When should I apply for scholarships?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Each year, UNC Charlotte students have the opportunity to apply for institutional scholarships through the NinerScholars Portal. One question that we hear often is, “When should I apply?” We hope that this post will help clear up any confusion about when you should start applying for scholarships.

October: The NinerScholars Portal Opens

Each October, the University Scholarship Office updates the scholarship applications in the NinerScholars Portal, and opens them up for students to be matched. 

New Students: GPA Matters

If this is your first semester at UNC Charlotte, you will not yet have a college GPA. Even you are a transfer student, your GPA  from your previous institution will reset when you enroll at UNC Charlotte. Because GPA is the key factor in matching you to merit-based scholarships, we recommend waiting until the end of your first semester to complete scholarship applications.

For example, if your first semester starts in August, you should wait until mid-December when your professor has submitted your final grades before you sign in to NinerScholars. Having a GPA will unlock more scholarship opportunities for you during the matching process.

No scholarships at UNC Charlotte are first-come-first-serve, so you do not have to worry about having to wait until January to sign in. You will have the same opportunities to apply as a current student, even if they can sign in a few months earlier. The typical deadline for scholarships is March 15th. 

Continuing Students

If you already have a GPA at UNC Charlotte, you should sign in when the NinerScholars Portal opens in mid-October.

Incoming Students

Both incoming undergraduate and graduate students can start applying for scholarships as soon as the NinerScholars Portal opens in October. In fact, some scholarships for incoming freshman have early deadlines in December, so it is important for incoming students to start their scholarship applications as early as possible.

Remember, you can start applying for scholarships as soon as you submit your application for admission. You do not have to wait until you are admitted into UNC Charlotte to start applying.

Graduating This Year?

Remember that you apply for scholarships at UNC Charlotte one academic year in advance. If you are planning to graduate during the current academic year, you will be ineligible to apply for scholarships.

External Scholarships: The Never Ending Cycle

UNC Charlotte operates on a set cycle for our scholarship applications (October through April). External (or off-campus scholarships) have deadlines year-round. There are always opportunities out there, but they may be difficult to find. Please visit the Resources Page on our website for more information about external scholarships.

Contact Us

Do you have specific questions about when you should start applying for scholarships? Would you like our assistance creating a schedule for your applications? Please do not hesitate to contact the University Scholarship Office!


The original blog was written by Taylor J. Valley, a Graduate Assistant in the University Scholarship Office at UNC Charlotte, and a student in the Master of Public Administration program. It was edited by Lauren Kueider, a Graduate Assistant in the University Scholarship Office, and a student in the Master of Health Administration and Health Informatics program.