University of North Carolina at Wilmington

University of North Carolina at Wilmington


The University of North Carolina Wilmington, is dedicated to learning through the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. Our university is widely acknowledged for its superb faculty and staff and its powerful academic experience that stimulates creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship. Continuously recognized at a national level for academic excellence and affordability, we remain committed to diversity and inclusion, global perspectives and enriching the quality of life through scholarly community engagement in such areas as health, education, the economy, the environment, marine and coastal issues, and the arts.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Prep & Outreach GEAR UP Summer Institute

The GEAR UP Summer Institute is a 5-day, 4-night residential program for 9th grade students, who reside on campus and experience college life first-hand during the summer months. The program includes sessions led by UNCW faculty, staff and students. There are opportunities for exploratory, hands-on, and themed-based experiences that connect students with academic disciplines, and encourage them to pursue post secondary education. Enrichment experiences are also built into the residential program and allow for teamwork, social interaction and problem solving. Students also participate in sessions for college exploration and admissions.

Pre-College Prep & Outreach Need 2 Lead

Need 2 Lead is a 4-day, 3-night residential program designed for action-oriented, rising high school juniors who want to make a difference in their communities. This intense leadership weekend consists of dynamic workshops and programs designed to enhance leadership skills. The hallmark of the program is helping students create and organize a service project. UNCW student mentors inspire vision and provide direction and accountability for students implementing their project in their communities.

Scholarship & Financial Aid Success Opportunities Aid and Responsibilities (SOAR)

The SOAR program is a financial assistance program that facilitates continued academic success and graduation for low-income students while limiting their accrual of student loan debt. A minimum GPA of 2.5 enables participation in the program, but increased financial awards are awarded at the start of each academic year to recipients that achieve higher GPAs. Students utilize a host of campus resources that lead to individual success and gains for the university community. To qualify, a student must be a North Carolina resident, enrolled full-time, have a combined family income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level and provide the required documentation to demonstrate they meet criteria.

Scholars & Leadership SAND

SAND members work with the UNCW admission staff in recruiting students. By leading campus tours, accompanying admission representatives on high school visits and attending other recruitment events, students are trained to use their leadership skills to encourage minority students to pursue a college education. SAND members attend regular training sessions to build skills in public speaking, business etiquette, networking and more. These leadership skills make SAND students appealing to prospective employers.

Student Diversity

  • 13,218
  • 40/60
  • n/a
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 2%
  • 5%
    Black or African American
  • 7%
  • 2%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 84%
  • 3%
    Two or more races
  • 3%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 1%

Student Success

  • 84%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 71%
    Six-year graduation
  • n/a
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 95%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 32%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 1,092
    Full-time faculty
  • 112
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 17:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Business, Marine Biology, Film, Psychology, Creative Writing

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    Seahawk Admissions Network for Diversity, Success Opportunities Aid and Responsibilities, Black Student Union, Caribbean Student Association, Gospel Choir: Voices of Praise, Mi Gente, NAACP, Student Veterans Organization, Turkish Student Association, Association of Diversity in Student Nursing, Minority Association of Pre-Health Students


Cost of Attendance

  • $18,324
  • $4,356
    In-state Tuition
  • $2,596
    Required Fees
  • $6,490
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • n/a
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $4,350
    Average aid package
  • $25,644
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 30%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • n/a
    Students with financial need
  • 68%
    Students with need awarded financial aid
  • n/a
    Students with need awarded need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • n/a
    Students with need whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 12,500
    # of applicants
  • 64%
  • 4.10
    Average HS GPA
  • 26
    ACT Composite
  • 550—630
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 580—660
    SAT Math
  • 520—620
    SAT Writing
  • n/a
    SAT/ACT optional


  • 02/01
    Regular application closing date
  • $75
    Application Fee
  • $75
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • n/a
    Early decision plan
  • n/a
    Early decision application closing date
  • yes
    Early action plan
  • 11/01
    Early action application closing date