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First Year Seminars (FYS) allow students to focus on how scholars pose problems, discover solutions, resolve controversies, and evaluate knowledge. A second important aspect of an FYS is to encourage students to produce original research and creative activities, which are often accomplished via hands-on engagement with a relevant phenomenon (e.g., attend an event, visit a place, participate in an activity).  Finally, our FYS program attempts to build and sustain a vibrant educational community.  To promote contact between instructors and students, we can provide funds to support social activities inside or outside of the classroom.

Financial resources are available to help us attain these goals.  Specifically, instructors can receive FYS Enhancement Grants of up to $750 to pay for special events or activities that will enhance their FYS.  Examples of expenses covered by FYS Enhancement Grants include tickets to events, rental of performance space, transportation to relevant sites, and purchase of course-related supplies.  Social activity funding (formerly known as “Hospitality Grants”) can be supported with FYS Enhancement Grants of up to $125.


To obtain FYS Enhancement funds, instructors must complete the FYS Enhancement Fund application. Submission before the start of the semester or early in the semester is encouraged because funds are limited and are awarded in the order that requests are received. Instructors will be notified as soon as possible once the FYS Office has made a decision regarding their FYS Enhancement Fund Application.


If circumstances necessitate a change in the enhancement fund budget, a modified budget must be submitted before funds are expended in order to insure that all expenditures are appropriate for the trust fund account that is being used.

Instructors must submit all reimbursements requests and receipts to their department administrator by the last day of final exams in the semester in which the FYS is taught.  The available funding for FYS Enhancement grants expires at the end of the semester. Instructors who do not meet this deadline for submitting requests and receipts will not be reimbursed.


The instructor must complete a Stewardship Report for the College of Arts & Sciences describing how the FYS Enhancement funds were used to enhance the FYS.  The report must include sufficient detail to allow us to provide appropriate appreciation and accountability to our donors.  The report will be filled out online by May 1 in the College Annual Report system that is used for faculty to report on their activities over the year.


Limitations on the use of FYS funds arise due to various legal constraints on expenditures; University regulations on payments to faculty, staff, and students; some practical concerns; and policies that have emerged in the FYS Program as best practice.  Specifically:

  1. There is an expectation that the expenditure of these funds will benefit all of the students in the FYS.
  2. Reimbursements cannot be provided directly to students.
  3. The purchase of equipment is not supported because of issues related to ownership of the equipment at the conclusion of the FYS.  Exceptions include relevant short-term equipment or course-relevant equipment that is stored and maintained by the instructor or the department for use in a recurring FYS.  If you have a question regarding the purchase of equipment, please submit a question.
  4. FYS enhancement funds cannot be used to pay honoraria to guest lecturers.
  5. FYS funds cannot be used to pay salary for students, faculty or staff.
  6. Any requests for rental space must be limited to the UNC campus. In most cases, enhancement funds can be used to provide appropriate security, audio-visual support, or to cover other peripheral expenses associate with a course-relevant event.
  7. FYS enhancement funds cannot be used to pay for any form of gift card.
  8. FYS enhancement funds cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.
  9. Discounted tickets can be purchased for shows at the PlayMakers Repertory Company.  For a listing of productions, see  To obtain discounted tickets, contact the Group Sales coordinator or check the group sale information page.
  10. UNC strongly recommends that vehicles be rented through Enterprise Rental Car.  This may entail renting two vans to accommodate an entire class, but this would still be much less expensive than renting through a commercial vendor.  The most problematic issue can be finding appropriate drivers. In certain instances UNC Travel Services (962-0210) allows instructors to rent a vehicle from an outside vendor.  For example, permissions have been granted when an appropriate state vehicle was not available, when the driver would not be a state employee or due to the logistics of pick up and drop off, but this permission must be received in advance. The state is “self-insured”, so instructors should not purchase additional insurance if the driver is a state employee. Additional insurance can be reimbursed if the driver is not a state employee.

Click here to complete the Course Enhancement Application.