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Tuition Surcharge

What is the Tuition Surcharge?

In 1993, the North Carolina General Assembly (Senate Bill 27, Section 89b) enacted legislation directing the UNC Board of Governors to impose a 25% tuition surcharge on students who take more than 140 degree-credit hours to complete the first undergraduate baccalaureate degree in a four-year program or more than 110% of the credit hours necessary to complete a five-year program. In 1994, the legislation was modified (Senate Bill 1505, Section17.10) to exempt students who complete the degree in eight regular term semesters or the equivalent (or ten semesters for a five-year program). Effective fall 2010, the surcharge increased to 50% as required by North Carolina General Statute 116-143.7 as codified by Section 9.10(a) of Session Law 2009-451.

Effective with the Fall semester of 2013, the tuition surcharge will no longer apply to credit hours transferred from an institution of higher education that is not a constituent UNC institution or a designated North Carolina community college, per the North Carolina General Assembly Session Law 2013-325, House Bill 255.

Who is subject to the Tuition Surcharge?

  • Students earning a first baccalaureate degree, the surcharge will be applied to all hours in excess of 140 attempted hours. Attempted hours include all transfer hours taken at one of the 16 UNC system institutions or one of the 58 North Carolina community colleges, as well as withdrawals, repeated courses and failed courses.
  • Students earning a second baccalaureate degree, the surcharge will be applied to all hours that exceed 110 percent of the minimum hours required to earn the second degree.

 Who is exempt from the Tuition Surcharge?

  • Students who enrolled as degree-seeking students at UNC Asheville prior to August 1994.
  • Students who complete their degree in eight (8) semesters or less of enrollment at all schools.
  • Students not seeking a degree (i.e. Certificate of major)

 What hours are Included in the Tuition Surcharge?

  • All credit hours attempted during Fall and Spring semesters (including repeated courses, failed courses, and course withdrawals.)
  • All course work transferred to UNC Asheville from other UNC system institutions or North Carolina community colleges regardless of their applicability to the student’s major or minor (see exclusions below).

 What hours are Excluded from the Tuition Surcharge?

Certain coursework does not apply toward the Tuition Surcharge and those hours are excluded from the total attempted hours for purposes of calculating the surcharge. Hours not subject to the surcharge include:

  • Coursework transferred from any college or university not part of the UNC system and not a North Carolina community college; i.e., college credits earned from out of state or private colleges or universities are not counted.
  • College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) credit.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or similar program.
  • Credit earned while in high school
  • Audited courses
  • Credit earned while enrolled for summer school sessions or degree credit extension courses on the campus or at another institution

How to Calculate the Surcharge

The surcharge shall be imposed in the current semester and in subsequent semesters where a student’s total attempted hours, including the current semester hours, exceeds the threshold. The surcharge does not apply to required fees.  Tuition Surcharge Calculator

The dollar amount of the surcharge is determined first by dividing the full-time tuition for the semester by 12 (12 semester hours equals full-time enrollment). The result is then divided by 2 to arrive at the per-hour surcharge rate. The surcharge rate on in-state students is calculated using in-state tuition. The surcharge rate on out-of-state students is calculated using out-of-state tuition.

Students subject to surcharge, whose surcharge hours are fewer than 12 hours, or who are enrolled part time, are charged an equal per-hour rate using the formula above. Full-time students are not surcharged beyond 12 hours per semester.

Tips for Minimizing the Surcharge

  • Summer hours taken at any school are exempt from the surcharge.
  • The surcharge only applies to 12 credit hours per semester.  Once the surcharge is incurred, students can take more than 12 credit hours per semester, depending on their academic standing, and not incur additional charges above 12 hours.
  • Students wanting to complete a double major may consider returning for a second degree or certificate of major in order to complete the requirements for the second major.  Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree are allowed attempted hours up to 110% of the minimum hours required to complete a second degree before the surcharge is applied.  Students pursuing a certificate of major are not subject to the surcharge.
  • Students completing a major with teacher licensure may consider graduating without the licensure concentration and instead, return as a Post Baccalaureate student seeking teacher licensure to complete the education requirements.  Post Baccalaureate students seeking teacher licensure are not subject to the surcharge. Students should discuss this option with the Education department prior to making a decision. 

How are students notified of the Tuition Surcharge, and when is it applied to their accounts?

The tuition surcharge is normally calculated following the end of the drop/add period at the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms. It is not applicable to courses taken in the summer. Once the calculations are completed, students being assessed the surcharge are sent an email to their official UNC Asheville email address from the Office of the Registrar notifying them of the number of hours on which the surcharge will be calculated. The Bursar is notified to add the applicable charges to the student's account, which normally appear within 4 weeks of the start of the semester. The surcharge is only calculated on tuition. Required fees are not included in the assessment.  If you feel that an error was made in your surcharge calculation, you may fill out the Review Request form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar within two weeks of the email notification date.

Students are also notified each semester once they reach 100 attempted hours in an effort to warn them early of their approaching the surcharge threshold. This allows students time to plan accordingly and make adjustments as needed to finish degree requirements in a timely manner. 

Tuition Surcharge Waiver Request Procedure

The General Assembly amendment (Section 9.10.(a) of Session Law 2009-451) noted an intent to create waiver categories for the tuition surcharge and to require that the Board of Governors establish a waiver procedure for the UNC campuses to follow.  Specifically, it states that upon application by a student, the tuition surcharge shall be waived if the student demonstrates that any of the following have substantially disrupted or interrupted the student's pursuit of a degree:

  • A military service obligation
  • Serious medical debilitation
  • A short-term or long-term disability, or
  • Other extraordinary hardship which can be documented 

If you feel that your personal circumstances fall into one of the four categories mentioned above, as established by the General Assembly (see Appendix A of General Statute 116-143.7 for definitions and documentation requirements), you should submit your written request within 30 business days of receiving the notice of the tuition surcharge.  You must fill out the Tuition Surcharge Waiver Request form and include any supporting documentation to support your request.  Once you have completed the form and attached your supporting documentation, please return it to:

Tuition Surcharge Waiver Appeals Committee
c/o UNC Asheville Office of the Registrar
1 University Heights, CPO 1370
Asheville, NC 28804 

Waiver request forms and supporting documentation may also be faxed to the Office of the Registrar at 828.251.6492.
For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar at 828.251.6439.

Last edited by drace@unca.edu on August 29, 2014

Contact Information

Ramsey 011, CPO 1570
One University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804
Office: 828.350.4500
Fax: 828.251.6492
E-mail:  registrar@unca.edu