Aug 14, 2022  
CURRENT 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
CURRENT 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Fees, Expenses and Financial Aid

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.


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 online 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, DL students 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).

Tuition rates are reviewed and set annually by the North Carolina legislature. The University reserves the right to alter any charges without prior notice. Please visit the Graduate Tuition and Fees web page at for current tuition and fees information. Resident credit part-time, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Program, Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program, Doctorate in Nursing Practice Program, Master’s in Athletic Training Program, Master’s in Business Program, Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioner Program, and Master’s in Social Work Program tuition and fees information is located under the Graduate Tuition and Fees page then click on Part-Time Tuition and Fees link.

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. On the average, for each full-time student enrolled in an institution of The University of North Carolina, the State of North Carolina appropriates $12,987.00 per year in public funds to support the educational programs offered.

Tuition and Fees

Other Fees

Application fee  


Graduation fee   $60
Late Graduation Registration Fee    $25
Certificate fee   $50
Late registration fee  


Cap, gown, and hood  

obtained through WCU Bookstore

Transcript Fee  

$10.50 (Non-enrolled students)

Certain courses in some fields require laboratory or materials fees in addition to the costs listed in this section. Distance and Graduate students must purchase all required textbooks, regardless of course level. Textbooks are available in the Bookstore or at

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 Student Accounts Office 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 the first day of classes for fall semester (first day of classes for spring semester) to retain their preregistered class schedules. After this deadline, schedules of 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.

Late Registration and Payment

Students who register 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 percent 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 2020-2021 Required Fees.”

Textbooks. Distance and Graduate students must purchase all required textbooks, regardless of course level. Textbooks are available in the Bookstore or at

Refund Policies

Academic Year Tuition and Fees

During a fall or spring semester, a full-time or part-time student who drops from all classes before the first day of class or during the first five days of class will be refunded 100 percent of tuition and fees. The term “refund” should be understood to mean the repayment of money received by the university for tuition and fees or for a reduction of charges if tuition and fees have not yet been paid. Students who withdraw from the university beginning the sixth day of classes are entitled to refunds of tuition and fees (with the exception of the non-refundable health insurance fee) in accordance with the following schedule:

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 reduce their course loads during the registration period for the term 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 credit hours in which they remain enrolled. Part-time students are eligible for a refund based on the credit 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.

Withdrawal for Deployment or Other Military Contingency

Active duty students, or members of the National Guard or Reserve who are called to active duty after being admitted and after classes begin may withdraw from a course or from the university for reasons of deployment or other military contingency and be allowed to so without penalty and with full refund during any part of the academic term. We request a copy of the student’s orders be provided for our records. The Advising Center and the Office of Military Student Services will substantiate the validity of the withdrawal request. Requests to withdraw based on attendance of non-emergency or routine training courses will not automatically be approved but will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Summer Term Tuition and Fees

A student who drops summer term classes before the first day of classes will be refunded 100 percent of tuition and fees. Students who withdraw the first day of class or after are eligible for refunds through the first 50 percent of the summer term. The refund prorations for summer term are available from the Student Accounts office.

Summer term students who reduce their course loads by one or more credit 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 credit hours in which they remain enrolled.

Room and Board

Refunds of room and rent for any term including summer terms will be calculated at the same rate as tuition and fees.

Meal plan refunds for standard plans will be calculated based on a prorated daily balance. Meal plan refunds 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. Refunds for all-you-care-to-eat plans will be based on the policy applicable to each component. Refunds will not be made for the last two weeks of a term 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, One Stop Student Service 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.

Refunds are issued by two methods:  direct deposit or mailing a check.  Mailing refund checks may cause delays.  Addresses must be entered properly and updated when you move.  Checks may be lost.  Avoid problems by using direct deposit.

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 help clarify 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

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. It cannot be maintained just for the purpose of acquiring in-state tuition prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state residency, you must show that you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina
  • You have maintained that domicile for at least 12 consecutive months before the beginning of the term
  • You have a residentiary presence in the state
  • You 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 to complete a determination, go to

Veteran’s Choice Act

To qualify for the in-state tuition under the Veterans Choice Act, the student must start school within three 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 at Military Student Services:

Veterans Assistance

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational Benefits

Western Carolina University is approved under the provisions of Title 38 United States Code, Chapter 36, to receive and process VA education benefits. Persons eligible and entitled under provisions of Chapters 30, 31, 33, 35 and Sections 901 and 903, and Title 10 United States Code, Chapters 1606 may enroll in programs approved by the North Carolina State Approving Agency. All inquiries concerning Veterans Affairs educational benefits should be addressed to the VA Certifying Official, Military Student Services, 138 Camp Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723, telephone 828-227-3074/2135.

Veterans Administration Programs

The regulations for VA benefits are complex and vary based on many different factors.  For general information, Contact the VA directly for information on your specific benefits. 1.888.442.4551 or

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; and be of, or close to, working age. Further information can be obtained from local Vocational Rehabilitation offices or at

North Carolina Veterans Affairs

The NC Department of Veterans Affairs offers a scholarship to children of disabled veterans.  Visit for more information and to apply.

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching and research graduate assistantships are available to a limited number of qualified graduate students. Students should contact their graduate program director regarding assistantship opportunities. Consideration for possible appointment to an assistantship will be given after a decision has been made concerning admission to a graduate program. In order to be eligible for a graduate assistantship, a graduate student must be admitted in Regular Admission. Assistantship employment typically ranges from 10-20 hours per week and stipends vary by graduate program.

Students receiving an assistantship in the fall and/or spring terms must be registered at WCU for at least 9 graduate credit hours or at least 6 graduate credit hours during their graduation term. WCU Students who are also registered for graduate credit at another institution may appeal to Dean of Graduate School to remain eligible for their assistantship.

Continuation of the assistantship appointment depends upon satisfactory performance of duties and upon satisfactory academic performance. Graduate assistants must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on all graduate coursework attempted in order to remain eligible for an assistantship.

A limited number of in-state and out-of-state tuition remissions are available; out-of-state remissions cover the difference between out-of-state tuition and in-state tuition only. In order to receive a tuition remission, a student must have an assistantship appointment. Additional financial assistance opportunitities for graduate students can be found on the Financial Aid website and the Graduate School website.

Kendall W. King Scholarship Fund

The purpose of this scholarship fund is to provide financial support for worthy and deserving international students. Undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at Western Carolina University are eligible for the award. Contact the Office of International Programs and Services for more information.

Morrill Family Fund for Research in Education

Established by Maurice B. and Anna C. Morrill, this fund is to help provide and promote desirable research relating to the improvement of teaching at any educational level. The purpose is to enhance abilities of graduate students in education to produce and use quality research. Award amounts vary depending on the nature of the research project. The Morrill application opens at the beginning of the fall semester and the deadline to apply each year is in early October. Students may access the application by clicking on the “Scholarships” tab in myWCU.

The Otto H. Spilker Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Priority consideration is given to students studying to teach physical education. Contact the Physical Education Graduate Program director.

The Staff Forum Scholarship Fund

The Staff Forum Scholarship Fund was established by the Western Carolina University Staff Forum to provide scholarship support for the children of SPA and EPA Non-Faculty employees. Contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Other Scholarship Opportunities

Please see the Scholarship website for a complete list of possible scholarship opportunities.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office administers programs that assist students in meeting educational costs while attending Western Carolina University. Awards are offered based on 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). The FAFSA must be submitted as soon as possible after October 1 of each year preceding the student’s enrollment. The FAFSA can be accessed online at Use School Code 002981 to indicate Western Carolina University as a recipient of the information. The application should be completed as accurately as possible and should 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 per the following criteria:

  • All graduate students must complete (earn) at least 67 percent of all semester hours attempted at Western Carolina University
  • Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 

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 and part-time enrollment, whether or not financial aid was received or the coursework was successfully completed.  All students have the right to appeal, please contact the Office of Financial Aid for appeal forms and additional information.

Notification of Awards

Notification of awards, beginning with completed financial aid applications received prior to January 1, will typically begin March 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
  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 US. 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.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is awarded to students seeking to become teachers in a high-need field in a low-income area.  A TEACH Grant is different from other federal student grants because TEACH requires students to agree to complete four years of qualifying teaching as a condition for receiving the grant.  If a student does not complete their teaching service obligation, the grant will turn into a loan that the student must repay in full, with interest.  You may be eligible for a TEACH Grant if:

  • For undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, or graduate students who are enrolled in programs designed to prepare them to teach in a high-need field at the elementary or secondary school level.
  • Must agree to serve for a minimum of four years (within eight years of completing or ceasing enrollment in the program for which the student received the grant funds) as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students.
  • Must attend a participating school and meet certain academic achievement requirements.
  • Failure to complete the teaching service commitment will result in the grant being converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid.

UNC Campus Scholarship

The UNC Campus Scholarship awards grant funds to advance 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 also 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).


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

Federal PLUS Loans are low-interest loans made to qualifying parents of dependent undergraduate students and to graduate students. The maximum amount a parent or graduate student may borrow cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance budget minus any awarded financial aid. A credit check is required for this type of loan. Repayment can either begin sixty days after the final yearly disbursement or six months after the student graduates. Determine repayment options with your lender. Parents must apply for this loan at A separate Master Promissory Note must be completed for Federal PLUS Loans.

Disability Services

The Disability Services office provides accommodations for students with disabilities. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis and may include but are not limited to testing accommodations, sign-language interpreters, note takers, books in alternate formats, adaptive equipment and software, and priority registration. To receive services, students must submit current documentation of a disability. Disability counseling, career advisement, awareness activities, advocacy, and accessibility monitoring are also features of the office at 828-227-2716 or online at

Testing Services

The Office of Professional Examinations, located in 135 Killian Annex, oversees administrations of the Graduate Record Examination (subject tests only), the Praxis Series, Scholastic Aptitude Test, ACT, Law School Admission Test, and the National Counselor Examination. Visit the website at for registration and exam-preparation information.

For information about the Miller Analogies Test, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Institutional SAT, Residual ACT, or the verbal portion of the SAT (for pre-nursing students), call 227-3264.

GRE Workshops. During fall and spring semesters, WCU sponsors a GRE preparation workshop for students who plan to apply for admission to a graduate degree program. The workshops are designed to help students prepare to take the three sections of the GRE General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing). For more information on workshop dates and to reserve a space in a workshop, contact Educational Outreach.

The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC)

The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC). seeks to enhance the academic environment and raise the level of academic discourse at WCU by providing tutoring, academic skills consultations, workshops, online learning resources, and faculty consultations. Writing Assistants collaborate with students from all classes and majors at every stage of the writing process, from brainstorming and prewriting to drafting and revising. Course tutors facilitate collaborative group sessions and offer strategies for effective study and efficient time management. Call 227-7197 for writing appointments and 227-2274 for course tutoring. Visit the website,, for additional learning and writing resources, hours of operation, and appointment information. All consultations and tutoring sessions take place in 30 Hunter Library. Distance students should use Smarthinking, an online tutoring service available via Blackboard, and WaLC’s online resources.