

Do these colleges only offer grants and free tuition to new students?

No, some colleges in North Carolina offer grants to returning students who have completed their studies some years back but did not do very well. Since advanced studies help you do better in your field, these community colleges grant free tuition to alumni willing to get better ratings. But, most of the higher institutions in North Carolina offer financial aid and free tuition to new high school graduates who are applying for a two-year program. 

Forsyth Tech, Beaufort County Community College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Haywood Community College, Martin Community College, and a host of other colleges offer free tuition for both new and returning students.

College grants and their eligibility

There are several college grants and financial aids across the United States and North Carolina State government is pulling every resource and financial assistance to make sure that their students stay in school. These grants can be degree-based, special students, or subject-based.  

North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant

The North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant is for high school graduates who have not had any advanced studies in a higher institution. To be eligible for the grant, the student must:

  • Be a North Carolina resident.
  • Be studying in a higher institution for the first time since graduating from high school (CCP and Early college included).
  • Be enrolled for at least, a two-year in a community college, Although some financial aid can extend to the four-year courses.
  • Have obtained the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Be a graduate from a high school in North Carolina in the past two years or year 2022 academic year. Other High School Diploma Equivalency students such as GED, HiSET, and Adult High School are also eligible.
  • Depending on the student’s FAFSA application and financial background, the family has a contribution to make every session from $0 – $15,000.

To keep the North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant, students need to renew their application every year and keep a high academic rating.

North Carolina Student Incentive Grant (NCSIG)

The North Carolina Student Incentive Grant is financial aid from the State Government Educational Assistance Authority. To be authorized for the grant, students must:

  • Be listed in any of the legitimate Universities, colleges, or any other higher educational institution in North Carolina.
  • Be a US citizen and a legal resident in North Carolina.
  • Be a high school graduate with a good academic grade and proof of financial difficulty. The financial aid may only cover your tuition, your family may cover other fees. 

The North Carolina Student Incentive Grant is free and it aims at helping students who are doing well academically, but have not gotten a scholarship and lack the financial capability to further their studies.

Golden Leaf Scholars Program

The Golden Leaf Scholars Program is for students from different provinces who have applied for two years and four years courses in a college or a university. Only high school seniors who are about to start their higher education and transfer students from community colleges are eligible for the grant. For a four-year course in the University, students who qualify get up to $12,000 worth of financial aid which the authorities split $3000 across the years of study. 

For an Associate Degree program in any college in North Carolina, the authorities grant students financial aid up to $750. Direct transfer students looking to complete their higher education studies from their community colleges to the Universities get financial aid up to $3000 spread across three years. To qualify for the Golden Leaf Scholars Grant, students must:

  • Have a good GPA from their high schools and maintain a good academic rating while in their respective higher institutions.
  • Be enrolled in a University or a community college for a four-year or a two-year course. 
  • Be a legal resident of North Carolina and a lawful citizen of the United States.

Note: Transfer students must maintain a high GPA to continue receiving financial aid after their transfer to a University or another higher institution.

Are there other college grants for North Carolina students?

Yes, there are other college grants for North Carolina students like the University of North Carolina Needs-Based Grants for students who are finding it hard to cover the course of study, even if they are recipients of other grants. There are also federal grants like the Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for students who do not have a family to make contributions.

Since women and minority groups in the United States mostly benefit from federal and state grants, students can understand and calculate their odds of getting grants for college.


The United States is a nation of diverse representation, as the government believes that everyone has a voice. To facilitate that, there are federal, state, and private institutional grants for underrepresented students and those who are going through financial difficulty. 

The North Carolina State Government has maintained solid progress with financial did for students to ensure they complete their programs.