Jun 18, 2024  
CURRENT 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
CURRENT 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Fees, Expenses, and Financial Aid

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


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 2023-2024 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 processing fee, paid online at the time of application or 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 established payment deadlines 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 online by credit card or webcheck through the MyWCU student portal. In accordance with state policy, a processing fee of $35 is assessed for returned checks. 

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.

NC Promise

The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan (NC Promise) is a State of North Carolina initiative established with the intent of increasing access to a quality university education through the University of North Carolina System (UNC System). This program significantly reduces student costs at four UNC System campuses: Western Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University. Under NC Promise, undergraduate tuition at WCU is reduced to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students. All undergraduate students, including full-time, part-time, freshmen, transfers, and online learners, qualify for the NC Promise tuition rate.  Costs for part-time students are pro-rated based on the number of credit hours taken. The out-of-state tuition rate also applies to undergraduate international students.

The state of North Carolina is matching dollar for dollar the difference between our full tuition price and the NC Promise Tuition Plan cost. The end result is affordability for students without sacrificing quality. Campus-related fees for students and on-campus residency costs are not reduced under the NC Promise Tuition Plan, so it is important for parents and students to understand the full cost of attendance.  The NC Promise Tuition Plan will not affect accreditations, academic offerings, student support, or campus experience. In fact, the reduced cost is likely to allow the institutions to attract the highest quality students, resulting in an enhanced learning environment.  The tuition portion of costs shown below will reflect the NC Promise Plan.

Enrollment and Housing Deposits


New students (first-year and transfer students) who are admitted to Western Carolina University in resident coursework are required to remit a $300 nonrefundable enrollment 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 pre-registration. The payment is fully creditable to charges for the first semester of enrollment.


After paying the $300.00 Enrollment Deposit or receiving a waiver, a Housing Agreement will be available to all new, incoming, first-time, full-time Freshmen, typically within three business days.  New transfer students who indicate they would like to live on campus will also have a Housing Agreement available to them, typically within three business days, of the payment of the $300.00 Enrollment Deposit.  New graduate students who wish to live on campus must pay the $150.00 Housing Deposit in order to begin the process for on-campus housing.  Returning students are required to remit a $150.00 nonrefundable housing deposit to select on campus housing.  Housing is not guaranteed for returning students.  The housing deposit for returning students is fully creditable to first-semester housing charges.  First-time, full-time freshmen are required to live on campus for their first four academic semesters or two years.  New transfer students within one year of high school graduation are required to live on campus for their first two academic semesters or one year.  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 the main 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 and fee 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.

Tuition and Required Fees, NC:
Undergraduate $ 3,658.40
Graduate $ 5,281.40


Tuition and Required Fees, Out of State:
Undergraduate $   5,658.40
Graduate $ 10,640.90


Graduate NC Resident Out of State
Nurse Anesthesia, DNP-CRNA $ 8,181.40 $ 13,540.90
Communication Sciences and Disorders, MS $ 5,881.40 $ 11,240.90
Business $ 5,731.40 $ 11,540.90
Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP & DNP-FNP $ 7,681.40 $ 13,040.90
Social Work, MSW. $ 5,581.40 $ 10,940.90
Athletic Training, MSAT $ 5,768.90 $ 11,128.40
Physical Therapy, DPT $ 5,911.40 $ 12,311.

Fees include $ 1,392.40 for Health Insurance Fee. This fee may be waived by verifying coverage at http://studentbluenc.com/#/wcu/welcome.

Per Semester Charges Detail

Full Time Undergraduate Student

  NC Resident Out of State
Tuition $    500.00 $  2,500.00
Required Fees** $ 2,997.40 $  2,997.40
Book Rental Fees $    161.00 $     161.00
Room (Lower Campus) $ 3,121.00 $  3,121.00
Meal Plan (Unlimited Basic + 107 DB) $ 2,247.00 $  2,247.00
TOTALS $ 9,026.40 $  11,026.40


**Fees include $ 1,392.40 for Health Insurance Fee. This fee may be waived by verifying coverage at http://studentbluenc.com/#/wcu/welcome.

Part-time Student

Undergraduate students, enrolled for 11 or fewer hours; Graduate students, enrolled for 8 or fewer hours. An additional $1,392.40 Mandatory Health Insurance Fee will be charged to all degree-seeking students enrolled for 6 or more hours.  The Mandatory Health Insurance Fee may be waived by verifying coverage at http://studentbluenc.com/#/wcu/welcome.

  Undergraduate Graduate
NC Resident Out-of-State NC Resident Out-of-State
Per Hour

$    185.26

$    351.92

$    369.12

$ 964.62

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 $  100.00
Fine Arts Major Fee $  125.00
Cooperating Teachers Stipend Course Fee $  450.00
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 tuition.wcu.edu.

Additional Miscellaneous Fees

Parking Permit- Freshman Resident                $ 410.00
Parking Permit- Sophomore Resident & Commuter        $ 410.00
Parking Permit- Junior Resident $ 410.00
Parking Permit- Senior Resident & Graduate $ 350.00
Parking Permit- Commuter $ 350.00
Motorcycle Permit $   43.00
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 $   35.00
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, $63.50; University Center Debt Fee, $12.00; Dining Facility Debt Fee, $56.50; Health Insurance, $1,392.40 (Nonrefundable. Required by degree-seeking students enrolled for at least 6 hours. May be waived by verifying coverage at http://studentbluenc.com/#/wcu/welcome

Textbooks are available to graduate students by purchase only.

Distance Learning Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees per Semester Hour                        

  NC Resident Out of State
Undergraduate $   65.81 $    232.47
Undergraduate - Emergency Medical Care $   89.46 $    256.12
Graduate $ 277.92 $    873.42
Graduate Business $ 327.92 $    973.42
Doctoral Nursing Practice $ 544.59 $ 1,140.09
Military Undergraduate* $ 65.81 $    232.47
Military Undergraduate EMC* $ 89.46 $    256.12
Military Graduate* $ 277.92 $    277.92
Military Graduate Business* $ 327.92 $    327.92


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

*For any active-duty service member enrolled in a distance learning program, or any student enrolled in a distance learning program and using Department of Defense or Veterans Administration education benefits.

Residence Halls

Standard Residence Hall - (Albright-Benton and Buchanan)  
Private Room $3,366.00
Double Room $2,397.00
Reynolds Hall  
Private Room $3,655.00
Double Room $2,880.00
Judaculla Hall  
Private Room $3,601.00
Double Room $3,137.00
Balsam/Blue Ridge Halls  
Private Room $4,118.00
Double Room $3,573.00
Private Room $3,397.00
Double Room $2,842.00
Madison Hall  
Private Room $3,825.00
Double Room $3,344.00
Private Room $3,845.00
Double Room $3,292.00
Allen Hall  
Private Room $3,928.00
Double Room $3,368.00
Norton Road Hall  
Private Room $3,669.00
Double Room $3,379.00
Harrill Hall  
Private Room $3,666.00
Double Room $3,152.00
Noble Hall  
Private Room $4,118.00
Double Room $3,573.00
Lower Campus- (“The Rocks”; BK, SK, WK)  
Private Room $3,621.00
Double Room $3,121.00


















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 account for 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/Excel/WCU2022-23TuitionBillStatement.pdf. This statement provides details on an annual basis for the UNC Board of Governors’ approved tuition and fees only. For a list and description of both the UNC Board of Governors’ and WCU’s fees, go to http://www.wcu.edu/apply/tuition-and-fees/index.aspx and choose “UNC Board of Governors and WCU’s 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 the fall semester will transfer to the spring semester for continuing students. Unused declining balance points are forfeited at the end of the 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 the fall term does not change the requirement to purchase a meal plan for the spring semester. No refunds will be issued for unused block meals or declining balance points.

Meal Plan Changes

The deadline for students to change their meal plan is the last day of the 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 the fall semester will transfer to the spring semester. Unused declining balance points at the end of the 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 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 https://westerncarolina.campusdish.com/en/. Holiday hours will also be posted several days in advance at each location and will be available on the website.

Meal Plans

Unlimited Premium ($2,621.50 per semester)
Unlimited “All-you-care-to-eat” meals + $214.00 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

Unlimited Basic ($2,247.00 per semester)
Unlimited “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $107.00 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

150 Block Plan ($1,872.50 per semester)
150 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $535.00 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

Weekly 14 ($2,086.50 per semester)
14 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals per week
+ $321.00 Declining Balance Points
(Available to all students)

80 Block Commuter ($1,294.70per semester)
80 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $588.50 Declining Balance Points

40 Block Commuter ($807.85 per semester)
40 “All-you-care-to-eat” meals
+ $428.00 Declining Balance Points

Commuter DB ($749.00 per semester)
$749.00 Declining Balance Points

**Freshmen must choose either the Unlimited Premium or Unlimited Basic.

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 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

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 the 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 the 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, was 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 $161.00 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 has 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 at the Student Accounts Office. Further information about the Book Rental Plan can be found at books.wcu.edu.

Book Rental Policy Effective Fall 2004

Rental textbooks must be returned by the day after final exams for any given semester (including Mini-Mester and Summer sessions). The bookstore recommends turning in your rental textbooks as soon as they are no longer needed. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the appropriate materials for exams and that you meet this deadline. Unreturned textbooks will be charged to your student account at the replacement cost. Textbooks returned after the deadline will be credited to your student account at 1/2 the replacement cost. Grossly mistreated books must be purchased. 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 the 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 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 the 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

Veterans Choice Act

To qualify for the in-state tuition under the Veterans Choice Act, the student must be using either Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) or Montgomery GI Bill® (Chapter 30) education benefits or MGIB-R (Chapter 1606) or Dependents Education Assistance (Chapter 35). More information on the Veterans Choice Act can be found at Military Student Services: https://www.wcu.edu/learn/academic-services/military-student-services/

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office administers programs that assist students in meeting educational costs while attending Western Carolina University. Offers are 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 the 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 2. 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 2.00 

Notification of Offers

Notification of offers, beginning with completed financial aid applications received prior to January 2, will typically begin on March 1 and will continue thereafter.

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.

Return of Title IV

Students who receive federal Title IV financial aid and withdraw from all classes-officially or unofficially-are subject to federal Return of Title IV regulations. Federal Title IV programs include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal TEACH Grant.

Official Withdrawal: A student is considered officially withdrawn when they follow the term withdrawal procedures through the Office of Student Retention. The student’s withdrawal date is the date the student initiates the official withdrawal process. The last date of attendance is the date used to calculate the Return of Title IV aid. (See Term Withdrawal under the Academic Regulations & Policies  section.)

Unofficial Withdrawal: Students who cease attendance and receive grades of Fin all classes, or a combination of Fs and any of the following grades in all classes for the semester-WF, I, IP, U, W-are considered unofficially withdrawn. The determination that a student has unofficially withdrawn is made after grades are posted at the end of the term. The withdrawal date for unofficially withdrawn students is the latest reported date of attendance or academic activity, as reported by the student’s instructor(s).

The Federal “Return of Title IV Funds” legislation requires that when a student completely withdraws on or before completing 60% of the term measured in calendar days, the amount of financial aid (federal grants and loans) earned must be calculated based on the student’s last date of attendance. Students must repay the difference between the total Return of Title IV Funds disbursed and the percentage of funds earned based on this calculation.

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, are 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.

Federal Pell Grant

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

WCU Grant

Offered to students with need.  Offers dependent on the availability of funds.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Awarded to undergraduate students, enrolled full-time, who have exceptional financial need, and who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree.  Federal Pell Grant recipients, with a 0 EFC (Expected Family Contribution), receive priority.  Offer dependent on the availability of funds.

NC Tuition Grant

Offered to undergraduate students, enrolled full-time, who have exceptional financial need, and who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree.  Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority.  Offered to NC Residents only.  Offer dependent on the availability of funds.  To establish and retain eligibility for North Carolina State grants, students must obtain and maintain North Carolina residency, as determined by the state of North Carolina. Offer amount is subject to change based on eligibility.

NC Scholarship

Offer is based on $75,000 adjusted gross income and EFC less than $8,000 (as determined by FAFSA).  Offered to NC residents only.  To establish and retain eligibility for North Carolina State grants, students must obtain and maintain North Carolina residency, as determined by the state of North Carolina.  The award amount is subject to change based on eligibility.

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).

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

You may be eligible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant if:

  • You are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) but
  • Meet the remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements, and
  • Your 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, and
  • You were under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of your parent’s or guardian’s death.

Children of Fallen Heroes Grant

You may be eligible for the Children of Fallen Heroes Grant if:

  • •You were under the age of 24 and enrolled in a higher education program at the time of a parent/guardian death
  • •Parent/guardian was 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 Management Agency (FEMA), an individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, such as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or chaplain
  • •You are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

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

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is offered 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 advances 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).

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 scholarships.wcu.edu

To be considered for these scholarships, new and continuing students must submit an 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.

Performance Scholarships

Scholarships are available to students with demonstrated talent in the fine and 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 student loan eligibility. For a full federal student loan listing, please visit https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/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 https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/federal-vs-private.

Direct PLUS Loan for Parents and Graduate/Doctoral Students

These loans provide funds to parents, graduate, and doctoral students to help meet the cost of education. You may borrow up to the cost of education 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.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/plus.


Federal Work-Study

Offered to students with need.  Students should answer ‘yes’ to the question on the FAFSA that asks, ‘Are you interested in Work Study?’ to be considered.  If a student is not awarded Federal Work Study in their financial aid package, please contact the Financial Aid Office to be placed on the waitlist.  Offer dependent on student eligibility and availability of funds.

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 (Non-Work Study)

Assistance in finding part-time opportunities on- and off-campus is offered through Human Resources and Payroll. All non-work-study job opportunities on campus and some off-campus jobs are posted with Human Resources and Payroll. Students should check the online posted vacancies in Talent Management.

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.