Skip to main content

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I log in to start or view my Phillips Passport Initiative scholarship application, upload my passport application receipt, etc.?
Log into the Heels Abroad portal and select “Tar Heel User”.

Am I required to study abroad if I accept the PPI scholarship?
No! You are not required to study abroad or to even use your passport once you receive it. However, we will encourage you to explore global opportunities including studying, interning, researching, service-learning, and travelling just for fun abroad.

Will the PPI scholarship affect my financial aid package?
No. Any other aid you may receive will not be affected. The $175 award will be generated as a refund and will not go to pay a balance. That way you will have access to it shortly after you upload an image of your passport application receipt as a way to “pay you back” for your expenses.

Why should I accept this scholarship and get a passport? I’m not even sure I want to travel abroad.
Applying for and receiving a scholarship has a positive impact beyond the financial aspect. You will join a cohort of students receiving the award and will get individualized attention from study abroad advisors. You can list the award on your resume and LinkedIn pages to demonstrate that you are resourceful and globally minded. If you are not sure you want to travel, but a last-minute opportunity opens to join classmates on a trip abroad, you will already have your passport and be ready to go! Plus, we are offering to cover the costs for you so there is nothing to lose.

When will I receive the $175?
You will receive the $175 shortly after the passport application receipt upload deadline. Once we check the receipts for validity, we will send your name and PID to the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid and they will enter the $175 scholarship as a refund to your cashier’s account. You will not be eligible to receive your award until you have uploaded a valid passport application receipt to the portal. Make sure to have direct deposit set up with the cashier’s office so you can withdraw the funds to your bank account.

My receipts don’t show everything I paid to apply for a passport. How will this affect my scholarship amount?
Typically one will receive 1-2 receipts showing the different charges for a passport, however processes may vary between passport processing facilities and jurisdictions. At some facilities, they might only distribute a receipt showing a $35 processing fee. Alternatively, you might decide to pay for a passport book AND card, or you might pay extra to expedite your passport. In all cases, the scholarship amount distributed to you will be $175. This covers a $130 Department of State passport book charge, a $35 acceptance facility execution fee, and $10 for the average cost of passport photos.

Do I have to apply separately for the actual passport?
Yes! You must apply for the passport book on your own. We can answer questions for you and even try to help you fill out the passport book application form (DS-11), but you must go through the official process on your own. The process can seem daunting, and you need to gather some documents, arrange your payment method, get an in-person appointment etc. If you got into Carolina, you can do it! The good news is that your passport book will be good for 10 years, so you won’t have to do it again for a decade.

How do I apply for a passport book?
Information about applying for a new passport book can be found online. As you will read, you need to fill out form DS-11 and will need to have your original birth certificate (or a certified copy) and your driver’s license. You must apply in person, and you must have an appointment! The nearest place to campus is the Chapel Hill Post Office at 125 S. Estes Drive (NOTE: they seem to go through periods with staffing issues that affect their ability to offer passport appointments but still check online) or the Carrboro Post Office at 1500 W. Main Street, accessible by bus from campus. There is also a full-service passport office at NC Central University in Durham that is super easy to work with if you can get there- call 919-530-7272 or email for an appointment. They sometimes even offer same or next day appointments there. You can get an appointment with a USPS location in most zip codes including your hometown.

NC State holds bi-annual passport fairs and has a created a map of passport acceptance facilities in the area here.

What items do I need to gather to apply for a passport book?
Most first-time U.S. passport book applicants will need the following items:
1) Original birth certificate plus a copy of it
2) Driver’s license or permit (unexpired) plus copies of the front and back
3) Passport application form DS-11, completed, printed out, but not signed
4) $130 check or money order made payable to “U.S. Department of State”
5) $35 check, money order, cash, credit card, debit card to pay the passport facility’s processing fee
6) Passport photos (obtainable at the UNC One Card office on campus for $10, and at some post offices and pharmacies for $15)
NC Central has also created a checklist of items needed that can be found here.

Is there a video that shows me how to apply?
Watch these these videos for some helpful tips but keep in mind the process could vary for you. Department of State video and Guilford County Passport Office video.

Should I use a “third party” site to help fill out my passport application?
NO! These sites charge unnecessary fees and are “scams.” Only go to official “.gov” websites to fill out the DS-11 passport application form for free.

How do I pay for the actual passport book?
You will pay for the passport yourself and upload an image of the receipt showing your payment. A new U.S. passport book is $130 plus $35 for the execution/acceptance fee, plus approximately $10 for passport photos, for a total of approximately $175. Methods of payment (money orders, checks, etc.) may vary depending on where you go to apply, so you should read up on that facility’s rules. Typically you will pay the facility fee of $35 by most common methods (credit card, debit card, check, cash) but the $130 U.S. Department of State fee can only be paid by personal check or money order. Money orders can be obtained at a post office for a nominal fee if you provide them with a debit card or cash in exchange. Some banks provide them to bank customers for no additional fees.

It says I need “passport photos.” What are those and where can I get them?
There are strict size etc. requirements for the photos you can use to apply for a passport. The One Card office in the Daniels Student Stores building has a self-serve passport photo booth in front of their office that is open the same hours as the Student Stores. It is $10, and they take One Card or credit cards as payment.

I applied for my passport but it has taken longer than 8-10 weeks to receive it in the mail. What should I do?
Check your passport application status here:

I’m curious about studying abroad but a bit overwhelmed. Where do I start?
Watch these videos.

I’m all in on studying abroad! When can I go and how can I search?
The answer varies for new students but typically most students can go abroad starting the first summer after their first year. Search for programs at one of the links below and you can eventually make an appointment with an advisor.

Main Campus Study Abroad Office

Kenan-Flagler Global Programs

I am participating in Carolina Global Launch in the fall. Am I eligible to apply for this scholarship if I am applying for my first U.S. passport in preparation for the program?
Unfortunately Carolina Global Launch participants are not eligible for the Phillips Passport Initiative at this time since they are not “officially” UNC students until after they finish their global experience. The passport initiative is designed for new UNC students who need their first passport and then will be able to consider using it to participate on their first global experience at some point of their time at UNC.

I hope to participate in Carolina Spring Forward in the spring. Am I eligible to apply for this scholarship if I need my first U.S. passport in order to participate on it?
Yes! Just like all other new undergraduates matriculating at UNC this summer or fall, you are eligible to apply for the Phillips Passport Initiative whether or not you are also applying for Carolina Spring Forward. Please note the two programs have separate applications and separate deadlines.

I have a passport card. Am I eligible to accept this scholarship?
The passport card is only good for travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. You need a passport book for all other international travel so the answer is YES, you are eligible to accept a passport scholarship.

I am withdrawing from UNC or are no longer eligible for or interested in the scholarship.
Decline the scholarship in the portal or contact us and we will withdraw your award.

I applied for my first passport over the summer, even before I learned if I was awarded this scholarship. Am I still eligible to accept it as long as I still have the receipts to upload?
Yes, as long as you applied for and are found to be eligible to receive the scholarship. Just upload your dated receipt anytime before the deadline.

I have other questions about the Phillips Passport Initiative. Who do I ask?
Send a note to Dori Brady at