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Forgivable Education Loans for Service

Established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011, the Forgivable Education Loans for Service provides financial assistance to qualified students enrolled in an approved education program and committed to working in critical employment shortage professions in North Carolina. For the 2018-19 academic year eligible degree programs may be found by clicking the link below. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority provides administration for the program.

A recipient must meet the following eligibility criteria to be considered for FELS:
  • Be a legal North Carolina resident and NC resident for tuition purposes
  • At the time of application, present a cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA) of:
    • 3.00 for graduating high school students (weighted GPA)
    • 2.80 for undergraduate students pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree
    • 3.20 for students pursuing a graduate or professional degree
  • Register with the Selective Service System, if required;
  • Recipients must not be in default, or does not owe a refund, under any federal or State loan or grant program
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to the enrolling policy of the institution.
  • Be willing to work in NC in a designated critical employment shortage profession (careers corresponding with a FELS Approved Program)
  • Must plan to enroll in at least six credit hours in an Approved Program at an Eligible Institution
Note: You do not have to be admitted to the program when you apply, but you must be admitted prior to receiving funding, if selected.

Annual loan amounts are as follows:
  • 12 credits or more - Certificate, Diploma or Associate degree programs: $3,000 ($1,500/semester)
  • 12 credits or more - Bachelor's degree program: freshman and sophomore $3,000 ($1,500/semester)
  • 12 credits or more - Bachelor's degree program: junior and senior: $7,000 ($3,500/semester)
  • 9 credits or more - Master's degree program: $10,000 ($5,000/semester)
  • 9 credits or more - Doctoral degree program: $14,000 ($7,000/semester)
  • 6 - 11 credits - Certificate, Diploma or Associate degree programs: $1,500 ($750/semester)
  • 6 - 11 credits - Bachelor's degree program: freshman and sophomore $1,500 ($750/semester)
  • 6 - 11 credits - Bachelor's degree program: junior and senior: $3,500 ($1,750/semester)
  • 6 - 8 credits - Master's degree program: $5,000 ($2,500/semester)
  • 6 - 8 credits - Doctoral degree program: $7,000 ($3,500/semester)

Maximum Aggregate Loan Limits:
  • Certificate and/or associate degree programs: $6,000
  • Bachelor's degree programs: $20,000
  • Master's degree programs: $20,000
  • Doctoral degree programs: $56,000

Note: For 2018-19, FELS recipients must be enrolled for at least six credit hours each semester to qualify for funding for undergraduate or graduate programs. The award amount will be pro-rated according to number of credit hours. While the rules for the program provide for a minimum of 3 credit hours for graduate programs, the policy for 2018-19 establishes a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester.

Starting in 2017-18 funding to attend an out-of-state institution will only be considered in the areas of chiropractic medicine, optometry and podiatry.

Application Procedure
Click here to complete the 2018-19 application, when available, or to submit your email address to be notified when the application has opened. The deadline for applying is March 1st. For bachelor's degree programs, priority is given to juniors and seniors who have been accepted into the program (or who will be accepted by the start of the fall semester). Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other Information
FELS loan recipients must sign a promissory note that will require them to seek loan forgiveness through employment in an approved position or repay the loan in cash. Loan forgiveness is described in the FELS Rules. Generally, a loan for one academic year will be forgiven for one year of full-time employment. Loans will accrue interest at the rate of 8% per year from the date of the loan disbursement. Recipients cannot receive FELS funding concurrently with other state-funded loans.

Related Links
Eligible Institutions
Approved Education Programs
FELS Rules

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