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Tuition rates are set by the North Carolina Legislature and undergraduate and graduate tuition rates are approved each year as part of the state budget process. Tuition rates do not become official until the annual budget is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

Tuition and fees are reviewed through an on-campus process, approved by the Board of Trustees and authorized by the Board of Governors. Tuition and fees are assessed based on the student’s classification, which is determined by the academic program in which they are enrolled.

Charges for Attendance (Tuition and Fee Rates)

Beginning Fall 2021, the University of North Carolina System, including UNC-Chapel Hill, will prorate tuition on a per-credit-hour basis for less than full-time students. Previously, tuition for on campus programs has been prorated for less than full-time students using the “stair-step” approach. This means that each semester, tuition was charged flat rates for ranges of credit hours up to the full-time enrollment levels of 12 credit hours for undergraduates and 9 credit hours for graduates. Students enrolled in Distance Education programs were previously billed using a per credit hour rate that was derived from the approved full-time rate.

Now, effective Fall 2021, tuition will be charged per credit hour up to the full-time enrollment. The per credit hour tuition rate will be the same for both on campus and Distance Education programs, depending on a student’s classification.

  • The following undergraduate and graduate students will be assessed a per credit hour tuition rate if enrolled in less than a full course load:
    • New, incoming students, including transfer students, entering the university in Fall 2021, and
    • Continuing students who are not currently in the NC Fixed Tuition program.
  • Graduate students, particularly those in Distance Education programs, will most likely see a higher increase in tuition than most students as their per credit hour rate will be higher than before.
  • Tuition will be capped at the per semester, full-time enrollment levels of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students.
  • Tuition for less than full-time students will be prorated on a per credit hour basis beginning Fall 2021, rather than based on ranges of enrolled hours. The per credit hour tuition rate only includes tuition and does not include fees.
  • Tuition will be capped at the per semester, full-time enrollment levels of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students, except for students in executive degree programs.
  • Part-time students may experience increases based on the number of credit hours enrolled.
  • Distance Education (DE) Program tuition will be assessed at the same per credit hour tuition rate as on-campus tuition depending on student classification and academic program. This will result in an increased per credit hour rate for returning DE students as rates become standardized with on-campus programs.
  • The full-time, on-campus, tuition billing model is not changing.
  • Tuition will be charged up to 12 credit hours of enrollment for undergraduate students and up to 9 credit hours of enrollment for graduate students.
  • The fee billing model is not changing.
  • Undergraduate students continuously enrolled in fixed tuition guarantee cohorts (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) will not experience a change to the per credit hour rate.
Why is this change being made?
The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors recommended changes to simplify the tuition and billing structure and address tuition differences for on-campus and distance education students; the intent is to make it easier in future for students to be able to calculate their semester costs. The per credit rate provides an equitable model. Students will be charged for the exact credit hours they are enrolled rather than a range of enrolled hours.
How were the per credit hour tuition rates calculated?
N.C.G.S. 116-143 requires the Board of Governors to set the tuition and fee rates at the constituent institutions of the UNC System, consistent with the actions of the General Assembly. The new, BOG approved, per credit hour rates reflect the prorated tuition based on enrollment in a full load of classes (12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates and 9 credit hours per semester for graduate students). For Distance Education students, the per credit hour rate calculation will change as the rates become standardized with on-campus programs. This results in an increase to per credit hour charges for all distance education students.
I am a new undergraduate in Fall 2021. How will I be charged tuition?
If you are an incoming first year student or incoming transfer student entering UNC-Chapel Hill in Fall 2021 or after, your tuition will be assessed on a per credit hour basis. If you are enrolled in 12 credit hours or more in a semester, as a new undergraduate student, you will be assessed the semester rate.
I am a continuing student. How will I be charged tuition?
If you are a continuing student in the NC Fixed Tuition program, your tuition will continue to be assessed the same as before (on a stair-step method) during your eight consecutive semesters of enrollment. If you are a continuing student and not part of the NC Fixed Tuition program, your tuition will be assessed on a per credit hour basis.
I am a graduate student. How will I be charged tuition?
If you are a graduate student enrolled in 9 credits or more per semester, then you will be assessed the semester rate for your academic program. If you are enrolled in fewer than 9 credits, then your tuition will be assessed on a per credit hour basis.
How are Distance Education students impacted?
Distance Education tuition will continue to be charged on a per credit hour rate, however the per credit hour rates will increase slightly in Fall 2021 as they become standardized with on-campus programs. The per credit hour tuition calculation will be the same for students enrolled in Distance Education programs and for students enrolled in on-campus programs, depending on student classification (graduate program/undergraduate; resident/non-resident).

Beginning Fall 2021, semester charges for Distance Education will be capped at full-time enrollment levels of 12 credit hours for undergraduates and 9 credit hours for graduate students. Previously, Distance Education tuition was not capped. For example, in Fall 2021, a graduate Distance Education student enrolled in 10 credit hours will only be charged for 9 credit hours, due to the cap.

I am in the MPH@UNC program. Last semester my tuition was $1,735.00 per credit but now it is $1,997.40 per credit. Why has it increased?
The MPH@UNC program tuition is linked to the per credit hour rate for out-of-state residential MPH students. Both the structure of the residential tuition as well as the per credit rate for out-of-state residential MPH students has changed, which is the basis for the MPH@UNC tuition rate increase. The tuition rate is set at the UNC System level. The last tuition increase was in August 2019. If you have further questions, please contact Catherine Gihlstorf, Associate Director for MPH@UNC at MPHatUNC@unc.edu.
The billing schedule is based on the University Registrar’s Calendar. The rates provided below are examples only.

Estimated Semester Tuition Rates 2021-2022
Incoming Students Per Credit Hour Tuition Max Rate* Student Fees**
Undergraduate Resident (In-State) $292.46 $3,509.50 $1,008.56
Undergraduate Non-Resident (Out-of-State) $1,453.42 $17,441.00 $1,008.56
Graduate program rates vary depending on academic program – refer to your bill for your rate for your program
Graduate Resident (In-State) $586.23 $5,276.00 $1,010.82
Graduate Non-Resident (Out-of-State) $1,602.45 $14,422.00 $1,010.82
*Undergraduate tuition is capped at 12 credit hours per semester. Graduate tuition is capped at 9 credit hours per semester.

**All students are subject to mandatory student fees. Additional fees are assessed depending on your academic program and course registration.