Tuition Surcharge

The University of North Carolina at Asheville is a publicly supported institution, and tuition payments and other required student fees meet only a part of the total cost of the education of students enrolled.  Because North Carolina subsidizes a portion of tuition for each student, the North Carolina General Assembly imposes a 50% surcharge on tuition  (fees are not included) for degree-seeking students who take more than 140 attempted hours (including any failing grades and withdrawals) while completing their baccalaureate degree.  The tuition surcharge became effective in the Fall of 1994 and applies to all UNC system schools. 

Tuition Surcharge Calculations Tuition Surcharge Rate per Credit Hour Maximum Surcharge for Full-Time Enrollment
Undergraduate NC Resident
Entering Fall 2016-Summer 2017 
$2,020.50 $84.19 $1,010.25
Undergraduate NC Resident
Entering Fall 2017-Summer 2019
$2,061.00 $85.88 $1,030.50
Undergraduate Non-NC Resident $10,422.50 $434.27 $5,211.25

Tuition Surcharge is separate from the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy’s Maximum Time Limit regulation.

Students who enrolled prior to Summer 2015 should check the Tuition Surcharge Policy prior to Summer 2015 page.

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 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 from 25% to 50% as required by North Carolina General Statute 116-143.7 as codified by Section 9.10(a) of Session Law 2009-451. In Fall semester of 2013, credit hours transferred prior to Aug 15, 2013 from an institution of higher education that is not a constituent UNC institution or a designated North Carolina community college, were excluded from the tuition surcharge, per the North Carolina General Assembly Session Law 2013-325, House Bill 255. In January 2015, the UNC Board of Governor's passed Regulation that revises the 2010 regulation/policy and defines the application of the current Tuition Surcharge.

North Carolina Board of Governors’ Regulation 1000.1.5[R]

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 that are not defined as Excluded, as described below. Attempted hours include hours from courses taken at UNC Asheville, as well as all transfer coursework accepted for credit, 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. non-degree status)

What hours are included in the Tuition Surcharge?

The undergraduate credit hours to be counted for this requirement include credit hours from:

  • courses taken at the constituent institution or accepted for transfer;
  • failed courses; and
  • courses not completed (withdrawals) unless officially dropped by the student consistent with the academic policy of the appropriate constituent institution.

What hours are excluded from the Tuition Surcharge?

The following courses and credit hours shall be excluded from the calculation:

  • those earned through the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or similar programs;
  • those earned through institutional advanced placement, course validation, or any similar procedure for awarding course credit;
  • those earned through summer session or extension programs on the campus or at another institution;
  • those attempted through course audits;
  • Military Science courses required to earn a military commission;
  • credit hours taken while enrolled as a high school student.

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. 

Use the Tuition Surcharge Calculator to calculate the amount owed.

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. However, students should compare the cost of summer school with potential tuition surcharge to make an informed decision. It may be more cost effective to incur 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 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. (Please keep in mind that post-baccalaureate students must complete a minimum of 30 hours, that are in addition to the first degree, in order to receive the second degree.)
  • 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 Student Accounts Office is notified to assess the tuition surcharges. Charges will normally be billed within the first 5 weeks 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 submit the Tuition Surcharge Review Request form to the Office of the Registrar within two weeks of the email notification date.

Students are also notified each semester once they reach 110 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. 

Tuition Surchage Waiver Request Form

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 1570
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 828.350.4500.