What you need to know about ECU scholarships

East Carolina University is committed to making education accessible for every student. More than 9,000 undergraduate students at ECU have demonstrated financial need — the highest number of students in the University of North Carolina system. ECU offers scholarships, financial aid options and other programs that can help you concentrate on your education without taking on heavy amounts of debt.

We want every current and potential Pirate to be able to pursue their passions here. Apply to ECU no later than Dec. 15 to be admitted in time to apply for scholarships by the Jan. 15 deadline. ARRRGH you ready?

Did You Know?

» 84% of ECU students on average demonstrate financial need every year.
» More than $221 million in total aid was awarded in 2020-2021.
» 26,179 students have been awarded financial aid in the form of scholarships, loans, grants and work opportunities for 2021-2022.

    Creating Golden Opportunities

    ECU provides tools to grow students into community-first leaders and change-makers. Our model creates an ongoing cycle of impact made by first-generation graduates, distinguished scholars and faculty dedicated to their students’ success.

    Today, we stand committed to creating opportunities for students who otherwise would not have been given the chance to continue their education. That is why our merit- and need-based scholarships are so important to our future.


    ECUAWard Portal
    ECUAWard is East Carolina University’s online scholarship application portal. You will be automatically considered for scholarship opportunities based on your completed general scholarship application. These opportunities have pre-determined qualifiers in place that allow the system to “auto-match” applicants.

    ECUAWard processes close to 10,000 general scholarship applications each year. ECU has many scholarships that have been made possible by the generous donations of alumni and friends of the university. There are more than 1,100 named opportunities on the portal.

    ECUAWard by the Numbers

    Scholarships offered via the ECUAward portal for the last three years:

    Academic year 2021-22 2,451 offers$5,432,329
    Academic year 2020-21 2,533 offers$5,560,734
    Academic year 2019-20 2,554 offers$5,321,220

    Access Scholarships
    The program provides grants to students who demonstrate academic potential and financial need. The $5,000 renewable annual award covers tuition, fees and books.Since its beginning 14 years ago, the program has provided scholarships to 265 students and awarded about $4.95 million.

    Junior biology major Jarod Ruffing, the recipient of the West Memorial Access Scholarship, is an aspiring dentist and president of the Pre-Dental Honor Society at ECU. He’s also a tutor at the Pirate Success Center. Before he was awarded a scholarship, Ruffing worked 30 hours a week at Lowe’s while taking 15 hours of coursework.

    “When I got the call about the Access Scholarship, I teared up,” he said. “It means you don’t have to work as much because someone was generous. You can focus more on studying.”

    Chancellor’s Fellows/Centennial Fellows
    Chancellor’s Fellows and Centennial Fellows scholarships are offered by the Honors College.Centennial Fellows receive a scholarship valued at $2,500 per year for four years, along with all the benefits associated with participation in the Honors College. Since fall 2021, the Honors College has also accepted 10 transfer students each year as Centennial Fellows. Students have up to five semesters of scholarship funding to complete their undergraduate degree.Chancellor’s Fellows receive a scholarship valued at the amount of in-state tuition. Both scholarships are renewable as long as students remain in good standing with the college.

    “I am so thankful for ECU Honors College and the opportunities I’ve had while being a student here. I’m especially thankful that they plugged me into an internship where I get to use the skills that I’ve learned in my major in real-life situations.” — Ali White, Centennial Fellow

    “I’m thankful for the Honors College because it’s given me more academic opportunities and lifelong friends than I ever could have imagined without the burden of financial responsibility while in college.” — Maggie Baile, Chancellor’s Fellow

    How to Apply: Admission to the Honors College at East Carolina University is competitive and by invitation only. Students wishing to be considered for admission into the Honors College or any of its programs first need to meet minimum eligibility criteria to receive an invitation to apply.

    EC Scholars

    The university’s most prestigious scholarship provides top students with significant financial support and unique experiences designed to maximize their success. This program offers a significant scholarship valued at nearly $64,000 and challenging learning experiences for a select group of undergraduates. The EC Scholars Award Program provides students rigorous coursework, research opportunities with faculty members across campus and a required study abroad experience.

    By the numbers:
    » 80 students
    » 400 alumni across the country

    Raleigh native Arvind Rajan is in the EC Scholars Class of 2022 and is interested in studying biomedical engineering. “The ultimate decision-maker was the EC Scholars program. I have access to amazing staff support and facilities to ultimately allow me to achieve my goals.”

    Alumni Association Scholarships

    Since 2005, the ECU Alumni Association has awarded 318 scholarships totaling $481,000. The ECUAA scholarship program goal is not only to provide funding for its scholars, but also to develop a closer interactive relationship with them. The integration into ECUAA’s events and activities also offers the scholars a meaningful way to meet, interact and thank participants and sponsors of our events for their generous support.

    Applications for scholarships will be accepted online via ECUAWard from Nov. 1-Jan. 31 annually and are evaluated based on demonstrated leadership, service/volunteerism and recommendation. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000. Scholarship recipients are announced by the alumni association in early March.

    Scholarship FAQs

    How do I apply for scholarships at ECU?

    There are a number of ways a student is awarded a scholarship at ECU. Get information about ECUAWard. ECUAward, our online application portal, lists our opportunities with short descriptions of each opportunity including the eligibility requirements. Additional information may also be located on the individual webpages of the college/department that is responsible for making the scholarship awards.

    Some scholarships are available campus-wide regardless of major (example: ECU Alumni Association and Student Affairs scholarships) while others may be very specific in nature and earmarked for a single major. Students are encouraged to visit the webpages of their respective college/departments to learn the process for their major and make sure they have the most current and accurate information. 

    Who at ECU offers scholarships?

    Many of the colleges, departments and schools at ECU award scholarships. For information on your specific major and opportunities that might be available, check the online portal, ECUAWard AND your department or college’s webpage.

    Are there scholarships for out-of-state students who attend ECU?

    Yes. Many of our scholarship opportunities are open to both in-state and out-of-state students.

    How often should I apply for scholarships at ECU?

    ECU holds a scholarship cycle each academic year. Applications are typically filed starting Sept. 1. Depending on the opportunity, deadlines can range from November (Honors College) to Jan. 15 (for most other programs). Information relative to opening and closing dates can be found in the opportunity description within the scholarship portal, ECUAWard. Students can make applications after acceptance at the university (new students) and at any time each fall (existing students).

    What are the eligibility requirements to receive a scholarship at ECU?

    Scholarships are set up by generous donors who fund the scholarships. Donors may specify criteria for the funds they donate. The GPA required for eligibility can vary. Some scholarships are based on state and county residency. Some scholarships are based on academic performance. Others may require the student to meet financial need requirements. Please refer to the ECUAWard portal for a listing of scholarship descriptions and criteria.

    What is the value of the scholarships offered by ECU?

    This depends on the terms of the scholarship agreement and current market conditions. Most awards are between $500 and $5,000 but some may be for other amounts. Funding availability is subject to change each year. 

    What if my scholarship(s) does/does not cover the full cost?

    All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. The application opened on Oct. 1 and will close March 1. The funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the sooner you submit it, the more likely funds will be available. In addition to scholarships, other types of financial assistance like grants and loans are available.

    Why did I not get awarded a scholarship from ECU?

    The competition for scholarships is intense. Scholarships are usually available only to the most outstanding new freshmen and continuing students. Note there are far more students attending ECU than the number of scholarships available on our campus. Be sure to complete the FAFSA early for a greater chance of other financial assistance. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information on types of assistance available.

    How and when will I be notified if I was selected for a scholarship from ECU?

    This depends on the type of scholarship you are awarded. For scholarships offered by the programs on our scholarship portal, notice is sent beginning in late February through the end of March via the applicant’s ECU email account.

    How can I “see” my ECU scholarship award?

    Once a scholarship is awarded to an ECU student, information is forwarded to Financial Aid for posting to the student’s account. Depending on the volume of work being processed in both the awarding department and Financial Aid, the award may take a little while to post. Continue watching for the award on your student account in your PiratePort/Banner Self-Service/Financial Aid.

    Why has the money not been paid to my account at ECU?

    Scholarships are processed and posted by Financial Aid in the order they are received. However, it may take a little while for the scholarship award to be processed and show in the student’s Banner award information. Please allow time for the process to flow. If you continue to have issues and the start of the semester is approaching, contact the Office of University Scholarships or Financial Aid to determine the status of the award.

    Are ECU scholarships automatically renewed each year?

    The answer depends on the paperwork that accompanied your original award. Some scholarships are specifically one-year awards, while others have the option of being renewed based on the student meeting satisfactory academic progress. Pay careful attention to your award notice to better understand whether your scholarship will extend beyond the initial year.

    Why did I not receive the same scholarship as last year from ECU?

    Each year, new scholarships are created, while a few may become inactive due to lack of funding. Based on your original award letter, you may or may not be eligible in future years. Some scholarships are for freshmen only and a new recipient is named each year. Many scholarships require a student to meet certain criteria to continue receiving or, in some cases, to reapply to be considered for future years. Other scholarships are automatically renewed. Stay in contact with the awarding authority regarding eligibility and renewal procedures.

    Are ECU scholarships available for an individual semester of study?

    University scholarships are typically awarded for the academic year. Very few are awarded for fall or spring semester only. There are exceptions, so if you have specific questions, contact the administrative office within the college of your major to learn more about their specific scholarships.

    I am graduating after fall semester; may I have the full amount in the fall?

    Again, like the answer above, it depends on the scholarship. Some are able to be awarded all in one semester and others are not. Contact the administrative office within the college of your major to ask if it is possible to receive all of your funds in one semester.

    How do scholarship funds work?

    Scholarship funds are posted against a student’s account to settle any charges at the university (examples: tuition, fees, room and board, meal plan). When the student’s account is paid in full, any excess scholarship funds are refunded to the student.

    I received a scholarship from an agency outside the university, where should it be sent?

    Outside scholarship checks should be sent to the Cashier’s Office, Old Cafeteria Complex, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858. When possible, send the check prior to Aug. 1 for fall semester and Dec. 1 for the spring semester. This will allow processing time for funds to be available the first day of classes. Make sure the student’s information accompanies the check. Inclusion of the student’s name and identification (Banner ID) number (example: B00xxxxxx) will ensure faster and accurate processing to the student’s account. 

    Why is my outside scholarship split between fall and spring?

    Outside scholarships are automatically split between fall and spring semester unless the Cashier’s Office is instructed otherwise. Our intent is to help the student throughout the academic year. If an outside scholarship is for a single semester only, please include information with the check to indicate that disbursement pattern (example: “This check is for fall semester.” or “This check is for the full academic year.”).

    How do I request a reference for either an ECU scholarship or an external scholarship opportunity?

    First, make sure you know when the letter is due. Identify who might be available to write your reference letter and make sure they are willing to write your letter. The reference writer may need a resume of your information/achievements to help with writing the letter along with instructions on how to submit the letter. Remember to thank the individual for working on your behalf. Reference requests on the ECUAWard portal simply require the student to enter the name and email address of the reference provider. The system will then send a notice to the provider with instructions for writing the reference and submission via an electronic link.

    Should I pay someone to find a scholarship for me?

    No. There are many scholarship search engines available. Most information you pay for can be found free of charge.

    My scholarship application requires a verification of admissions — where do I get one?

    Most applications will accept a copy of the student’s acceptance letter from the university. If something more is required, contact the Admissions Office (physical location: First Floor, Whichard Building/email address: admissions@ecu.edu).

    My scholarship application or award requires a verification of enrollment — where do I get one?

    If a student receives a scholarship from outside the university and it requires a verification of enrollment, contact the Registrar’s Office (physical location: Uptown 207 / email address: regis@ecu.edu) to get the proper documentation. The form to request the information can be found in the Enrollment Verification Form (PDF).

    My scholarship application or award requires an academic transcript — where can I get one?

    If a student applies for and/or receives a scholarship from outside the university that requires an academic transcript, contact the Registrar’s Office (physical address: Uptown 207 / email address: regis@ecu.edu or ecutranscripts@ecu.edu) to obtain the transcript. Transcripts can also be ordered online but make sure you have time to order and have delivered before any posted deadlines for your scholarship.

    What information does the university need about my outside scholarships?

    The more information you can provide the university about outside scholarship awards, the better. Inside your acceptance package there is a form from the Office of Student Financial Aid titled “Additional Aid and Other Resources Information” that should be completed for outside awards. This information is then updated to your profile so the Cashier’s Office is aware that outside funding is due. Existing students that receive outside funding should also complete this same form each year so their records reflect pending funding. The form can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

    Where can I direct questions about scholarships available at ECU?

    Contact Melonie Bryan, director of University Scholarships, by phone at 252-328-5816; by email at bryanm@ecu.edu or scholarships@ecu.edu; by fax at 252-737-2102; in person at the Office of University Scholarships, 101 Whichard Building, ECU, Greenville, NC 27858; or online.