The State of North Carolina has a required centralized process for students to determine if they are eligible for in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid at NC public colleges and for state-funded aid programs at private colleges. This process is completed through the Residency Determination Service (RDS). All NC two-year and four-year colleges participate in RDS at www.ncresidency.org, and you can use your CFNC.org username and password for the ncresidency.org site. Some NC colleges require you to complete RDS before you can submit an online admission application. Take a look at these resources to help you complete RDS, and keep in mind that it can be helpful to do RDS and your FAFSA at the same in October because they require similar information.
Completing the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college. In addition to federal financial aid, the State of North Carolina and most NC colleges use FAFSA information to award state and institutional financial aid. You might want to complete NC’s Residency Determination Service process at the same time as your FAFSA since much of the required information is the same. Visit FAFSA.gov to begin now (new FAFSA is available on October 1), or get help completing your forms at sites across North Carolina during FAFSA Day on October 28.
Now is the best time to plan which college(s) you’d like to apply to so you can become familiar with their deadlines and requirements. During the week of November 13-17, volunteers at hundreds of NC high schools will help students submit online applications for admission. During this week, all North Carolina colleges and universities accept the College Board or ACT fee waiver in lieu of an application fee, for students who qualify (see your high school counselor for more information). Additionally, many of North Carolina’s colleges and universities go above and beyond and outright waive their application fee. Check out the NC College Application Fees for CAM 2017 document for application fee policies of NC colleges and universities during the week of November 13-17. Most NC colleges use the CFNC.org application, but even if they don’t, the CFNC Application Hub will direct you to their preferred application. If you are at a public NC high school, you can also use the CFNC Application Hub to send your transcripts electronically for free to any NC college.