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 2016-17 academic year eligible degree programs may be found by clicking the link below. Degree programs include allied health, medical, education and nursing.  The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority provides administration for the program.

Eligibility - 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) or 2.80 for undergraduate students pursuing an associate or bachelor's 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.

Link -

Value - Annual loan amounts are as follows:

  • 12 credits or more - Certificate, Diploma or Associate degree programs: $3,000 ($1,500/semester)
  • 6 - 11 credits - Certificate, Diploma or Associate degree programs: $1,500 ($750/semester)

Maximum Aggregate Loan Limits - $6,000 for Certificate and/or associate degree programs; $20,000 for Bachelor's degree programs
Note: For 2017-18, 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 2017-18 establishes a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester.

Application Procedure - The priority deadline for applying is March 1st. Click on the link above to complete the application, when available, or to submit your email address to be notified when the application has opened. 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.

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