Western Carolina University


According to the school, as a campus of the University of North Carolina system, Western Carolina University provides outstanding opportunities for students in a supportive living-learning environment that encourages interaction with faculty, participation in organized community service activities and preparation for future careers. In 2008, WCU adopted a new quality enhancement plan as part of its successful effort to earn re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. The plan is a framework for helping students become engaged and intentional in their own educations by encouraging them to reflect on how their classroom experience connects to what they learn outside the classroom and how everything in their university experience connects to their career and life goals. SACS reviewers expressed enthusiastic approval for the plan and urged the university to move forward with it. At the same time, faculty adopted a new tenure policy that rewards professors for using their scholarly expertise to address the needs of the region. The policy adds a new dimension to the traditional evaluation of faculty on the quality of their teaching and research. In response to increased student enrollment and changes in academic programs, the university was restructured, creating a new College of Fine and Performing Arts and a new College of Health and Human Sciences. WCU also encompasses an Honors College; Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology; and the colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, and Education and Allied Professions. Students continue to give WCU high marks on the National Survey of Student Engagement. In nearly all measures of student engagement, WCU is above its peers. Among its first-year students, WCU performed better on all five benchmarks than its peers and was ranked significantly better than the NSSE national average on active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction and supportive campus environment. Among seniors, WCU performed significantly better than its peers and the NSSE cohort on active and collaborative learning and student-faculty interaction. In 2008, WCU opened a $16.7 million, 73,000-square-foot Campus Recreation Center. A $17.6 million dining hall will open in fall 2009, as well as the first of two adjoining residence halls, a combined $50.2 million project. In accordance with plans to develop its Millennial Initiative, a 344-acre project that doubles the size of campus, WCU is moving forward with a new $46.2 million health and gerontological sciences building. It will house educational and outreach programs as well as state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms for nursing, social work, physical therapy, athletic training, environmental health, health information administration, nutrition and dietetics, emergency medical care, recreational therapy and communication sciences and disorders. For the past four years, WCU students have ranked in the top 10 at the prestigious annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, consistently leading the way among UNC institutions. In 2009, WCU became one of only 83 institutions nationally named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Key Data

School Type: Campus
Degrees Offered:
Student Life
Enrolled Students: 9,429
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
Annual Cost
In State Tuition: $4,330
Out of State Tuition $13,927
Books and Supplies $2,006
Students with Financial aid:** 74%
  • ** Refers to % of students receiving some form of financial aid
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Western Carolina University

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