May 19, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2021-2022 
Graduate Catalog | 2021-2022 Previous Edition

Funding a Graduate Education

Graduate School Funding

Financial support for UNC Charlotte graduate students is provided in the form of fellowships, tuition awards, and traineeships.  The majority of full-time enrolled Ph.D. students receive funding, and approximately 15% of master’s and certificate students receive some form of funding.  Domestic students may also receive some type of federal financial aid to support their studies while enrolled at least half-time (see Financial Aid Programs below).

Nominations for funding are made by the Graduate Program Director, so students should communicate with the Director about the availability of funding support.  While some programs provide all or the majority of their students with a graduate assistantship, others provide only limited support.

Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP)

The Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP) is a competitive multi-year support package used to attract and retain top quality doctoral students to UNC Charlotte.  Students enrolled in this plan are eligible to receive full payment of in-state tuition, non-resident tuition (if required), and money for the student health insurance plan.  To be eligible, a student must be a doctoral student who holds a graduate assistantship or appropriate fellowship meeting the minimum stipend and must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 credit hours) for the first eight terms of support.  In the final academic year of eligibility, GASP will pay for 3 credit hours of GRAD 9800 .  Students must be nominated by their Graduate Program Director and approved for the award by the Graduate School.

Master’s Merit Awards and Graduate School Grants

The Graduate School provides partial tuition support to students in master’s programs via the Master’s Merit Awards and Graduate School Grants.  Master’s Merit Awards are competitively awarded to students who hold an eligible graduate assistantship upon nomination by the Graduate Program Director, and with approval by the Graduate School. Master’s Merit Awards are $4,000/academic year for NC resident students, and $8,000/academic year for non-NC residents, auto-renewed for two years of support.  Graduate School Grants are $3,000/academic year and are awarded to master’s students on an annual basis and upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Director and approval of the Graduate School.

Grant Assistance (TAG)

The Tuition Assistance Grant is administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid and the Graduate School.  It provides up to $2,000 in grant assistance to students demonstrating financial need regardless of state residency.  Eligible students are awarded these grants until funds are exhausted.  Generally, these awards are made to eligible students upon nomination for funding for other Graduate School awards.

Assistantships and Employment

The majority of graduate assistantships at UNC Charlotte are awarded by academic departments.  Many graduate students seek teaching or research assistantships as a way of both gaining valuable experience and securing financial support.  Students may also choose from a variety of on- or off-campus employment opportunities in the Charlotte region, and are also frequently hired as student temporary employees for administrative work on campus.

Student temporary jobs are listed on Hire-A-Niner.

Graduate Assistantships

With graduate assistantships, students can gain valuable knowledge and experience related to their degree program by fulfilling teaching and research roles within the University.  Stipends, responsibilities, selection criteria, and application and notification procedures vary from department to department, so students should contact their Graduate Program Director for additional information on available assistantships.

Graduate Students may be assigned as Teaching Assistants (TAs), however, only graduate students with at least 18 credit hours in the discipline may serve as a primary instructor of record (IORs).

On-Campus Employment

The Office of Student Employment assists students in obtaining Federal Work Study and temporary student worker positions within the University.  Visit the Human Resources website at for more information.

Off-Campus Employment

The University Career Center (UCC) operates a database called Hire-A-Niner, which offers part-time and full-time employment opportunities.  Detailed information about the services offered within the UCC can be found on their website at

Financial Aid Programs

The Office of Student Financial Aid administers several federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs available to graduate students at UNC Charlotte who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The FAFSA helps U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens gain access to gift aid (repayment not required) such as grants or self-help aid (direct repayment or service required), like loans and Federal Work Study awards.

Applying for Federal and State Aid

The FAFSA can be completed from the Office of Student Financial Aid website, or directly at  The federal school code for UNC Charlotte is 002975.


The Office of Student Financial Aid must receive completed FAFSA forms by January 1 for grant assistance consideration for the following academic year.  For loan assistance, there is no deadline, provided that the FAFSA is received by the Financial Aid Office to allow sufficient processing time prior to the end of the academic year (usually three to four weeks).

Grant Assistance

The Tuition Assistance Grant administered by the Financial Aid Office is available to graduate students. It provides up to $3,000 in grant assistance to students demonstrating financial need regardless of state residency.  Eligible students are awarded these grants until funds are exhausted.  For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Forgivable Education Loans for Service (FELS)

The Forgivable Education Leans for Service Program was established by the North Carolina Assembly to provide assistance to qualified students who are committed to working in North Carolina in designated critical employment shortage professions.  For information on deadlines, eligibility, value, and application procedure, visit

Loan Assistance

Graduate students may borrow up to the maximum loan limit annually from the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program.  That amount is $30,500.  Unlike loans for undergraduate students, only Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to graduate students.  “Unsubsidized” means that interest will begin to accrue on the loan once it is disbursed to the student’s account. Students have the option of either paying the interest while enrolled in school at least half-time (5 credit hours for graduate students) or having the interest added to the loan principal.  For summer enrollment, three hours counts as half-time.  Loan repayment begins six months after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

In addition to Stafford Loans, graduate students may borrow funds through the federal Graduate PLUS loan program.  Each student’s maximum loan amount (combining all loan sources) is limited to the student’s total Cost of Attendance minus any other aid received.  More detailed information on the Cost of Attendance can be found on the Niner Central website.

Private Loans

Loans are also available for domestic and international students through private lenders.  Visit the Niner Central website to view view and compare a list of alternative loan lenders.

Donor-Funded Fellowships and Scholarships

UNC Charlotte provides graduate students the opportunity to apply for scholarships.  Scholarships can be merit-based or need-based, and may also focus on other criteria defined by the individual donor or donors who fund the award.  Scholarships can be used to offset tuition, room and board, books, or study abroad experiences, and do not have to be repaid.

NinerScholars Portal

The NinerScholars Portal serves as the common application system for all scholarships offered by a college, department, office, or program at UNC Charlotte.  NinerScholars uses the University’s student information system to build a scholarship profile specific to each student’s academic history and current status.  The Portal then compares a student’s profile to the criteria for each UNC Charlotte scholarship, matches them with those scholarships they are eligible for, and provides the student with the ability to apply for multiple opportunities with a student’s uploaded documents.

The NinerScholars Portal gives students direct access to apply to more than 1,000 scholarship opportunities with one application, through one online system.  To access the NinerScholars Portal, learn more about specific scholarship opportunities, or take advantage of additional scholarship resources, visit the University Scholarship Office website at

Graduate School Donor Fellowships and Scholarships

The Graduate School manages several annual fellowships awarded to new and continuing graduate students.  Most awards are made in late March.  These include:

  • Commander F.M. (Mike) Reynolds Veterans Scholarship
  • Dr. Craig R. Brown Graduate Fellowship (Master’s or Doctoral)
  • DRReaM Graduate Fellowship (Master’s or Doctoral)
  • Faye Jacques Memorial Graduate Fellowship (Master’s or Doctoral)
  • Herschel and Cornelia Everett First-Year Graduate Fellowship (Master’s and Doctoral)
  • Joanna R. Baker Memorial Graduate Fellowship (Master’s or Doctoral)
  • John Paul Lucas, Jr. Scholarship for Educational Leadership (Master’s)
  • Lucille and Edward C. Giles Dissertation-Year Graduate Fellowship (Doctoral)
  • Thomas L. Reynolds Graduate Student Research Award (Master’s or Doctoral)
  • Wayland H. Cato Jr. First-Year Doctoral Fellowship (Doctoral)
  • William F. Kennedy Scholarship (Doctoral)
  • Zonta Club Scholarship (Master’s or Doctoral)

Most of these awards are offered through the University Scholarship Office Awards portal.  Details such as criteria and award amount are available in the portal.  Visit for details.

External Funding

Many organizations outside of the Graduate School and the University offer fellowship and other funding opportunities to students at all levels of graduate education as part of local, national, and international competitions.  UNC Charlotte provides students with access to PIVOT, a comprehensive database of funding opportunities. For more information, visit