Western Carolina University is a mid-sized, public, higher learning institution founded in 1889 as a school for teaching children between the ages of 6 and 20. By 1925, the school had evolved into a junior college and in 1929 it became a four-year college. Today, the school has a wide array of degree programs to cater to the needs of its more than 12,000 students. The student population consists of program participants from all over the world, and over 85% of students are enrolled in undergraduate programs.
Overview of Western Carolina University
The school’s teaching programs remain one of the core places to get degrees and professional development for existing teachers in the community, region, and country. In fact, the school has been a recipient of a $200,000 grant to support such initiatives. A number of dedicated buildings and efforts have been made to support the diversity of the university through African American and Cherokee Indian financial and academic endeavors.
Two campus locations are available, as well as online learning opportunities. Students can choose between the primary campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina, centered in the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, as well as an Asheville location. Over 115 majors and concentrations exist alongside 40 advanced degree programs in high-demand educational areas including business, the arts, education, science, engineering, and humanities. It’s also possible for students to participate in 16 collegiate athletic teams and a variety of clubs and organizations.
|Campus Setting||Town: Distant|
|Student Faculty Ratio||17 to 1|
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|High School GPA||Required|
|High School Rank||Recommended|
|High School Transcripts||Required|
|College Prep Courses||Required|
|Recommendations||Considered But Not Required|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||Required|
|Application Deadline||March 1|
|Common Application Accepted||No|
Tuition Cost & Financial Aid
Since 2018, WCU has participated in the NC Promise Program. This program and its three state university participants lowered the cost of in-state tuition to $500 each semester for each undergraduate student. Out-of-state residents can also benefit from the program by only having to pay $2,500 each semester. While the price tags have been slashed, at least 83% of students still take advantage of financial aid to some extent. As a result, the net price average is $12,965.
Students can expect to pay another $13,000 or so for standard living expenses and additional coursework fees, including room and board, books, and supplies. Western Carolina University also offers a wide array of scholarships and tuition assistance. The school has a number of programs dedicated to veterans as a way to lower overall higher education expenses and work-study programs are widely available to all students to provide career experience and income for daily expenses.
|Average net price||2018-2019|
|Average Total Aid||$5,376|
|Students Receiving Financial Aid||85%|
|Room & Board||$10,725|
- Tuition In-State - $4,277
- Tuition Out-of-State - $8,277
- Books and Supplies - $1,059
- Room & Board - $10,725
- Other - $2,679
WCU is committed to applied learning and hands-on experience in all of its colleges and programs to provide greater opportunities upon graduation. Additional advantages exist in small class sizes of less than 30 students in nearly 65% of courses and an honors college is available for students who perform exceptionally well in their traditional coursework. All students will have access to research centers and academic support to aid in the overall academic experience.
Students can select from undergraduate, graduate, and multiple online programs in areas of study including business, education and allied professions, fine and performing arts, health and human sciences, engineering and technology, and more. Many programs are nationally recognized such as those of emergency management, nursing, project management, natural resources conservation, entrepreneurship, education, forensic science, and engineering. It’s commonplace for programs in each college to provide interdisciplinary opportunities to maximize student desirability to employers upon degree completion.
The school has a solid retention rate of 78% and the four-year and six-year graduation rates are at 43% and 62%, respectively. Graduation rates are around the national average. This could be due to the fact, in part, that the school supports students and academic programs sufficiently.
Student Population Total
Most Popular Programs & Majors
(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)
|All Business Majors||449 Total Graduates / 21%|
|Business Administration and Management, General||183 Graduates|
|Marketing/Marketing Management, General||72 Graduates|
|Finance, General||49 Graduates|
|Marketing, Other||37 Graduates|
|Health Professions and Related Programs||391 Total Graduates / 18%|
|Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse||192 Graduates|
|Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic)||53 Graduates|
|Communication Sciences and Disorders, General||50 Graduates|
|Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy||35 Graduates|
|All Education Majors||207 Total Graduates / 10%|
|Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching||61 Graduates|
|Elementary Education and Teaching||45 Graduates|
|Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching||44 Graduates|
|Special Education and Teaching, General||17 Graduates|
|Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services||119 Total Graduates / 6%|
|Criminal Justice/Safety Studies||119 Graduates|
|Visual and Performing Arts||110 Total Graduates / 5%|
|Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General||31 Graduates|
|Fine/Studio Arts, General||25 Graduates|
|Music Performance, General||20 Graduates|
|Interior Design||19 Graduates|
|All Other Diplomas||40%|
Outcome & Salary
As a way to improve job placement for recent graduates, WCU offers a Center for Career and Professional Development. This center has specialized services for students, alumni, employers, and more. The students and alumni can take advantage of several career resources, activities, events, and tools including grad school prep, signature programs, internships, networking, job opportunities, and more. Students can also use the center to find on and off-campus jobs during degree programs.
Employers also have a number of opportunities to connect with WCU students and alumni. They can participate in career fairs and post jobs for both part-time student jobs and full-time positions. These employers help provide feedback to students regarding the most important skills and attributes in today’s workforce.
|College Grads Early Career Salary||$46,000|
|College Grads Average Salary||$58,940|
|College Grads Mid Career Salary||$78,800|
|Return on Investment (ROI)|
|10 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$589,400|
|20 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$1,377,400|
|Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year||$51,860|
|10 Year Projected ROI||$537,540|
|20 Year Projected ROI||$1,325,540|
|No College Education Salary Comparison|
|National Average Salary||$38,792|
|10 Year Projected Income||$387,920|
|20 Year Projected Income||$775,840|
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