Jul 23, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fees, Expenses and Financial Aid

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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.

Tuition and fees are based on program and/or course section campus classification and are applied to all academic terms. (Fees for all Western Carolina University resident-credit courses taught in Asheville are the same as on the Cullowhee campus.) Typically, resident and distance students enroll in course sections in the same classification as their program (e.g. distance students enroll in distance courses).

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 Tuition and Fees website for links to current tuition and fees information. Resident credit part-time, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Program, Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program, Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Master’s in Graduate Business 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  


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. Textbooks are available to graduate students by purchase only.

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 MyCat. 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.

Late Registration. With approved reason for delay, a student may register for classes after the regular registration date with the payment of the $10 late registration fee. Students entering late must show satisfactory reason and obtain approval from their advisor and department head, who reserves the right to reduce the number of hours for which a late entrant may register.

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

Refund Policies

Academic Year Tuition and Fees. During a fall or spring term, a full-time or part-time student who withdraws from the university before the first day of classes will be refunded 100 percent of tuition and fees. Students who withdraw from the university beginning the first day of classes are entitled to refunds of tuition and fees 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. 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 Purpose

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 http://www.wcu.edu/learn/academic-services/registrars-office/residency-for-the-purpose-of-determining-tuition.aspx. 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.

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 for at least 9 graduate credit hours or at least 6 graduate credit hours during their graduation term.

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 opportunities for graduate students can be found on the Financial Aid website and the Graduate School website.

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 amount is generally $700. Application forms are available in the Office of Special Programs, G22 McKee. Deadline is December 1.

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.

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.

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 university maintains an Office of Financial Aid. This office can furnish more detailed information concerning loans, work-study, and other work opportunities. A financial aid brochure is available upon request.

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 and 1607 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 828-227-3022/2135.

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 disability.wcu.edu.

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 testing.wcu.edu 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, http://walc.wcu.edu, 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.