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Paying it Forward and Supporting Graduate Students

A group of alumni classmates from the Economics Department graduate program have come together to pay it forward and establish the Economics Graduate Student Excellence Fund (Initiated by the ’68 – ’74 Matriculating Classes), which will provide critical support to graduate students in the Department. An initial $50,000 has been secured to launch the endowment, which once fully invested, will begin distributing funds as soon as the summer of 2024. Please consider joining your fellow classmates and other alumni of the Department’s graduate program in support of this important effort. Every dollar toward the endowment will grow its overall size and therefore increase the amount available to students each year.

Outstanding graduate students play a critical role in the Department of Economics, both in undergraduate education and in the Department’s ability to recruit and retain superlative faculty. Graduate students are trained and mentored in classroom teaching by the Department’s most outstanding instructors. Effective graduate teaching assistants in economics are essential to the success of undergraduates in our large enrollment courses. Graduate students are also key to engaging faculty—if excellent faculty know that they will be working with top-notch graduate students, they are much more likely to come to Carolina and stay here. It is imperative that the Department be able to attract superior graduate students into the program.

The Economics Graduate Student Excellence Fund (Initiated by the ’68 – ’74 Matriculating Classes) will allow the Department to recruit top graduate student candidates and compete with peer programs across the country. The base stipend for graduate students has not kept pace with these peer institutions and raising the support necessary to teach and prepare the next generation of great teacher-scholars is among the Department’s highest philanthropic priorities.

This Fund will provide impactful opportunities for graduate students through:

  • “Top-up” fellowships. Most incoming graduate students receive stipends plus tuition remission, in exchange for serving as teaching or research assistants. To compete successfully for the most sought-after students, these “top-up” fellowships provide the Economics Department with the edge it needs to ensure that the best students choose Carolina.
  • Summer research fellowships. Graduate students conduct a great deal of research during summer months, but stipends are not provided outside of the academic year. Summer research fellowships enable students to focus on their research without the need to find summer employment. This can also further the pace of a student’s research, enabling them to graduate in a timely fashion.
  • Graduate travel awards. Graduate students tend to have research expenses that exceed their financial means, especially when travel is required to visit archives or conduct interviews. Presenting research at conferences is also essential to the professional development of graduate students, and there is currently only minimal funding available for travel expenses or registration costs.

How to Give


Online giving to the Department of Economics is easy and secure. The donate button below provides options for making a one-time gift, a monthly credit card gift, a UNC payroll deducted gift, or several other ways to give (including cryptocurrency):


By Check

To give by check, please make the check payable to “Arts & Sciences Foundation, Inc.” and include “The Economics Graduate Student Excellence Fund (Initiated by the ’68 – ’74 Matriculating Classes)” in the memo line and mail to:

The Arts & Sciences Foundation
Attn: Cassie Diltz
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
523 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

By Pledge

If you are interested in pledging your annual support to the Fund over a period of years, please contact Cassie Diltz, Director of Development at or 919-843-0345.