Emergency Worker Tuition Benefits

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Certain family members of emergency workers killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty may become eligible for tuition-free enrollment.

train image 7 Requirements
train image 7 Required Documents
train image 7 Appeals of Eligibility Determinations


The statute sets out the following requirements that must be met before the waiver can be obtained:

  1. The deceased or disabled emergency worker (firefighter, volunteer firefighter, law enforcement officer, or rescue squad member) must have been a North Carolina legal resident (domiciliary), in active service or training for active service at the time of death or disability occurring in the line of duty.
  2. The emergency workers’ death or disability must have occurred on or after October 1, 1997.
  3. The emergency worker must have been employed by the State of North Carolina or any of its departments, agencies, or institutions, OR a county, city, town or other political subdivision of the State of North Carolina.
  4. The applicant for the tuition waiver must be either a child or un-remarried widow or widower of a deceased emergency worker killed in the line of duty, OR a spouse or a child (at least age 17, but not yet 23) of an emergency worker who became permanently and totally disabled as a result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty as an emergency worker.
  5. The applicant must qualify academically for admission to UNC-CH, must meet all the requirements of the statute and implementing University regulations, and there must be space available in the course(s) for which he or she intends to register.
  6. The completed application, with all supporting documents, must be submitted to the proper admissions office no later than the first day of class of the term for which the waiver is sought. If under 18 years of age, a parent must also sign.

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Required Documents

  • To prove permanent and total disability of an emergency worker: Documentation of the permanent and total disability from the N.C. Industrial Commission
  • To prove cause of death of an emergency worker: Certification of the cause of death from:
  • The Department of State Treasurer; or
  • The appropriate city or county law enforcement agency that employed the deceased; or
  • The administrative agency for the fire department or fire protection district funded under the Department of State Auditor; or
  • The administrative agency having jurisdiction over any paid firefighters of all counties and cities.
  • To prove the parent/child relationship: applicant’s birth certificate or legal adoption papers.
  • To prove the marital relationship: applicant’s marriage certificate.

Copies of the applicable law and implementing University regulations are available for inspection upon request in all UNC-CH admissions offices, as well as main campus libraries and the Residence Status Committee. Applications can be acquired at any admissions office.

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Appeals of Eligibility Determinations

Appeals of eligibility determinations by Admissions Officers must be in writing, signed by and filed by the applicant with that admissions officer within fifteen working days after the applicant receives notice of the eligibility determination.

  • The appeal will be submitted to the Residence Status Committee by that officer, who cannot vote in that committee on the disposition of such appeal. The student will be notified of the date set for consideration of the appeal, and, on request by the student, is afforded an opportunity to appear and be heard by the committee.
  • Any applicant desiring to appeal a determination of the Residence Status Committee must give written notice of that fact to the chairman of the Residence Status Committee within ten days of receipt of the committee’s decision. The chairman will promptly process the appeal for transmittal to the State Residence Committee.

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