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Participation as a North Carolina Principal Fellow enables the individual to obtain an MSA degree after completing a one year full-time academic program on campus and a full-time internship at a public school in North Carolina. Fellows receive a scholarship loan which provides $30,000 the first year and 60% of a first year assistant principal’s salary for the second year plus $4,100 for tutition and fees. Fellows also receive an internship stipend based on 40% of the state salary schedule of a first year assistant principal. The total amount varies according to the state salary schedule and the amount for the internship determined by the General Assembly. This year’s second year Fellows will receive a total amount of $42,380 which includes $22,968 as a scholarship loan, $4,100 for tuition and fees and $15,312 for the internship.

Fellows are expected to complete the MSA degree in two years and agree to meet the standards set by the Principal Fellows Commission. They agree to practice as a full-time administrator for four years within six years following completion of the master’s degree. Individuals who do not complete the program or serve in an eligible position for four years must repay the debt in cash at an interest rate of 10%. (Specific requirements for details are included in the SEAA website at under rules and regulations.)

North Carolina Principal Fellows Program applicants need to be able to demonstrate in their application strong evidence of leadership roles and responsibilities at the school, school system, statewide and in the community.

Application Process

Prospective Fellows should complete an application by the January 15, 2014 deadline and include a non-refundable application fee of $45.00. Candidates must complete a separate application for admittance into a Master of School Administration degree program for at least one of the participating institutions. In order to be awarded a Principal Fellows Program scholarship loan, candidates must be unconditionally admitted to one of the participating institutions before the Principal Fellows Commissions meets to select Fellows.

Interviews of all qualified applicants will take place in March at several sites in the state. Applicants must participate in an interview. Selection will take place in March and candidates notified in April. A required Orientation Program for all first year Fellows will take place in June.

Scholarship loan awards and renewal awards for the Principal Fellows Program are made contingent upon annual appropriations by the North Carolina General Assembly.


To be considered for the PFP scholarship loan, each applicant must meet the following criteria:

Applying for the Principal Fellows Program 

To apply for the Principal Fellows Program please download the application, follow the instructions listed on the cover sheet and submit the application by the deadline date, Thursday, January 15, 2015.

Correction: Applicants must have taken the GRE/MAT by January 15, 2015.

Interviews for qualified applicants will be conducted on the following dates at the locations listed:

Thursday, March 5:  UNC-Charlotte

Wednesday, March 11:  East Carolina University

Tuesday, March 3: Center for School Leadership Development in Chapel Hill

Supporting Documents

In addition to a completed application all candidates must submit the following: 

  • Official transcript(s) of all course work. Transcripts must bear the appropriate seal or signature and be sent in a sealed and signed envelope or sent directly to the PFP office by the institution. Copies and unofficial transcripts are not accepted.
  • GRE/MAT test scores
  • Three references, one of which must be from the current principal or supervisor. Both a reference rating form and a signed letter of endorsement on letterhead stationery are required. Letters and completed forms must be mailed in a sealed envelope signed by the person completing the reference.
  • A $45.00 application fee, non-refundable and non-applicable to tuition or any fees. Check or money order made payable to UNC-GA.
  •   Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. How are Principal Fellows selected?

    A.  Applications are reviewed and all qualified applicants are interviewed during February and March at several sites in the state. The Principal Fellows Commission selects the Principal Fellows in March and candidates are notified in April.

    Q. What obligations must I meet as a Principal Fellow?

    A. You must be enrolled full-time and remain in good standing in an MSA program at a university participating as an approved Principal Fellows Program site, complete a full-time internship in a public school during the second year of the program and participate in professional development activities provided by the Principal Fellows Program and the participating university. There are 11 participating universities.

    Q. Am I required to take a leave of absence from my school district?

    A. Principal Fellows are required to be enrolled as full-time students during the first year of academic studies and to participate in a full-time internship during the second year. These requirements necessitate taking a leave of absence or resigning from a full-time position.

    Q. How many years do I have to repay the scholarship loan?

    A. You are required to complete the four years of service in a public school in North Carolina within six years following graduation. If you serve as an assistant principal or principal for four years your loan is repaid.

    Q. May a Principal Fellow be employed while participating in the program?

    A. Part-time employment is allowed during the first year of the program as long as it does not interfere with meeting the obligations of the PFP and does not exceed 20 hours per week. Employment during the second year of the program is not permitted due to the full-time internship.

    Q. What about health insurance, State retirement and teaching license experience credit?

    A. If, as a Principal Fellow, you are on leave from a State-paid position, your health insurance will continue to be paid by the State. Your retirement account is held in abeyance, although you may choose to contribute while in the program or buy back the two years after returning to service. Principal Fellows can earn one year of experience credit on their license for the year spent in the full-time internship.

    Q. What are the responsibilities of the State Education Assistance Authority?

    A. The State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) performs all of the fiscal functions necessary to administer the scholarship loan program including: rule making, disbursement, receipt and determination of the acceptability of srvice repayment.

    Q. How many years do I have to repay the scholarship loan?

    A. You are required to complete the four years of service in a public school in North Carolina within six years following graduation. If you serve as an assistant principal or principal for four years your loan is repaid.

    Q. How is the scholarship loan paid to the student?

    A. It is paid in increments of $15,000 at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. No payments are made during the summer. The funds are sent to the financial aid office at the Principal Fellow's campus where tuition and fees are deducted and the balance is issued to the student.

    Q. How is the scholarship loan repaid?

    A. The scholarship loan is repaid through service as a school-based administrator (assistant principal or principal) at a North Carolina public school. A Principal Fellow is expected to serve as an administrator for a minimum of four (4) years with six (6) years of graduating from the MSA program. If the service repayment terms are not met, the Principal Fellow will repay in cash at 10% interest.




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