Dec 11, 2023  
ARCHIVED 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fees, Expenses and Financial Aid

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Fee Information

Western Carolina University holds its charges to the minimum commensurate with the provision of needed services. The following schedule of fees, due and payable by the payment deadline for each semester, will be effective beginning with the fall semester of the 2017 - 2018 academic year. The university reserves the right to alter any charges without prior notice upon direction from appropriate governing authorities.

Application for admission must be accompanied by a non-refundable application processing fee, in the form of a check or money order made payable to Western Carolina University.

Payment of Fees

All charges are due and payable on or before the payment deadline for each semester. Payment may be made by mailing a check, cashier’s check or money order, to the Student Accounts Office, in-person at the One Stop in the Killian Annex, or on-line by credit card or check through the MyWCU student portal. In accordance with state policy, a processing fee of $25 is assessed for returned checks. A processing fee of $5.00 will be assessed for ACH payments with incorrect account information.

Any fees or fines not paid will cause the university to withhold the issuing of transcripts and block registration for classes until all debts are cleared.

Students who preregister will be required to remit full payment of tuition and fees by August 1 or next business day for fall semester (December 15 for spring semester-or next business day) in order to retain their preregistered class schedules. After this deadline, schedules of undergraduate students who have preregistered and not paid will be canceled. The class seats made available thereby will be offered to these and all other students who register in the regular registration and drop-add periods at the beginning of the semester.

Tuition and Housing Deposits

Tuition and Fees

New students (first year and transfer students) who are admitted to Western Carolina University in resident coursework are required to remit a $150 nonrefundable tuition deposit as soon as possible but no later than May 1st (for summer and fall terms) and December 1 (for spring term). By doing so, the student reserves a place in the entering class and establishes eligibility to preregister for courses to be taken in the first term of enrollment. This amount is due and payable upon notification of acceptance for admission and must be paid prior to participation in course preregistration. The payment is fully creditable to charges for the first semester of enrollment.


New students who intend to live on the University campus must remit a $150 nonrefundable housing deposit as soon as possible but no later than May 1st. First year students are required to live on campus. First year students living in Jackson, Macon, Haywood, and Swain Counties may apply for a Housing Waiver to live at home. This amount is due and payable upon notification of admission and is fully creditable to housing charges for the first semester of enrollment. Returning students are required to remit a $150 nonrefundable housing deposit by June 1 of each year to secure residence hall spaces for the next academic year. This payment is fully creditable to first semester housing charges.

After June 1, requests and payments for campus housing will be accepted on a space-available basis.

Resident and Distance Learning Tuition and Fee Charges

The university classifies its programs and courses into two categories: resident and distance learning (DL). Students should become familiar with the classification of their programs, because each has a different tuition and fee structure. Resident programs are located on campus in Cullowhee or at resident centers in Asheville/Buncombe County and Cherokee. Degree or certificate programs that are approved for DL serve students away from the Cullowhee campus and its resident centers. Course sections are classified as resident or distance based on the intended population to be served. Although course section classifications as resident or distance typically follow program designations, there are exceptions. So, during the on-line registration process, students should look at the CAMPUS designation to determine whether the course section is a resident or distance course for tuition purposes.

Tuition and fees are based on program and/or course section campus classification and are applied to all academic terms. Typically, resident and distance students enroll in course sections in the same classification as their program (e.g. distance students enroll in distance courses). Occasionally, students may find it necessary to enroll in a course section whose designation is different from the classification of their approved programs. When this occurs, distance and part-time resident students will be charged the tuition and fees associated with the classification of each individual course section (resident or distance). Full-time resident students will be charged their full-time rate regardless of the combination of resident and distance course sections. Since there is no full-time rate for DL students, they will be charged the part-time rate for resident courses in which they enroll unless their program has a special provision to be charged otherwise. Special provisions may be approved for specific programs (e.g. Military and Jamaican programs).

Fees per Semester

Full Time Student

Tuition rates are reviewed and set annually by the North Carolina Legislature. The University reserves the right to alter any charges without prior notice.

*Pending approval by the Board of Governors

Tuition and Required Fees, NC:

UNDERGRADUATE-New                                                             $   4860.50

UNDERGRADUATE-Fixed Tuition 2016-2017*                            $   4821.50

GRADUATE                                                                                  $   4945.50


Tuition and Required Fees, Out of State:

UNDERGRADUATE                                                                     $  10057.00

GRADUATE                                                                                  $  10149.00


*For qualifying students, continuing students, the tuition charge will remain at the 2016-2017 level.



Cert. Registered Nurse Anesthetist-NC $ 7345.50
Cert. Registered Nurse Anesthetist, out of state $12549.00
Cert. Communication Sciences and Disorders-NC $ 5545.50
Cert. Communication Sciences and Disorders-out of state $10749.00
Business, NC $ 5395.50
Business, out of state $11049.00
Family Nurse Practioner, NC $ 5245.50
Family Nurse Practioner, out of state $10449.00



Nursing Practice, NC $ 7345.50
Nursing Practice, out of state $12549.00
Physical Therapy, NC $ 5355.50
Physical Therapy, out of state $11599.50





Per Semester Charges Detail


(Full Time Undergraduate Student)


  In State-New In State-Fixed* Out of State
Tuition $ 1985.50 $ 1946.50 $ 7182.00
Required Fees** $ 2728.00 $ 2728.00 $ 2728.00
Book Rental Fees $  147.00 $  147.00 $  147.00
Room (standard double) $ 2308.00 $ 2308.00 $ 2308.00
Board (15 AYCE + 693 DB) $ 1908.88 $ 1908.88 $ 1908.88
TOTALS $ 9077.38 $ 9038.38 $14273.88


* For qualifying, continuing students, the tuition charge will remain at the 2016-2017 level.

**Fees include $1265.00 for Health Insurance Fee. May be waived by verifying coverage at

Part-time Student

Undergraduate, new students, enrolled for eleven or fewer hours; graduate, enrolled for eight or fewer hours.

  Undergraduate   Graduate
  In-State   Out-of-State   In-State   Out-of-State



$ 627.48

























































































For each course scheduled for audit, a charge will be made equal to the credit hour value of the audited course.

Additional Academic Fees per Semester

Engineering Major $   75.00
Fine Arts Major Fee $  125.00
Initial Professional Ed Sequence Course Fee $    72.00
Cooperating Teachers Stipend Course Fee $  150.00
Athletic Training Program Fee $  200.00
Dietietics Program Fee $  125.00
Recreational Therapy Program Fee $    50.00
Emergency Medical Care Program Fee $  350.00
Environmental Health Program Fee $    50.00
Social Work Program Fee $  175.00
Honors College Program Fee $      7.50


Tuition rates above assume that you are a full-time student. Students who enroll for eleven or fewer semester hours are considered part-time. More information on part-time enrollment tuition and fees can be found at

Additional Miscellaneous Fees

Parking Permit-Freshman Resident                $324.00
Parking Permit-Sophomore Resident & Commuter        $288.00
Parking Permit-Junior Resident $252.00
Parking Permit–Senior Resident & Graduate $174.00
Motorcycle Permit $  42.00
Weekly Parking Permit $    7.50
Application Fee $  65.00
International Application Fee $  90.00
Late Registration Fee $  10.00
Graduation Fee $  60.00
Returned Check Fee $  25.00
Transcript Fee (Non-Enrolled Students) $  10.50
Replacement Diploma Fee $  35.00
Certificate Fee $  50.00
International Student Fee $150.00
Study Abroad Fee $150.00
Residential Technology Fee $  89.00


Recreational Center Debt Fee, $77.00; Transportation Fee, $59.00; University Center Debt Fee, $12.00; Dining facility debt fee, $56.50; Health Insurance, $1265.00 (Nonrefundable. Required by degree-seeking students enrolled for at least 6 hours. May be waived by verifying coverage at

Textbooks are available to graduate students by purchase only.


Distance Learning Tuition and Fees

     Tuition and Fees per Semester Hour


  In State-New In State-Fixed* Out of State
Undergraduate $ 154.26 $ 151.62 $ 505.37
Undergraduate-Emergency Medical Care $ 177.91 $ 175.27 $ 529.02
Graduate $ 246.57 $ 756.72  
Military See above $ 250.00  


Fees for distance education include Education and Technology, Association of Student Government and Document and Campus Security Fees.

*For qualifying, continuing students, the tuition charge will remain at the 2016-2017 level.

Residence Halls


Standard Residence Hall    
  Single Room $3015.00
  Double Room $2308.00
Reynolds Hall    
  Single Room $3186.00
  Double Room $2496.00
Central Drive Hall    
  Single Room $3135.00
  Double Room $2540.00
Balsam/Blue Ridge Halls    
  Single Room $3620.00
  Double Room $3145.00
Robertson (Married Students only)    
  Double Room $2459.00
Madison Hall (Graduate Students only)    
  Single Room $3346.00
  Double Room $2930.00
Village   $2941.00
Norton Road Hall Single Room $3200.00
  Double Room $2963.00
Harrill Hall    
  Double Room $2713.00
Scott Hall    
  Single Room $3115.00
  Double Room $2400.00
Noble Hall    
  Single Room $3510.00
  Double Room $2990.00

Late Registration and Payment

A student who registers after the last regular registration date will be charged a late fee of $10 for each course. Delinquent accounts will be assessed a one-time 10% late payment penalty and monthly interest at an interest rate established by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. 

Western Carolina University is a publicly supported institution. Tuition payments and other required fees meet only a part of the total cost of the education of students enrolled. Tuition and fee rates included are waiting for approval by the University System of North Carolina Board of Governors, not inconsistent with actions of the General Assembly

Students and parents can also find additional information on Western Carolina University’s Use of Tuition Statement at: . This statement provides detail on an annual basis for the UNC Board of Governors approved tuition and fees only. For a list and description of both UNC Board of Governors and WCU’s fees, go to and choose “More about 2017-2018 Required Fees”.

Dining Services

Meal Plan Requirement

University policy requires students who live in a residence hall to purchase a meal plan from the residential plans each semester. Unused declining balance points at the end of fall semester will transfer to spring semester for continuing students. Unused declining balance points are forfeited at the end of spring semester. Block Plan meals must be used in the semester for which they were purchased. Unused Block Plan meals do not transfer to the following semester and will be forfeited at the end of the semester. The balance remaining at the end of fall term does not change the requirement to purchase a meal plan for spring semester. No refunds will be issued for unused block meals or declining balance points.

Meal Plan Changes

Deadline for students to change their meal plan is the last day of course drop/add each semester.

Block Plan Meals

Block Meals are prepaid all-you-care-to-eat meals that can be used at Courtyard Dining Hall for any meal served. Block Plan meals are available to use throughout the semester. There is no limit on the number of meals that may be used during a specific day or week, but meals must be used in the semester for which they are purchased. Block Meals do not transfer from semester to semester. Block Meals may only be used at Courtyard Dining Hall.

Declining Balance Points

Declining Balance Points work on the same principle as bank debit cards. Each time you make a food purchase, the total cost of your purchase is subtracted from the point balance in your account. Declining balance points may be used at any campus dining location including the convenience stores and snack vending machines. Unused declining balance points at the end of fall semester will transfer to spring semester. Unused declining balance points at the end of spring semester are forfeited. No refunds will be issued for unspent declining balance points.

Meal Exchange

Almost all retail dining locations offer a Meal Exchange menu. Meal Exchange will allow you to use a portion of your block meals in the retail locations. To use a Meal Exchange meal you simply order an item from the Meal Exchange menu and then let the cashier know you will be using Meal Exchange to pay for your order. To determine how many Exchange Meals come with your Meal Plan check out the Meal Plan page.  The meal plan description will tell you the number of Block Meals, Exchange Meals and the amount of Declining Balance (DB) associated with your plan. You may also check your meal plan balances on myWCU. 

ID Card

A valid WCU Cat Card is required to use your meal plan. You must personally present your Cat Card to access your meal plan. You may not loan your card to another student. Cards presented in dining locations by someone other than the card owner will be confiscated. Cards and replacements may be obtained in the Killian Annex at One Stop Student Service Center. Cards that are damaged or the picture is impaired may be confiscated. Lost or stolen cards must be reported immediately to the Cat Card office or to University Police in order to have the card declared invalid. The University and Dining Services are not liable for purchases made with lost or stolen cards.

Serving Dates

Your meal plan can be used during scheduled service times from lunch on the day residence halls open until residence halls close at the end of the semester except during these University holidays: Thanksgiving Break (Wednesday - Sunday lunch), Winter Break, and Spring Break. Serving dates and hours of operation at individual dining locations are described on our website at Holiday hours will also be posted several days in advance at each location and will be available on the website.

Meal Plans

Unlimited ($2273.75 per semester))
Unlimited “All-you-care-to-eat” meals plus $330.63 declining balance points
(Available to all students)

175 Block Plan ($2055.47 per semester)
175 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $579.94 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

125 Block Plan ($1908.88 per semester)
125 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $771.47 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

65 Block Plan  ($1605.00 per semester)
65 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $989.75 Declining Balance Points
(Available to sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students based on credit hours)

40 Block Commuter ($823.90 per semester)
40 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+$481.50 Declining Balance Points

**Freshmen must choose either the Unlimited, 125 Block or 175 Block Plan.

Refund Policies

Academic Year Tuition and Fees

During a fall or spring semester, a full-time or part-time student who withdraws from the university before the first day of classes or during the first five days of class will be refunded 100 percent of tuition and fees. Students who withdraw from the university beginning the sixth day of classes are entitled to refunds of tuition and fees in accordance with the following schedule (with the exception of the non-refundable health insurance fee):

The first 5 days of class   100 percent
6 to 11 calendar days following the first day of classes   90 percent
12 to 28 calendar days following the first day of classes   50 percent
29 to 57 calendar days following the first day of classes   25 percent
58 calendar days following the first day of classes   0 percent

Students who withdraw from the university as a result of involuntary recall to military service, pursuant to a Presidential order authorizing the call-up of reservists, and who are thereby prevented from receiving credit for the courses in which they are enrolled will be entitled to a full refund of tuition and fees. Refunds of room and board charges will be prorated based on the number of days the dormitory room was occupied and the meal ticket was used. Students having the declining balance meal plan will be refunded the actual account balance at the time of withdrawal. Students who reduce their course loads during the registration period for the semester as defined in this catalog but who continue to be enrolled in the university will have their tuition and fees adjusted fully to reflect only the number of semester hours in which they remain enrolled. Part-time students are eligible for a refund based on the semester-hour tuition rate. Full-time students are eligible for a refund only when course loads are reduced below the minimum hours required to qualify as full-time. No adjustment will be made for reduced loads after the close of the registration period. However, students who drop all courses must withdraw from the university. They are, therefore, eligible only for the partial refunds that apply to university withdrawals.

Summer School Tuition and Fees

A student who withdraws from summer school before the first day of classes or during the first three days of class will be credited 100 percent of tuition and fees. Students who withdraw from the University beginning the fourth day of classes are eligible for credits through the first fifty percent of the summer session. The credit prorations for summer school are available from the Student Accounts Office. Summer school students who reduce their course loads by one or more semester hours within three days following regular registration or on or before the date of the second class meeting, whichever is later, will have tuition and fees adjusted to reflect the number of semester hours in which they remain enrolled.

Room and Board

Credits for room fees for any semester or summer term will be calculated at the same rate as tuition and fees. Meal plan credits for standard meal plans will be calculated based on a prorated daily balance. Meal plan credits for declining balance plans will be based on the actual balance remaining on the student account at the time of withdrawal. All-you-care-to-eat meal plans have a standard declining balance component. Credits for all-you-care-to-eat plans will be based on the policy applicable to each component. Credits will not be made for the last two weeks of a semester or for the last week of a summer session.


Exceptions to these policies may be made if a student withdraws from the university for reasons of hardship. These reasons are defined as: (1) death of the student, (2) death in the student’s immediate family, (3) a medical condition that compels withdrawal upon recommendation of the director of Student Health Services, or (4) a mental health condition that compels withdrawal upon recommendation of the director of Counseling and Psychological Services. Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the Refund Appeals Committee, Academic Advising Center. Approved exceptions for refunds or account adjustments will be forwarded to the Student Accounts Office to make final settlement of the student’s account. All refunds, regardless of the source of payment, will be made by a check payable to the student.

Tuition Surcharge Policy

Effective Fall 2010, undergraduate students seeking a baccalaureate degree at Western Carolina University will be subject to a 50 percent tuition surcharge as required by the North Carolina General Statute Section 9.10.(b) § 116-143.7. Session Law 2009-451. No surcharge will be imposed on any student who exceeds the degree credit hour limits within the equivalent of four academic years of regular term enrollment, or within five years of regular term enrollment in a degree program officially designated by the Board of Governors as a five-year program. As of Fall 2009, Western Carolina has no five-year programs approved by the Board of Governors. Additional details can be found on the university’s website; keyword search “surcharge.”

Book Rental Plan

The WCU Bookstore Book Rental Department offers textbook rentals to on-campus undergraduate students for courses numbered 100-499. Students pay a flat fee of $147.00 each semester and are entitled to the adopted textbook used in each course for which they are registered. Part-time students pay a pro-rated amount equal to the number of semester hours for which the student is registered times the established hourly rate. This plan does not provide notebooks, workbooks, paperbacks, manuals, or supplemental books and materials; these are available for purchase at the Bookstore. Students may purchase Book Rental textbooks at replacement cost (list price less 20 percent), but this does not exempt them from paying the rental fee. Book Rental fees are included with tuition and can be paid in the One-Stop Office. Further information about the Book Rental Plan can be found at


Rental books must be returned no later than five working days after the last day of final exams each term (including Mini-Mester and Summer School). Unreturned books will be charged to your student account at replacement cost. Books returned after this five-day period will be credited to your student account at 1/2 the charged amount. Grossly mistreated books must be purchased. There are no exceptions to the above policy. Textbooks may be returned by mail. Include your full name and student ID number to:

WCU Bookstore
Attention Book Rental
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee , NC 28723

Graduate students must purchase all required texts, regardless of course level. Textbooks for courses numbered 500 and above are available at the Bookstore. Textbooks for courses numbered below 500 are available for purchase at the Book Rental Department.

Residence Status for Tuition Purposes

Consistent with North Carolina’s public policy of providing the benefits of higher education as free as practicable to the people of our state, the General Assembly has placed stringent criteria on who qualifies as a bona fide resident of this state for tuition purposes. Residence status for tuition purposes in North Carolina is governed by general statute, and the North Carolina State Residency Committee maintains a manual to assist students and their families in understanding both the legal and procedural requirements of resident classification for tuition purposes.

Section 1.C (page 5) from the North Carolina Resident Classification Manual is reprinted below:

Three broad points may be helpful in understanding and implementing state law governing the determination of residency for tuition purposes at institutions of higher education:

First, to appreciate the difference between residence and domicile. Residence is a place of abode, and may be either permanent or temporary. By contrast, domicile is never temporary; rather, it is one’s permanent, established home. To be domiciled in a particular place, one must intend to remain there for an indefinite period of time (permanently), and it is the place where one intends to return if absent. A person may have many residences, but may only have one domicile. For purposes of this Manual, “domicile” is synonymous with “legal residence.”

Second, generally speaking, state law mandates that only those who can demonstrate 12 months of uninterrupted domicile in North Carolina are eligible for in-state tuition. State law also places on applicants the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of evidence, that they are domiciled, rather than merely residing, in North Carolina. The 12-month (365 days) qualifying period begins at the time that a cluster of domiciliary acts is established as confirmed by valid evidence.

“To be eligible for classification as a resident for tuition purposes [in-state tuition], a person must establish that his or her presence in the State currently is, and during the requisite 12-month qualifying period was, for purposes of maintaining a bona fide domicile rather than of maintaining a mere temporary residence or abode incident to enrollment in an institution of higher education.” G.S. 116-143.1(c)

In short, a 12-month presence in North Carolina, even when coupled with a declaration of intent to remain permanently, does not, in and of itself, entitle an applicant to in-state tuition. Campuses still must evaluate evidence of domiciliary acts and make an independent determination of whether a bona fide domicile has been established.

Third, state law also makes the legal residence of an individual’s living parents or legal guardian prima facie evidence of the individual’s legal residence. This means that, at first view without further investigation or presentation of evidence, the legal residence of the applicant is the same as that of his or her living parent(s) or legal guardian. That prima facie evidence may be rebutted or reinforced by other evidence relative to the applicant’s age and general circumstances. Generally speaking, for an applicant with out-of-state parents, the older the applicant and more independent the applicant is from his or her parents, the more likely it is for the applicant to be able to demonstrate domicile in North Carolina.

Additional Resources. The North Carolina State Residency Classification Manual and additional information (including information on the effect of marriage to a North Carolina resident, special treatment for certain members of  the military and their dependents, statutory grace period following the loss of domicile and other specific exemptions written into general statute) are available on the University’s website at . This website also includes deadline information as well as  links to the State Residency Committee’s website and the North Carolina General Statute governing residency. The burden of proof of in-state residency status rests on the student.

Residency Determination for Tuition Purposes

Undergraduate Students

In compliance with state law, the University of North Carolina system now requires students to request a residency classification from the new Residency Determination Service (RDS).  RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina.

The specific requirements for establishing residency for tuition purposes and for eligibility for state financial aid are prescribed by state law.  A North Carolina resident for tuition purposes (and for state financial aid consideration) is a person or a dependent person (dependent according to IRS tax code - not the FAFSA definition of dependency), whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in North Carolina for at least 12 months.

Residence in North Carolina must be legitimate and be a permanent situation rather than just for the purpose of maintaining a residence prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state residency, you must show that you:

  • have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina, and
  • have maintained that domicile for at least twelve (12) consecutive months before the beginning of the term, and
  • have a residentiary presence in the state, and
  • intend to make North Carolina your permanent home indefinitely (rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college).

Persons not meeting the 12-month legal residence requirement may be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited “exception” categories authorized by the North Carolina Legislature.  All others are ineligible for classification as a North Carolina “resident for tuition purposes” and will be charged out-of-state tuition and not be given consideration for state financial aid.  To learn more about residency and complete a determination, go to

Graduate Students

 Consistent with North Carolina’s public policy of providing the benefits of higher education as free as practicable to the people of our state, the General Assembly has placed stringent criteria on who qualifies as a bona fide resident of this state for tuition purposes.  While each institution of higher education within the state mush allow students a chance to demonstrate that they are bona fide residents of the state pursuant to the provisions of the NC State Residence Classification Manual and applicable laws, the burden of proof of in-state resident status for tuition purposes rests on the student.

Residency Deadlines:

All applications must be received before the end of Add / Drop for the term or period for which an adjustment is sought.  Students with pending cases must be prepared to pay the out-of-state rate until their case is resolved.  Students who pay the out-of-state rate and who are later determined to in-state rate, will receive a refund for the difference.

Contact Information:

Graduate School
110 Cordelia Camp Building
Cullowhee NC 28723
(828) 227-7398

Local Campus Appeals

Appeal Procedure
A student, who has exhausted the residency application procedure and has been classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes, may request an appeal of that decision to the Residency Appeals Board pursuant to the “Policy and Procedures for Determining Residence Status for Tuition Purposes.”  This request must be in writing to the Chairperson of the Residency Appeals Board and must be submitted to the address listed below at least fifteen (15) business days from the date of the issuance of the letter of determination. The request may consist simply of the statement, “I wish to appeal the decision of my residence classification for tuition purposes.” It must be dated and signed and should indicate the applicant’s WCU student identification number, academic term, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Request for appeal of residency should be mailed to the following address:

WCU Office of Admission
 Attn: Residency Appeal Chairperson
 102 Camp Building
 Cullowhee, NC 28723

Appeals to State Residency Board

The student has the right appeal on campus. If denied the local campus appeal information will be sent to the student on how to appeal to the state residency board.

Veteran’s Choice Act

To qualify for the in-state tuition under the Veterans Choice Act, the student must start school within 3 years of the service member’s separation from the military and the student must be using either Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) or Montgomery GI Bill (chapter 30) education benefits. More information on the Veteran’s Choice Act can be found here at:

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office administers programs that assist students in meeting educational costs while attending Western Carolina University. Awards are offered on the basis of both need and academic eligibility. Applications for consideration of eligibility are filed annually at no cost to the student and family. Students interested in applying for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This must be submitted as soon as possible after October 1 of each year the student will attend. The FAFSA can be accessed online at Western Carolina University should be listed as a recipient of the information by using school code 002981. The application should be completed as accurately as possible and conform to income tax information, since discrepancies require resubmission of information and consequent delay. The receipt of FAFSA information generally completes the application process, provided applicants are not selected for verification, which requires additional documents. Since the most attractive sources of financial assistance are very limited, applicants are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by the institutional priority date of January 1. Failure to complete the application may result in the loss of institutional grants or scholarships. Federal guidelines regarding student financial aid require that a recipient be making “satisfactory academic progress” toward a degree. A student must be progressing both qualitatively and quantitatively toward graduation within a prescribed time frame. To comply with these guidelines, Western Carolina University has defined minimum satisfactory academic progress for a full-time undergraduate student to remain eligible for financial aid according to the following criteria:

  • All undergraduate students must complete at least 67 percent of all semester hours attempted at Western Carolina University
  • Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 

Maximum Time Frame

A student cannot receive any financial aid funding after he or she has attempted 150% of the hours required to earn a degree. For example, students in programs requiring 120 hours earned for graduation will be eligible for financial aid during the first 180 attempted hours as an undergraduate. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received or the coursework was successfully completed. This allows for double majors or change of majors.

Notification of Awards

Notification of awards, beginning with completed applications for aid received prior to February 1, will begin February 1 and will continue thereafter.

Types of Aid

Three principal types of aid are available: (1) grants and scholarships, which do not have to be repaid, (2) loans, usually long-term and low- interest, to be repaid after the student leaves college or drops below half-time enrollment and (3) work-study.

Grants and Scholarships


Eligibility for federal, state and institutional grants is based on financial need as determined by a formula of the U.S. Department of Education that is applied uniformly to all applicants. Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are considered for grant eligibility.

UNC Campus Scholarship

The UNC Campus Scholarship awards grant funds in support of advancing the academic benefits of a diverse student body. These limited funds are awarded to North Carolina residents who demonstrate financial need and who would bring an element of diversity to Western Carolina University’s campus environment. All applicants must apply for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

UNC Campus Scholarships for Native Americans

Under this Board of Governors program, North Carolina residents demonstrating need who are Native Americans enrolled in a tribe recognized by North Carolina are eligible. All applicants must apply for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must demonstrate financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

This program provides funds through participating educational institutions to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need who would be unable to enter or remain in an institution of higher education without such assistance. This grant is generally awarded only to students who are eligible for Pell Grants.

North Carolina Tuition Grants

Established by the General Assembly of North Carolina, these grants are awarded to North Carolina residents who are eligible for Pell Grants. The value of the grant is determined by the Pell Grant eligibility.

University of North Carolina Need-Based Grant

Students must be North Carolina residents for tuition purposes and enrolled in at least six credit hours at one of the UNC system universities. Eligibility is based on a calculation of need, using income data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Award amounts may vary, based on legislative appropriations.

North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship

Students must be North Carolina residents for tuition purposes and enrolled in at least six credit hours at one of the UNC system universities. Eligibility is based on a calculation of need, using income data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Award amounts vary, based on an estimated family contribution of $5,000 or less.

Applying for Scholarships

Western Carolina University is proud to recognize many of the generous contributors who have funded endowed scholarships for deserving students. These scholarships have a wide variety of criteria including:  academic merit, financial need, program of study, county of residence, demonstrated leadership, community service, talent, or campus involvement. For a full scholarship listing, please visit

In order to be considered for these scholarships, new and continuing students must submit the online scholarship application each year. The University Scholarship Committee works in conjunction with departmental scholarship committees to select scholarship recipients in the spring for the following academic year. In order to be considered for need-based scholarships, students must also submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority filing deadline and demonstrate financial need as determined by Federal Methodology.

Academic Scholarships

Each year, WCU awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships recognizing academic achievement. These scholarships are awarded based on academic credentials presented during the admission process and a separate application is not required. These scholarships are highly competitive and students should apply for admission by November 15 in order to ensure consideration.

Performance Scholarships

Scholarships are also available to students with demonstrated talent in the performing arts or athletics. For more information about athletic scholarships, please contact the WCU Athletics Department. Scholarships for the performing arts are awarded by audition.


Federal Student Loans

Eligibility for federal loans is determined by a formula of the U.S. Department of Education that is applied uniformly to all applicants. Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are considered for loan eligibility. For a full federal student loan listing, please visit

Private Student Loans

These loans are non-federal loans, made by a lender such as a bank. For more information on private student loans, please visit:

Direct PLUS Loan for Parents

These loans provide funds to parents to help meet the cost of education. They may borrow up to the cost of education per child minus other financial aid. Borrowers are subject to a credit check upon application. There is an origination fee with a variable interest rate.. Interest starts accruing upon disbursement of funds. The repayment period begins at the time the PLUS loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement, unless a deferment option is selected. For more information on Direct PLUS loans, please visit


Federal Work-Study Program

Eligibility for Federal Work-Study is based on financial need as determined by a formula of the U.S. Department of Education that is applied uniformly to all applicants. The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.  Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid prior to January 1 to determine eligibility. For information on Federal Work-Study, please visit:

Resident Assistants

Positions as assistants in the residence halls are available to qualified undergraduate students. Contact the Department of Residential Living.

Other Part-time Work Opportunities

A part-time job service for students is operated through the Center for Career and Professional Development Office. All non-work-study job opportunities on the campus and some off-campus jobs are posted with the Center for Career and Professional Development. Students should check the on-line posted vacancies at


Special Assistance

Veterans Administration Programs

Most veterans who served on active duty for more than 180 days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, are generally eligible for financial support. For more information, please visit

Vocational Rehabilitation Assistance

Assistance covering fees, books, and supplies is provided. To be eligible, an individual must have a disability that interferes with employment; show reasonable promise of becoming suitably employed within an acceptable period of time; and be of, or close to, working age. Further information can be obtained from local Vocational Rehabilitation offices.

North Carolina Veterans Affairs

For more information regarding veteran benefits, please visit: