4-Year NC College Program

Golden LEAF Scholarship Program – to attend NC 4-year colleges or universities

Since establishing the scholarship program, Golden LEAF has provided over 5,600 scholarships to help North Carolinians attend participating NC 4-year colleges and universities.

Participating NC colleges and universities
Participating institutions include UNC system universities and NC’s private, nonprofit institutions. Click here for the list of participating colleges and universities.


  • Be a high school senior enrolling full-time as a first-year student or a currently enrolled community college transfer student enrolling full-time at any participating North Carolina college or university in the fall of 2020.
  • Have a GPA of no less than 3.0.
  • Be a resident of a rural county that is economically distressed and/or tobacco dependent. Click here to view the eligible counties.
  • Communicate a commitment to returning to a rural county that is economically distressed.

Award Amount

  • High school seniors are eligible for a 4-year scholarship totaling $12,000 ($3,000 a year over 4 years).
  • Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,000 a year for up to 3 years.
  • Years of scholarship support are subject to the number of credits transferred and the degree sought, among other eligibility factors.
  • Approximately 215 scholarships will be awarded each year.

How to apply
Visit CFNC.org/goldenleaf to fill out the application form or call 866-866-CFNC for assistance. Your FAFSA, application, and transcripts are all processes through CFNC.org. Please do not send your information to the Golden LEAF Foundation.

March 1, 2021 to submit your applicationFAFSA, and transcripts.

Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program
Our 4-year Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients are also eligible to apply for the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. This is an optional program only for Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients. The program provides:

  • Leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership, one of the nation’s leading leadership development organizations.
  • Paid internship opportunities in your career field in rural NC communities.
  • Stipends up to $8,830 (for all four years of participation) in addition to Golden LEAF Scholarship funding.
  • Leadership and internship experiences that help make you more competitive for either a job or graduate school.

Stay Connected

Stay connected with Golden LEAF by signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.