Jun 18, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fees, Expenses and Financial Aid

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Fee Information

Western Carolina University holds its charges to a minimum, and fees are 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 2019-2020 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.

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 1 (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 non-refundable housing deposit as soon as possible but no later than May 1.  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 full creditable to first semester housing charges.  First-and-second-year students are required to live on campus.  The Department of Residential Living determines and communicates before January 16 of each year if the second-year requirement will be waived for current first-year students.  First year students living with a parent or legal guardian in Jackson, Macon, Haywood, Swain, and Transylvania Counts may submit a Residency Exemption to live at home. To live on campus at WCU, students must be enrolled as residential students in Cullowhee.  Distance students are not permitted to live in the residence halls.

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 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).

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 $ 3,432.38
Graduate $ 5,000.88


Tuition and Required Fees, Out of State:
Undergraduate $   5,432.38
Graduate $ 10,204.38



Cert. Registered Nurse Anesthetist-NC $   7,400.88
Cert. Registered Nurse Anesthetist, out of state $ 12,604.38
Cert. Communication Sciences and Disorders-NC $   5,600.88
Cert. Communication Sciences and Disorders-out of state $ 10,804.38
Business, NC $   5,450.88
Business, out of state $ 11,104.38
Family Nurse Practioner, NC $   5,300.88
Family Nurse Practioner, out of state $ 10,504.38
Social Work, NC $   5,300.88
Social Work, out of state $ 10,504.38



Nursing Practice, NC $   7,400.88
Nursing Practice, out of state $ 12,604.38
Physical Therapy, NC $   5,410.88
Physical Therapy, out of state $ 11,654.88

Per Semester Charges Detail

Full Time Undergraduate Student

  In State-New Out of State
Tuition $    500.00 $  2,500.00
Required Fees** $ 2,783.38 $  2,783.38
Book Rental Fees $    149.00 $     149.00
Room (standard double) $ 2,514.00 $  2,514.00
Board (175 AYCE + 579.94 DB) $ 2,212.76 $  2,212.76
TOTALS $ 8,159.14 $  10,159.14


**Fees include $ 1,293.88 for Health Insurance Fee. May be waived by verifying coverage at www.studentinsurance.com.

Part-time Student

Undergraduate, new students, enrolled for 11 or fewer hours; graduate, enrolled for 8 or fewer hours.

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



$    257.93


$    757.93


$    661.98


$ 1,962.98



$    390.73


$    890.73


$    768.83


$ 2,069.83


  $    523.53


$ 1,023.53


$ 1,429.80


$ 4,031.80


  $    656.33


$ 1,156.33


$ 1,536.65


$ 4,138.65


  $    789.13


$ 1,289.13


$ 1,643.50


$ 4,245.50


  $ 2,340.93


$ 3,340.93


$ 3,599.36


$ 7,501.36


  $ 2,473.73


$ 3,473.73


$ 3,706.21


$ 7,608.21


  $ 2,606.53


$ 3,606.53


$ 3,813.06


$ 7,715.06


  $ 2,864.46


$ 4,364.46






  $ 2,997.26


$ 4,497.26







$ 3,130.06


$ 4,630.06





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
Cooperating Teachers Stipend Course Fee $  150.00
Athletic Training Program Fee $  200.00
Dietetics 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 11 or fewer semester hours are considered part-time. More information on part-time enrollment tuition and fees can be found at http://tuition.wcu.edu.

Additional Miscellaneous Fees

Parking Permit-Freshman Resident                $ 400.00
Parking Permit-Sophomore Resident & Commuter        $ 324.00
Parking Permit-Junior Resident $ 288.00
Parking Permit–Senior Resident & Graduate $ 252.00
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
Late Graduation Registration Fee $   25.00
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


Athletic Facilities Debt Fee, $48.00; Brown Hall Debt Fee, $68.00; Recreational Center Debt Fee, $77.00; Transportation Fee, $61.50; University Center Debt Fee, $12.00; Dining facility debt fee, $56.50; Health Insurance, $1,293.88 (Nonrefundable. Required by degree-seeking students enrolled for at least 6 hours. May be waived by verifying coverage at www.studentinsurance.com)

Textbooks are available to graduate students by purchase only.

Distance Learning Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees per Semester Hour                        

  In State-New Out of State
Undergraduate $   53.88 $ 189.02
Undergraduate-Emergency Medical Care $   77.53 $ 212.67
Graduate $ 246.57 $ 756.72
Graduate Business $ 290.69 $844.96
Military $250.00 $ 250.00


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

Residence Halls

Standard Residence Hall - (Albright, Benton, Buchanan, Scott, Walker)
  Single Room $3,256.00
  Double Room $2,514.00
Reynolds Hall    
  Single Room $3,427.00
  Double Room $2,702.00
Judaculla Hall    
  Single Room $3,376.00
  Double Room $2,746.00
Balsam/Blue Ridge Halls    
  Single Room $3,861.00
  Double Room $3,351.00
  Single Room $3,185.00
  Double Room $2,665.00
Madison Hall    
  Single Room $3,587.00
  Double Room $3,136.00
  Single Room $3,606.00
  Double Room $3,087.00
Allen Hall    
  Single Room $3,684.00
  Double Room $3,158.00
Norton Road Hall    
  Single Room $3,441.00
  Double Room $3,169.00
Harrill Hall    
  Single Room $3,438.00
  Double Room $2,919.00
Noble Hall    
  Single Room $3,751.00
  Double Room $3,196.00

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: https://www.wcu.edu/WebFiles/unc_system_1920_tuition_bill_statement.pdf . 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 http://www.wcu.edu/apply/tuition-and-fees/index.aspx and choose “More about 2019-2020 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 Plan 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 and, Exchange Meals as well as 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 224F Brown Hall. Cards that are damaged or have impaired photographs may be confiscated. Lost or stolen cards must be reported immediately to the Cat Card office or to University Police 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 the day 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 http://campusdish.com/. Holiday hours will also be posted several days in advance at each location and will be available on the website.

Meal Plans

Unlimited ($2,447.09 per semester))
Unlimited “All-you-care-to-eat” meals plus $330.63 declining balance points
(Available to all students)

175 Block Plan ($2,212.76 per semester)
175 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $579.94 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

125 Block Plan ($2,054.40 per semester)
125 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $771.47 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

65 Block Plan ($1,728.59 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 ($887.03 per semester)
40 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+$481.50 Declining Balance Points

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

Refund Policies

Students Who Completely Withdraw From WCU

Academic Year Tuition and Fees

During a fall or spring semester, a full-time or part-time student who withdraws 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


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 who have purchased the declining balance meal plan will be refunded the actual account balance at the time of withdrawal.

Students who want to drop all courses after the first five (5) days must officially withdraw from the university through the Advising Center. They are, therefore, eligible only for the partial refunds that apply to university withdrawals.

Students who withdraw from the university because 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.

Summer School Tuition and Fees

Summer school students who withdraw from the university before the first day of classes or during the first two days of classes will be refunded 100 percent of tuition and fees. Summer school students who withdraw from the university beginning the third day of classes are eligible for refunds through the first 50 percent of the summer session. The credit prorations for summer school are available at the Student Accounts Office.

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. Hardship reasons are defined as any of the following:

  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,
  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 to the student.

Students Who Drop Course Hours

Academic Year Tuition and Fees

Students who reduce their course loads before the first day of classes or during the first five days of classes 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 first five days of class.

Summer School Tuition and Fees

Summer school students who reduce their course loads by one or more classes before the first day of classes, during the first two days of class, 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. No adjustment will be made for reduced loads after the first two days of class.

Tuition Surcharge Policy

Effective Fall 2019, students enrolled at a UNC constituent institution and who exceed 140 attempted hours prior to earning a baccalaureate degree are no longer subject to a tuition surcharge. North Carolina’s mandatory tuition surcharge which had been in effect since 1994 is repealed.

Book Rental Plan

The WCU Bookstore Book Rental Department offers textbook rentals to residential undergraduate students for courses numbered 100-499. Students pay a flat fee of $149.00 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, 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 books.wcu.edu.

Book Rental Policy Effective Fall 2004

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 half (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 and send books to this address:

WCU Bookstore
Attention Book Rental
Western Carolina University
311 Memorial Drive
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 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 http://residency.wcu.edu. 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 www.NCresidency.org

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 here at Military Student Services: http://www.wcu.edu/learn/academic-services/military-student-services/AdditionalResources.asp.

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 www.fafsa.gov. 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 undergraduate students must complete (earn) 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 percent 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. The 150 percent figure allows for double majors or change of majors.

Notification of Awards

Notification of awards, beginning with completed applications for aid 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 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 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.

Pell Grant

Recipients are undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree who demonstrate exceptional financial need, as determined by FAFSA. Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility is limited to 12 semesters or the equivalent.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

This program is for students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan, after the events of 9/11. Recipients must have been under age 24 and enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of the parent or guardian’s death and cannot be eligible for Federal Pell Grant on the basis of Expected Family Contribution (EFC as determined by FAFSA). All remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements must be met, however.

Children of Fallen Heroes Grant

This grant is given to eligible students who were under age 24 and enrolled in a higher education program at the time of a parent/guardian death. Parent/guardian must have been either a firefighter, police officer, member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew, an employee of a state, local, or tribal emergency management or civil defense agency, an employee of the Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA), or an individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, such as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or chaplain. Recipients must be eligible for Federal Pell Grant.

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 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. All applicants must apply for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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 https://www.wcu.edu/apply/scholarships/.

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. 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 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 https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans.

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: http://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/federal-vs-private.

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 during application. For more information on Direct PLUS loans, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/plus.


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 https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/work-study.

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 http://jobcat.wcu.edu.

Special Assistance

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 vets.gov

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.

North Carolina Veterans Affairs

The NC Department of Veterans Affairs offers a scholarship to children of disabled veterans.  Visit https://www.milvets.nc.gov/services/scholarships for more information and to apply.