< To Transfer Students

Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP)

There are many paths to Carolina. So far more than 800 students have found this one.

In 2006, with the help of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill launched the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, or C-STEP, to enable more community-college students to transfer to and graduate from Carolina.  C-STEP focuses on high school seniors or community college students whose household incomes fall at or below 300 percent of the 2015 federal poverty guidelines as indexed by family size (around $72,750 for a family of four).   You must also be enrolled (or plan to enroll) at a partner community college in a course of study that will lead to the Associate of Arts (AA) or Associates of Sciences (AS) degree, and you must earn the degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2. We review candidates holistically and consider, among other criteria, demonstrated ability to overcome obstacles, first generation college status, diversity, employment history, and family responsibilities. Talented low and moderate income high school and community college students are guaranteed eventual admission to Carolina if they are admitted to and complete the community college portion of the program successfully.  We are partnered with ten community colleges throughout the state:

  1. Alamance Community College
  2. Cape Fear Community College
  3. Carteret Community College
  4. Central Carolina Community College
  5. Craven Community College
  6. Durham Technical Community College
  7. Fayetteville Technical Community College
  8. Robeson Community College
  9. Sandhills Community College
  10. Wake Technical Community College
  11. Southwestern Community College

Students who are invited to participate in C-STEP agree to earn appropriate associate degrees and participate actively in the program. C-STEP offers students special events, advising, and transition and support services both at their home college and at Carolina, while they are pursuing their associate degrees, and provides exemplary transition and support services once they have enrolled at Carolina and are pursuing their bachelor degrees. These enhanced efforts will ensure that C-STEP students will feel firmly planted at Carolina almost immediately upon matriculation. They will be academically prepared and fully engaged in the campus community – both of which are strong indicators of student success.

Another important consideration for any student considering transferring to a four-year university is how to pay for their education.  Carolina strives to meet the full demonstrated need of all students eligible to receive federal financial aid through a combination of grants, scholarships, and loans. Carolina Covenant a landmark program that enables low-socioeconomic students to graduate debt-free is also an option for qualified students.

C-STEP has served or currently serves almost 580 students;  414 of those have already enrolled at Carolina and about 220 C-STEP students have graduated. The remaining students are expected to enroll after they have completed their community college courses. The average GPA for C-STEP students is 3.0 and the overall graduation rate is 79% (2015). Many C-STEP students dive into campus life, joining student groups and engaging in public service. Palestine Small, a December 2013 graduate, joined the Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) program and found the experience highly rewarding, stating that “the BPSS program… helped me make connections in the community to help people and let them know change is possible.” Recent C-STEP graduates have become nurses, teachers, lawyers, university administrators, and entrepreneurs.

While the C-STEP partnership is currently limited to the community colleges listed above, it is our goal to serve as a model and eventually expand this program across the state. To learn more about our impact and history, please view our latest annual report.

Current students, please feel free to download and use our C-STEP Yearly Guide. Contact Shane Hale if you have any questions.

For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Egbert, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions and C-STEP Program Director
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 2200, Jackson Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2200
Phone: (919) 445-8326; Fax: (919) 962-3045

Shane P. Hale, C-STEP Program Coordinator
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 2200, Jackson Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2200
Phone: (919) 445-8334; Fax: (919) 962-3045


Close-up image of Unsung Founders Memorial on UNC campus
Students pose for pictures during the annual senior Bell Tower