How Much is the UNC Chapel Hill Out of State Tuition?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

aerial view of UNC Chapel Hill

How Much is the UNC Chapel Hill Out of State Tuition?

The UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition, although higher than in state tuition, is still considered a worthwhile investment given the university’s high academic ranking, vast array of resources, and extensive financial aid opportunities.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also known as UNC Chapel Hill, is one of the most highly esteemed public universities in the United States. It provides a range of programs in diverse areas of study, with its medical, law, business, and journalism programs being especially renowned.

However, as with any university, the cost of attending UNC Chapel Hill can vary significantly depending on your residency status. For students not hailing from North Carolina, understanding the out of state tuition is crucial in planning for your higher education.

Understanding the Tuition Structure

UNC Chapel Hill, like most public universities, has a dual tuition system, one rate for in state residents and another for out of state residents. This difference can be quite significant, reflecting the state’s dedication to making education more accessible for its residents.

The base tuition for in state undergraduates at UNC Chapel Hill was approximately $9,000 per academic year. This amount is considerably lower compared to the base tuition for out of state students, which was about $36,000 per academic year. It’s essential to remember that these rates do not include other costs such as housing, meals, books, fees, and personal expenses, which can bring the total cost of attendance to over $50,000 per year for out of state students. These figures are subject to change due to inflation and policy amendments; thus, students should check the most recent figures on the UNC Chapel Hill official website.

The Rationale Behind the Tuition Disparity

The substantial difference in UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition and in state tuition stems from the funding structure of public universities. These institutions, UNC Chapel Hill included, are partially funded by state tax revenues. North Carolina residents, through their tax contributions, directly support the university’s funding. Hence, in state students are offered a lower tuition rate, while out of state students, who have not contributed to the university via state taxes, are charged a higher rate.

In-State vs. Out of State Tuition

At UNC Chapel Hill, as with many public institutions, there is a considerable difference in tuition costs for in state and out of state students. This is due to the fact that public universities receive substantial funding from state taxes. Consequently, students who are residents of North Carolina are eligible for a lower tuition rate, as it’s presumed their families have contributed to the university’s funding through tax payments.

The bell tower at University of North Carolina, Chapel hill, NC

The in state tuition for UNC Chapel Hill was around $9,000 per academic year, while the out of state tuition was approximately $36,000. It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change due to inflation and policy adjustments.

Understanding the Additional Costs for Out of State Students at UNC Chapel Hill

Like many universities, the cost of attending UNC Chapel Hill can be quite different depending on a student’s residency status. For out of state students, tuition is just one part of the equation. Let’s explore the additional costs that out of state students can expect when planning to study at UNC Chapel Hill.

Tuition: The Baseline Cost

To begin with, the most substantial cost out of state students will face is tuition. The base UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition for undergraduates at UNC Chapel Hill is approximately $36,000 per academic year, a figure significantly higher than the roughly $9,000 that in state students pay. These numbers are not static, however, and can change year over year due to inflation and policy adjustments.

Mandatory Fees

In addition to tuition, there are mandatory fees that all students must pay. These fees support various services and facilities such as health services, student activities, athletics, technology, and transportation. These fees can add up to a few thousand dollars per year.

Housing and Meal Plans

Living expenses are another substantial cost for out of state students, especially those who opt to live on campus. On-campus housing at UNC Chapel Hill varies in price depending on the specific residence hall and room type chosen. Similarly, the university offers several meal plan options with different costs. Combined, these expenses can add several thousand dollars to the yearly cost of attendance.

Books and Supplies

Educational materials are another cost to consider. The cost of books and supplies can vary greatly depending on a student’s specific course load and the requirements of their chosen major. However, students can expect to budget several hundred dollars per semester for these items.

Personal and Miscellaneous Expenses

Personal expenses, which can include everything from laundry to entertainment, are another factor that out of state students should consider when budgeting for their time at UNC Chapel Hill. The university provides estimated costs for these items, but actual expenses can vary depending on personal habits and lifestyle.

Travel Costs

Finally, for out of state students, travel costs can add a significant amount to the total cost of attendance. Students who live far from North Carolina may need to budget for flights home during holidays and breaks, as well as potential additional costs for shipping belongings or storing them locally during the summer.

Financial Aid for Out of State Students at UNC Chapel Hill

Before delving into the specifics of financial aid, it’s important to understand the financial commitment out of state students face when attending UNC Chapel Hill. The UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition is notably higher than that for in state students. This difference is largely due to the state-funded nature of public universities, which receive a significant portion of their funding from state taxes.

Besides tuition, other costs such as mandatory fees, housing, meal plans, books and supplies, personal expenses, and travel costs can add up, potentially bringing the total cost of attendance to over $50,000 per year for out of state students. However, financial aid can significantly alleviate these costs.

a female student sitting and appears to be thinking

Carolina Covenant Program

UNC Chapel Hill is committed to making higher education accessible to all students, irrespective of their financial circumstances. The Carolina Covenant program is a testament to this commitment. This program promises that eligible low-income students can graduate debt-free. The program is open to both in state and out of state students, providing them with a financial aid package that includes grants, scholarships, and a work-study program, but no loans.


UNC Chapel Hill offers a multitude of scholarships, many of which are open to out of state students. These scholarships can be based on academic merit, specific talents, leadership qualities, community service, or financial need. Some prestigious scholarships like the Morehead-Cain Scholarship cover full tuition, student fees, housing, meals, books, a laptop, and even provide funding for summer enrichment programs.

Out-of-state students are also encouraged to seek external scholarships. Numerous private organizations, businesses, and nonprofit groups offer scholarships to help students finance their education. These can often be found through scholarship search tools or by consulting with a high school guidance counselor or the university’s financial aid office.

Grants and Work-Study Opportunities

In addition to scholarships, UNC Chapel Hill offers several grants, which, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid. Federal grants such as the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) are available to mitigate the UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition based on the student’s financial need. The university also participates in the Federal Work-Study program, which provides part-time jobs for students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their education.


While UNC Chapel Hill strives to limit student debt, federal student loans can still be a part of the financial aid package for out of state students. These loans have relatively low interest rates and offer flexible repayment options, making them a viable option if other forms of aid are not sufficient to cover all costs.

Navigating the Financial Aid Process

To be considered for financial aid, out of state students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine eligibility for federal aid, as well as many forms of state and institutional aid. The university’s financial aid office can provide assistance with completing the FAFSA and navigating the financial aid process.

To sum it up, while the cost of attending UNC Chapel Hill as an out of state student can be substantial, the university offers a wide array of financial aid opportunities to help students manage these costs. From the Carolina Covenant program to a multitude of scholarships, grants, work-study opportunities, and loans, out of state students have numerous resources to make their dream of attending UNC Chapel Hill a reality.

Reasons to Study at UNC Chapel Hill

Now with the UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition in mind, let’s delve into the key reasons to pursue higher education at this esteemed institution, including its exceptional academic programs, commitment to research, vibrant campus life, and focus on community service.

Renowned Academic Programs

UNC Chapel Hill is consistently ranked among the top public universities in the United States, known for its rigorous academic programs and esteemed faculty. It offers a broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate programs spanning diverse fields, from liberal arts to the sciences, business, and health-related disciplines. The university’s focus on interdisciplinary learning provides students with a well-rounded education that equips them with the skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen careers.

Commitment to Research

UNC Chapel Hill is a leading research institution with a strong commitment to creating and disseminating knowledge. The university receives significant research funding each year, providing students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research across various disciplines. Whether it’s medical breakthroughs, advancements in technology, or innovative social policy development, students can participate in meaningful research that contributes to societal progress.

Vibrant Campus Life

The university offers a vibrant and inclusive campus life that caters to a diverse range of interests and passions. There are over 800 student organizations, from cultural and academic clubs to sports teams and volunteer groups. The Carolina Union, the hub of student activities, is constantly buzzing with events, workshops, and social gatherings. The campus is also located in the vibrant town of Chapel Hill, known for its lively arts scene, diverse culinary offerings, and numerous recreational activities.

Focus on Public Service

UNC Chapel Hill fosters a culture of public service, reflecting the university’s commitment to giving back to the community. Through the Carolina Center for Public Service, students can engage in various service-learning courses, community-based research, and volunteer activities. This focus on public service enables students to make a positive impact while gaining practical experience and developing important life skills.

World-Class Athletics

UNC Chapel Hill is home to the Tar Heels, a renowned athletics program with a storied history of success, particularly in basketball and soccer. The athletic events, infused with spirit and tradition, foster a sense of community and school pride. Even for those not participating in sports, being a part of the Tar Heel fan base can be a thrilling aspect of the UNC Chapel Hill experience.

Residency Reclassification

In some cases, residency reclassification significantly cuts the costs of the UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition. It may be possible for an out of state student to reclassify as an in state student, thus qualifying for the lower tuition rate. However, this process is typically quite stringent. It generally requires the student to demonstrate that they have established a “domicile” or permanent home in North Carolina and are not merely residing in the state for educational purposes. This might involve showing proof of a local address, North Carolina driver’s license, local employment, and more.

a group of college students walking side by side in a hall way

While the UNC Chapel Hill out of state tuition is significantly higher than in state tuition, the university’s commitment to meeting students’ demonstrated financial needs and the availability of various scholarships can help make this prestigious institution accessible to students from across the country and around the globe. It’s always essential to research thoroughly, understand all costs involved, and explore all avenues of financial aid when planning for your higher education journey.

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