Take a look at some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

What is NC Reach?

What is the NC Reach Program?

NC Reach is a state-funded scholarship offered to qualified applicants for up to 4 years of undergraduate study at NC public universities and community colleges. Available funding is awarded to students, after all other financial aid, public funds and scholarships have been processed and applied to their account. NC Reach provides comprehensive student support to help all students be able to navigate their post-secondary education.

Which schools can students attend to receive NC Reach?

Students attending any of the 74 NC public community colleges or 16 NC public universities are eligible to apply for NC Reach.

Private colleges and universities, as well as all out of state colleges and universities, are NOT eligible to receive NC Reach funds.

For a complete guide to NC state colleges and universities, click HERE.

What other benefits do NC Reach students receive?

NC Reach students receive the following benefits:

  • Lack of debt! Funding covers the tuition and fees at their school so there is no need for any student loans.
  • Students are matched with an NC Reach coordinator who helps them navigate the college/university education system, as well as mentors and counsels them academically, personally and professionally.
  • Many students also receive a financial refund, which may be used for school-related living and transportation expenses.
  • Money management and financial literacy skills.
  • Time Management and study skills.
  • Students receive care packages from NC Reach during each school year.

What are the student’s responsibilities as a part of NC Reach?

The NC Reach Student Participation Agreement lists the student’s responsibilities as a recipient of the scholarship. Students should keep a copy of the agreement after they submit their signed copy to NC Reach.

Students must:

  • Complete the enrollment and financial aid steps at their respective school.
  • Demonstrate that they are making satisfactory progress toward their academic goal.
  • Students must be eligible to receive the pell grant at their school.
  • Students must pass at least 67% of their registered semester credits.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  • Stay in regular touch with NC Reach by telephone or email and respond to any NC Reach messages in a timely manner.
  • Meet with their Coordinator in person each semester during their scheduled campus visit.
  • Check and read their email at least once a week for any important messages.
  • Submit new NC Reach forms each term (semester) in order to receive funding the following term.
  • Ask their school to submit their official transcript to NC Reach at the end of each term they are funded by NC Reach.
  • Update their application ANYTIME their personal information changes (phone number, email, address etc.)
  • Contact their Coordinator immediately if there are ANY changes (withdrawals) to their enrollment after they have received NC Reach funding for the semester.


Who is eligible for NC Reach?

Students are eligible for NC Reach if they are:

  • Legal residents of North Carolina, eligible for in-state tuition rates
  • Adopted from NC Division of Social Services (DSS) foster care after the age of 12, OR, aged out of NC DSS foster care at age 18 (they must have been in care on their 18th birthday)
  • Exited from foster care to a permanent home through guardianship with the support of the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KinGAP)
  • Enrolled in one of the 74 NC public community colleges, or universities
  • Under the age of 26 (participants remain eligible until their 26th birthday)
  • Enrolled in at least 6 credit hours

How is eligibility determined after a student applies?

NC Division of Social Services (DSS) determines the initial eligibility of each applicant. The NC Reach program is unable to officially start working with a student until they are deemed eligible by the State of North Carolina.

Once a student’s eligibility is determined, they will be contacted by a member of Foster Care to Success.

  • If the student is made eligible, they will be contacted by phone and email by the Coordinator who works with the school they noted in their application that they are attending.
  • If the student is made ineligible, they will be contacted and receive notification as to why they are ineligible.

What happens once a student is made eligible?

After the initial online application process is complete and a student has been contacted by us that they are eligible for NC Reach then the semester funding process begins.

How does a student remain eligible for NC Reach funding?

Make sure you have financial aid and are eligible to receive the Pell Grant at your school! NC Reach applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year to determine their eligibility for the pell grant, other federal and state grants, loans and work-study

Once you complete the FAFSA application, check with the college to see if additional information is needed for you to be determined eligible for the pell grant.

Click HERE for more information or to complete the FAFSA.

To remain eligible for NC Reach, students must comply with program rules and be advancing towards their educational degree or certification (making “satisfactory progress). At the end of each semester, academic progress is measured by reviewing an official transcript mailed directly from the school to NC Reach. Faxes, emails and unofficial transcripts are not accepted.

Academic requirements:

  • To receive NC Reach funding, students must be enrolled at least 6 credit hours
  • To remain in good standing with their postsecondary institution and with NC Reach, students must achieve at least a 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), as well as complete 67% of their registered credits, every academic term (semester or quarter) that they receive funding
  • NC Reach funds may not be used to retake a class which a student previously failed (F) or from which they withdrew (W).

Satisfactory Progress means:

  • Maintaining an overall passing average (generally 2.0 GPA or higher)
  • Completing 67% of the credits you register for.
  • Earning the required credits as a full- or part-time student that will lead to a degree, diploma or certificate in no more than 150% of the credit hours required to earn that certification. In other words, if an associate’s degree requires 60 credits, students must complete the degree with no more than 90 credits.


How do students apply to NC Reach?

  1. Complete the online application at: www.fc2sprograms.org after July 1st
  2. ŸWaitŸ for eligibility decision and to be contacted by NC Reach

When should students apply to NC Reach?

All students need to apply each year to the program. NC Reach applications are good for one academic year from July 1st thru June 30th. Students should apply any time after July 1st if they plan to be enrolled in the current academic year.


Please do not apply during your senior year of high school or your application will automatically be deemed ineligible because you have not earned your high school diploma yet.


Should I apply to NC Reach my senior year of high school?

No! Currently enrolled high school students should NOT apply until after they have graduated high school or received their GED. All incoming freshman need to wait to apply until the July immediately before they start their fall classes.

If I am attending in the Spring, when do I complete the application?

Students can apply any time after July 1st of the current academic year. Our application does not have a deadline, but we encourage students to apply as soon as they know their enrollment plans.

Do I need to reapply each year?

Yes, all students need to reapply each year after July 1st. Active applications expire each year on June 30th.


What is the semester funding process?

While students only have to apply to the program once a year, they have to process their funding each semester. To process semester funding all of the following steps must be complete:

  1. Download, complete and submit the NC Reach/ETV student documents:ALL STUDENTS NEED TO SUBMIT –
    • Student Participation Form: This form provides detailed information about NC Reach, including the requirements that students complete a budget and communicate regularly with their assigned NC Reach Coordinator.
    • Budget: Details student’s personal monthly income and expenses.
  2. Speak with your assigned Coordinator over the phone to review your budget, class schedule, academic plan and how to identify and access campus resources.
  3. Submit your official transcript to NC Reach from last semester funded (only required for previously funded, returning students.)
  4. Make sure that you are fully enrolled in all semester classes and have registered for additional charges, such as dormitory housing or meal plans (if applicable).
  5. Have all of your financial aid already processed by your school and a Pell Grant amount posted to your student account.
  6. Be in good academic standing.

How is the funding award amount determined?

NC Reach determines the funding amount awarded to the student after the online application is complete, all semester funding steps are complete, all financial aid information has processed at the student’s school and has been reported to NC Reach, and the student’s budget has been developed and reviewed with their coordinator.

Each student’s funding amount is different and is determined using information from their school’s cost of attendance, amount of financial aid awarded, personal income/stipends, expenses, and amount of NC Reach funds available.

Once funding is determined, an award letter will be drafted and emailed to both the student and their school. The award letter details the amount of funding the student will receive for the semester and the timeline of when to expect it.

How are NC Reach funds disbursed?

  • All NC Reach & ETV funds are applied to a student’s school account AFTER all other outside financial aid has processed and posted to his/her account.
  • NC Reach funding is never sent directly to students. Funds are disbursed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) and sent directly to the college financial aid office
  • NC Reach funds are first applied to any outstanding student balance and/or loan amounts taken out for that semester.
  • Any available refunds from the NC Reach award are then distributed to students by the school.
  • NC Reach semester awards are typically split into two disbursements; one delivered at the beginning of the semester, and one in the middle.
  • The first NC Reach disbursement is delivered within 40 business days of the date on the student’s award letter.

How do I get my refund?

Students receive their refunds from their school’s cashiers office. If available, students can set up direct deposit with their school and their refund will be deposited in their bank account when available. Otherwise your school will cut you a refund check to be either mailed to you or picked up in person.

Schools have different refund policies. Some refund students anytime there is an available refund, while others have specific refund dates that you may have to wait for. Please check with your school’s financial aid or cashier’s for details.

NC Reach has no control over the refund process and cannot predict when refund checks are issued by your school.

What can NC Reach funds be used on?

NC Reach funds may be used on educational related expenses, which include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • On-campus housing
  • On-campus meal plans
  • Books and school supplies
  • Off-campus housing (rent) and associated living expenses
  • Transportation to and from school (does not include the purchase of a car!)
  • Child care

Can funds be used for housing deposits and application fees first semester?

No. Any application fees or housing deposits are the responsibility of the student. Returning students would have the ability to save some of their semester refund for future housing deposits, but incoming freshman would need to be prepared to pay for initial freshman housing deposit.

Can I receive funds taking developmental courses?

Yes. Although, developmental classes do not earn college credit, they do count towards overall enrollment credit totals and can receive financial aid and NC Reach.

How many classes do I have to take for funding?

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of (6) six credits to receive NC Reach.

Program Requirements

What happens if I drop or withdrawal from classes after I receive financial aid?

Anytime a student drops or is withdrawn from a class, they MUST contact their coordinator immediately. There are consequences for not completing classes. They vary depending on the situation and status of a student’s GPA and completion percentage.

  • ŸStudents must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 – depending on when in the semester a student withdraws, it may result in an F and impact their GPA, as well as their academic standing with NC Reach.
  • ŸStudent must complete 67% of the classes they register for – failure to do so will put them on academic probation and/or lose their ability to receive financial aid or NC Reach.

Is there funding for summer classes?

Summer school funding is not always available. When it is, only students, in good academic standing, who attended both fall and spring semesters are eligible.

What happens if a student does not maintain Satisfactory Progress?

The first time a student falls below a term GPA of 2.0 or 67% completion percentage, withdraws from a class (W) or fails a class (F), the student is required to be on academic probation the next time funded.

If the student does not raise their term GPA to above a 2.0 and complete 67% of their classes the following term, they will be suspended from receiving NC Reach funding for one full year (two consecutive semesters). They may also risk losing their Pell and ETV funding.

What happens when a student is on academic probation?

NC Reach Coordinators work more intensely with students to help them improve their GPA to a 2.0 or better over the course of the academic term. Coordinators will be in contact with students every two weeks and may require midterm grades before being able to receive their second NC Reach disbursements.

If the student successfully completes their probation semester and meets all academic requirements, they able to return to the program the following semester and receive funds.

If they do not meet all academic requirements while on probation, they would lose their ability to return to the program and access funding for one year (two semesters), during which time they would have to attend out of pocket (pay for their own classes) and meet all academic requirements on their own.

Areas of focus while on probation include:

  • Understanding the process for successful course completion, including note taking, preparing for exams, writing papers and other study techniques.
  • Utilizing on-campus student support services such as tutoring centers, math and language labs, and peer mentors.
  • Increasing their confidence in their ability to achieve academically.
  • Learning how to continue their satisfactory academic performance in subsequent terms as a result of the student skills they learn.
  • Fostering persistence in their postsecondary aspirations to complete their degree, diploma or certification requirements.

How do I earn funding back if I’ve lost it?

If a student has lost funding due to not complying with program and academic requirements, they can earn back the ability to return and receive funding. To do so the student must attend for two consecutive semesters, out of pocket and meet all academic requirements (minimum GPA of 2.0 and 67% course completion percentage).

Once a student has successfully completed two semesters on their own, they need to submit their official transcript for that period and reapply.

School Related Questions

How can I tell if a school accepts the Pell Grant?

All public community colleges and public universities accept the Pell Grant. However, there may be certain programs or classes offered at a community college that are classified at Adult Education and therefore are not eligible to receive the Pell Grant.

If you are unsure if your classes or school accepts the Pell Grant, please speak with the financial aid office at the school for more information.

How do I know if a school is Public vs Private?

Each school’s website should denote whether they are a public or private institution.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is the money you receive from your school to help pay for your tuition, fees, educational and living expenses. Financial aid includes the Pell Grant, Institutional Grants, Scholarships, Work Study, Student Loans and NC Reach/ETV.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines a student’s eligibility for federal and state grants, loans and work-study and needs to be completed every year.

Click HERE for more information or to complete the FAFSA.

What is Residency Status?

Residency status refers to whether your school is charging you in or out of state tuition. All incoming freshman, and transfer students, must provide documentation that they are a resident of North Carolina at the Residency Determination Service Requirement (RDS) website:

For more information regarding RDS go to: https://ncresidency.cfnc.org/residencyInfo.

How do I get my books for class if my financial aid hasn’t been refunded yet?

Depending on where a student is attending, some schools offer book vouchers or allow students to charge their books to their student account to be paid later by financial aid. Some schools have privately owned book stores and students at those schools would need to be prepared to purchase their books initially on their own, and then reimburse themselves once their refund comes in.

What is Cost of Attendance (COA) and what does it mean for me?

“Cost of Attendance” (COA) is the amount your school determines it will cost you to attend classes and live while a student for one academic year – tuition, fees, on-campus room and board (or housing and food for off-campus students), and allowances for books, supplies, personal costs (toiletries, clothing, medical), transportation and, if applicable to you, loan fees.

Each school has a different cost of attendance number, which is the cap on all the financial aid you can receive at that school. By federal law, a student cannot receive financial aid of any sort (Pell, ETV, other state grants, scholarships, or loans) beyond the published COA for their school.

NC Reach funding is combined with the rest of the financial aid you receive from your school (Pell Grant, Scholarships, Work Study or Student Loans) and the total amount must be below your school’s COA.

COA is a general figure that you can find on your school’s website, and it is divided into on-campus, off-campus, off-campus living with parents, in-state and out-of-state, undergraduate and graduate. COA does not include items like child/dependent care, a computer, costs related to a disability, or other special expenses an individual might have. However, if you visit your financial aid office you can make a case for having such expenses added to your COA, by possibly completing a cost of attendance adjustment form.

What is Student Health Insurance Waiver?

All students attending a four year university must have active medical insurance. The school will automatically provide and bill students for medical insurance each semester unless they waive it by the semester deadline, and provide proof of other insurance.

Most NC Reach students should already have Medicaid until they are 26, which will allow you to waive your student insurance and the semester fee (can be over $1100 a semester!)

Here is the link with more information on school health insurance and how to waive it: http://studentbluenc.com.

FAFSA & Financial Aid Process

2020-21 FAFSA

The FAFSA application opens on October 1, and is based on your tax transcript from two years ago. Information from the processed FAFSA is used by your school to determine and process your financial aid package.

What’s the hurry?

  • Your financial aid is based on your FAFSA – the Pell Grant and need-based scholarships and loans.
  • Most financial aid is first-come, first-served. You want to be at the head of the line!
  • It’s easy, especially if you’ve done it before – it shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes.
  • You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to directly upload the tax information needed to your FAFSA.

What if I didn’t file a federal tax return?

  • If you answer “I’m not going to file.” to Question 32, you are skipped ahead to question 39.
  • Question 39 – Answer with the amount you remember earning the previous year; if you earned over $10,300 as a single, independent student, you would have had to file a federal tax return.
  • Question 40 – Answer with information for your spouse, if you are married.
  • Questions 41-43 – These must be answered with information that is true for the day on which you complete the FAFSA.

I filed a federal tax return – can I use the IRS DRT?

Yes, you can use the DRT UNLESS you filed your tax return:

  • Married Filing Separately
  • Married, Head of Household, or
  • You filed an amended tax return
  • You filed a foreign tax return

How do I use the IRS DRT?

  • Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and login using your FSA ID. You should have this from last year – if you do not have one, you can create it from the FAFSA login page.
  • Start your new FAFSA application, which should already be populated with some of the answers from last year.
  • When you get to the financial information tab, you will be asked questions to determine whether you are eligible to use the IRS DRT. If you are eligible, enter your FSA ID and password and click LINK TO IRS.
  • From there, complete the requested information and click submit. Review your tax return, check “Transfer my information into the FAFSA”, and hit TRANSFER NOW.
  • Your information will be transferred and you will be returned to your FAFSA.

What if my income has changed significantly?

Once you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), you can talk to your financial aid office and they can assess your situation and make adjustments. The SAR will be available on your FAFSA account within one week of completing the application.

How do I make sure I get independent status as a foster youth?

Questions 46-58 ask about your status. You need only one YES answer to qualify as independent. Generally, this is question 53, “At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?”

NOTE – Ask your social worker or agency to provide you with a Ward of the Court letter, which should state the dates and jurisdiction of your time in care.

What happens if my FAFSA is selected for verification?

Verification is the process used to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is correct. ALL INCOMING FRESHMAN and TRANSFER STUDENTS FAFSAs will be flagged for verification. In addition, about one-third of all FAFSAs are randomly selected for verification by the Department of Education, based on tax and personal information. If your FAFSA is selected, you will need to provide your financial aid office with more information.

How do I know my FAFSA has been selected for verification?

Your school’s financial aid office will reach out to you through your online student account to request further information. You should check your student email account regularly for messages from your school.

What do I do next?

  • Visit your financial aid office right away!! – the sooner you’re verified, the sooner your financial aid package can be finalized.
  • Call your NC Reach Coordinator with any questions.

What are the deadlines?

  • The federal deadline to complete a FAFSA to receive a potential Pell Grant for the current school year is June 30th.
  • The North Carolina deadline is as soon as possible, because North Carolina state grants are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are depleted.