The Morehead-Cain Scholars Program

By Bright Silas

Scholarship Snapshot
Amount: Full Cost of Attendance
Scope (Full or Partial): Full
Target Country: United States
Target Audience: Undergraduate Students
Deadline: October 1, 2023

College education can be expensive and out of reach for many students. However, there are various scholarships available to help students attain quality education without accumulated debts and financial burdens. One such scholarship opportunity is the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, a merit-based full-ride scholarship offered at the University‌ of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This publication offers a comprehensive guide on how to clinch this scholarship opportunity. We will delve into what the scholarship is all about, the eligibility criteria, and how you can send in a successful application.

What is the Morehead-Cain scholarship?

The Morehead-Cain Scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It is the first merit-based scholarship in the United States. The Morehead-Cain Foundation established this scholarship in 1945 through the contribution of its benefactors: John Motley Morehead III and the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation. The program offers around 50 to 75 scholarships each year, with about 200 Morehead scholars on campus at a time. Since its inception, the Morehead Scholarship Program has given full-ride scholarship awards to over 2,600 students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is recognized among the most prestigious undergraduate educational opportunities globally, with only 3 percent of candidates gaining admission each year. 

The Morehead-Cain scholarship offers equal opportunity for everyone. In a special note scripted on the scholarship foundation website, it states: “Morehead-Cain is an equal opportunity organization. It is the policy of the Morehead-Cain Foundation not to discriminate against any nominee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other factor protected by law.” 

All outstanding students that possess the rare combination of potential, principle, and purpose can apply. The award offers generous financial support and other enrichment opportunities to mold them into exceptional individuals in society. Accepting the Morehead-Cain scholarship can be a life-changing experience. Morehead-Cain Scholars gain inspiration to profoundly impact their lives and the surrounding society. 

Morehead-Cain Scholarship Benefits

Morehead-Cain scholars gain a lot of benefits from their undergraduate experience at the University of North Carolina. This scholarship award offers the following perks:

  • The award covers the full cost of attendance in college 
  • Scholars get access to life-changing summer enrichment and extracurricular learning experiences. This aids in developing the recipients, grooming them into impactful individuals.
  • Recipients get an exclusive opportunity to be part of a dynamic student body at a world-class university. 
  • Scholars get access to an extraordinary network of phenomenal scholars scattered throughout the world. They gain life-changing connections in a close-knit community of fellow scholars, mentors, and alumni who support each other and share a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. 

Morehead-Cain Scholarship requirements

The Morehead-Cain scholarship requires the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must be high-school seniors that are on track to graduate school in the spring. 
  • Applicants can get nominated by their high school or an affiliate program, or apply directly to the University of North Carolina
  • Must show exceptional academic capabilities through outstanding academic records
  • Must possess great leadership potential and be capable of inspiring, impacting and 
  • Must embody the core virtues of the Morehead-Cain Scholars program. Virtues like courage, integrity, maturity, perseverance, humility, self-awareness, generosity and empathy
  • Must show commitment to fitness and wellness through participation in extracurricular activities. Due consideration is given to nominees with some form of physical limitations
  • Must be ready to maintain academic excellence and thrive more at the University of North Carolina.

Morehead-Cain Scholarship Application

To get the Morehead-Cain scholarship, you must either be nominated by your school, an affiliate program or through a direct application. 

  • Nomination: Participating partner schools have the prerogative to nominate students for this scholarship opportunity. You can notify your counselor and indicate an interest in getting a scholarship nomination
  • Affiliate Programs: Affiliate programs are those that serve students from various high schools across the country and world through semester gap, or summer-long leadership opportunities. Students who participate in one of Morehead-Cain’s affiliate programs are eligible to apply. In the process of applying, you will choose your nominee type accordingly and email them to have your high school temporarily added.

Note that students outside of North Carolina, Canada, or the United Kingdom must attend a nominating school or affiliate program to be considered for the Morehead-Cain scholarship. Also, if you attend any of the eligible schools, you do not need to apply separately for admission at the University of North Carolina

  • Admissions Referral Program (ARP): Out-of-state students in non-nominating schools or programs can still get an opportunity to be nominated for the Morehead-Cain through the Admissions Referral Program (ARP). All students who apply to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the October 15 Early Action deadline are automatically considered. The UNC Office of Undergraduate Admissions spots exceptional out-of-state applicants to Carolina and then notifies Morehead-Cain. They review these applications and select a few to directly apply for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. The application timeline for ARP differs from others. Contact the scholarship program to learn more about this process.

Schools that are interested in participating in this scholarship program can apply to be a nominating school for the 2024-2025 academic year. The application deadline is December 1, 2023. All schools will get notifications on whether they have been approved in January 2024. If so, they will receive further instructions on the next step in the process. 

Application Deadline

Application to join the Morehead-Cain Class of 2028 is from August 15, 2023, to October 1, 2023.

Scholarship Timeline

  • Application window for the Morehead-Cain scholarship  opens on August 15
  • Application closes on October 1
  • Semifinalist notification to all students attending North Carolina High schools in Mid-December
  • Video interviews for North Carolina semifinalists in Mid-December
  • Video interviews for Canadian semifinalists in Mid-December
  • Finalist notification to Canadian students in Mid January
  • Final Selection Experience happens between February 1-4, 2024
  • Morehead-Cain Discovery Weekend falls between March 2-5, 2024
  • Deadline for recipients to accept the Morehead-Cain on April 8, 2024

At Scholarship Monitor, we are committed to providing you with up-to-date information on scholarship opportunities. Make sure to always check back for more updates and take advantage of the resources we have provided to help you achieve your academic and career goals.

Leave a Comment