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Another UNC System school announces free tuition program for students

A drone shot of the UNC Asheville campus
Courtesy of UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville will cover tuition and fees for in-state students with family income of $80,000 or less.

UNC Asheville has announced that it is providing free tuition for some incoming North Carolina students.

Under its Access Asheville program, the school will cover tuition and fees for in-state students whose family income is $80,000 or less.

The university said that's well above the median household income and has the potential to impact more than half of North Carolina families. According to census data, the median household income in North Carolina is $60,516.

“This will provide an affordable path to pursue an undergraduate college degree for those who may have previously thought it would be out of reach financially,” said interim Chancellor Kimberly van Noort in a press release.

The school says the financial aid program will save students $7,461 per year. The school’s total cost of attendance for in-state students is about $24,856.

Access Asheville will be open to incoming first-year and transfer students in fall 2024. It is the second school in the UNC System to launch a program like this.

The first was UNC-Chapel Hill, which made the announcement in July shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned affirmative action. The university is also covering tuition and fees for incoming in-state students whose families make $80,000 or less.

To qualify for Access Asheville, students have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enroll in at least 15 credit hours per semester. The financial aid will last up to four years, starting when they enter.

“We are excited about the opportunity Access Asheville will create for more students who are ready to engage with the increasingly complex needs of our region, state and nation,” van Noort said.

Brianna Atkinson is WUNC’s 2024 Fletcher Fellow and covers higher education in partnership with Open Campus.