Skip to main content

where does money go

What is the Cost of Attendance?

The Cost of Education (COA) is the standard cost of a student’s medical education for an academic year, as calculated by the UNC-CH Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. It takes into account the following categories:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Estimated room and board
  • Transportation
  • Personal expenses
  • Health Insurance

Your financial aid is based on the Cost of Attendance, which is a standard allowance, and not on your preferences or spending habits.

The Cost of Attendance, also called the “standard budget”, does not include consumer debts, such as car payments, bank loans, or credit card obligations which students may have established prior to medical school. Students should try to eliminate previous debts before beginning their medical school career.

Married students or students with dependents should note that federal regulations stipulate that your budget only include living expenses for yourself, and not for your spouse or dependents. The expectation is that the living expenses of your spouse and dependents will be met through your spouse’s earnings.

It is important to note that the COA covers expenses for the period of enrollment only. For example, most first year students are enrolled for 10.5 months. Financial aid covers expenses only for those months and not for the remaining month and a half in the year. Periods of continuous non-enrollment are not included and are not funded. For more information on how to plan and budget to make the best use of your financial aid, check out our Financial Planning page.

2022 – 2023 UNC School of Medicine Cost of Education

NC Resident $34,706
Non-Resident $62,666
Room $15,588
Board/Food $6,278
Books/Supplies $2,540
Travel $2,072
Health Insurance $2,704
Federal Loan Fees $  1,218
Miscellaneous Total $6,446
Personal Expenses $4,242
Equipment $1,093
Vaccines $611
            Ipad Fee $500
Total NC Resident $71,552
Total Non-Resident $99,512

Things to Note About Your Cost of Attendance

Number of Enrolled Hours

Effective Fall 2021

Beginning Fall 2021, tuition will be billed on a per-credit-hour basis as part of a University North Carolina System-wide initiative. The per credit rate provides an equitable model. Students will be charged for the exact credit hours they are enrolled rather than a range of enrolled hours. Tuition will be charged per credit hour up to 9 credit hours. The per credit hour rate in-state rate is $1,819.23 ($16,373/9). The out-of-state per credit hour rate is $3,372.57 ($30,353/9).

Students who are opting to complete an enrichment semester or academic year for research or a slower paced curricular time may be eligible for a reduced tuition rate. Student fees will continue to be charged at the full rate, thus allowing students to benefit from student fee-related services. Registration for one 6.0 credit hours MD enrichment course will allow for continuous enrollment for financial aid and student loan deferment eligibility. The SOM will ensure that the only students enrolled for 6.0 credit hours are those authorized to enroll in this designated enrichment course. This option will be available in all semesters of medical school. Students who select this option will not be eligible for non-enrichment related course registrations.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is required of all medical students at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Students are automatically enrolled in the UNC Health Insurance Plan (links to student blue), or can opt out if they provide proof that insurance has been purchased elsewhere. Insurance provided by UNC is billed with tuition and fees. For more information about Health Insurance, visit and select UNC to evaluate if you would like to enroll or opt out.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is also required of all medical students at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. The School of Medicine is currently paying this expense on the students behalf.

Financial Aid for Repeat/Remedial Work

On occasion, a student is required to repeat courses or remediate work to advance to the next year. Such students are eligible to apply for loans to cover that time period.

Additions to Your Basic Budget

On occasion, additional expenses may be included in your budget; However, this must be discussed with a staff member of the Financial Aid Office prior to applying for financial aid. Receipts will be required for approval of any additional expenses. Budget adjustments based on these expenses will be made only once per semester and will be met with loan funds. The Revision Form must be submitted for those expenses. Below, find some additional expenses that could potentially be approved as additions to your basic budget, as well as some that will not be approved.

Expenses that May Be Approved as Additions to Your Basic Budget

Child Care Expenses

You may request that reasonable child care costs be included in your budget. If you are a single parent, the full cost can be added to your budget. If you are married, half the cost can be added to your budget (your spouse will be expected to pay the other half).

Uninsured Medical, Dental, and Optical Expenses

Required health care costs not covered by insurance can be added to your budget.

Automobile Repairs

Repairs to keep your car in safe running condition can be added to your budget. Routine maintenance and cosmetic repairs will not be approved.

Expenses for Education Abroad

If you are receiving credit for an educational experience outside of the United States, you may apply for student aid to meet particular costs which are not met entirely by an award from another source (departmental funding or the International Fellowship). You may only apply for financial aid if you’ve completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Depending on the time frame of your away elective, you may need to complete a summer aid application (if you studied abroad during a time period that you would not normally be enrolled).

Commuting Expenses

If you are completing a rotation outside of the Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill area, you may apply for additional aid for commuting expenses.

Expenses that Cannot Be Approved as Additions to Your Basic Budget

Relocation Expenses

Incoming Students: Moving costs, including your first and last month’s rent, security deposits, furnishings, labor, or shipping expenses, cannot be included in your budget. Incoming students need to plan carefully for the cost of moving. If you need a letter stating that you’ll be receiving financial aid to sign a lease for an apartment, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Graduating Students: See Residency and Relocation Loan page for more information.

Consumer Debts

Consumer debts cannot be included in your budget and should be repaid before you enroll.

Family Member Cost of Living

The Cost of Education cannot include expenses for family members. This budget is designed for only you as a student, regardless of your marital or family status. Check out out helpful budgeting tools and resources to help with planning your family budget.

Cost of Education by Year

Year 1 (Foundation Phase 1 & 2)

Congratulations on being accepted to one of the best medical schools on Earth! Here are a few things you may want to include in your budget when deciding how much financial aid you will need:

  • Moving Expenses – This expenses happens before the start of the academic year and are not part of the cost of education.
  • Start-up costs at the begging of the school year such as a security deposit and  utility deposits – not included as part of the cost of education
  • New laptop, which is usually a secure-testing requirement.
  • Medical instruments such as stethoscope, otoscope, or ophthalmoscope. Aside from the stethoscope, these are largely optional.
  • Housing (rent, utilities, etc.).
  • Transportation – gas can add up quickly if you are commuting.

Year 2 (Foundation Phase 3 & Application Phase)

Alright MS2s, you’ve finally gotten used to the swing of content-heavy med school testing and mastering tons of information in a relatively short period of time. As you begin budgeting for your Year 2, be sure to include USMLE Step 1 fees. Step 1 is taken at the end of Foundation Phase 3, usually in the spring. The most recent fees were $645, but up-to-date fee information can be found here.

Other Cost to consider when budgeting:

  • USMLE Study Materials
  • Attire for Clerkships where professional dress is required
  • Increased transportation costs for travel to hospitals, parking, etc.
  • Relocating to branch campus and the cost of living
  • VSLO – Visiting Student Learning Opportunities application fee


Year 3 ( Application Phase & Individualization Phase)

Congrats, you finished Step 1! Before celebrating too much, though, you should probably know that there are still a few more USMLE tests to complete before graduation. Be sure to include the fees for these tests as you construct your budget for Year 3. For instance, most students elect to take Step II Clinical Knowledge between Year 3 and Year 4. For the most up-to-date fee information, click here.

Other Cost to consider when budgeting:

  • USMLE Step II Clinical Skills – Travel expense to exam location
  • USMLE Step II Clinical Knowledge – Exam Cost and Study Materials

LOA Year (including research years, MPH, MBA, etc.)

Taking a Leave-of-Absence (LOA) year will require special financial planning. Those students pursuing additional professional degrees (MPH, MBA, etc.) need to be aware of a possible gap between loan disbursement dates.

If you plan to take a leave of absence, please contact the receptionist in Student Affairs at 919-962-8335 to set up an official leave of absence meeting.

Year 4 (Individualization Phase)

Please see our Residency and Relocation Loans page for more information about preparing for this time.

Cost to Consider when budgeting:

  • Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) fees
  • National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) fees
  • Travel expenses for residency interviews
  • Travel expenses for away rotations
  • Graduation expenses:  invitations, cap and gown rental, diploma, etc.
  • Living expenses between graduation and the first paycheck for medical residency