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NC Promise: An Innovative Approach to Affordability

Take advantage of reduced tuition - apply by Feb. 1 for Fall 2019!

At Western Carolina University, we have always been committed to providing high-quality, affordable education for anyone who wishes to pursue a degree.

Thanks to a new program from the state of North Carolina, tuition for all undergraduate students at WCU has been further reduced to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students.

The State of North Carolina is supplementing this cost by matching dollar for dollar the difference between WCU's previous tuition and the NC Promise Tuition Plan cost so that students pay less while WCU continues to deliver the highest quality education.

Who is Eligible?

All undergraduate students, including full and part-time new freshmen, returning students, transfer students, and students in online programs receive this new tuition rate. Costs for part-time students are pro-rated based on the number of hours taken. The out-of-state tuition rate applies to undergraduate international students as well. There are no eligibility requirements to take advantage of NC Promise.

Please note these changes do not apply to graduate programs

Understanding Total Cost

It is important to note that tuition only represents a portion of the cost of attendance. Residential students also pay fees as well as housing costs. Our cost of attendance fluctuates annually depending on a number of factors. The anticipated costs for 2019 will be posted as they are available at tuition.wcu.edu

Sample 2018 Per-Semester Cost for In-State, Full-Time, Residential Undergraduate Student

1) Tuition and Fees In-State $3403.88
2) Residence Hall Standard, double $2398.00
3) Meal Plan 175 AYCE Block + $579.94 DB $2127.16
4) Residential Tech Fee (students in residential living only) $    89.00
Total per semester $8018.04

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to the NC Promise Program. 

What is NC Promise?

The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan is a program of the State of North Carolina established with the intent of increasing access to a quality university education through the University of North Carolina system. Beginning Fall 2018, NC Promise reduced student costs at three UNC system campuses: Western Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Elizabeth City State University.

Undergraduate students at any of those three institutions pay only $500 for in-state and $2,500 for out-of-state tuition per semester. Through the NC Promise Program, the state of North Carolina fully supplements the cost of education to make this reduced student cost possible.

Campus-related fees for students and on-campus residency costs did not drop, so it is important for parents and students to understand the full cost of attendance.

HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO PART-TIME STUDENTS?

For the 2018-19 academic year, residential in-state part-time students pay $125 per semester for up to 5 hours, $250 per semester for 6-8 hours and $375 per semester for 9-11 hours of credits. Residential out-of-state part-time students pay $625 per semester for up to 5 hours, $1,250 per semester for 6-8 hours and $1,875 per semester for 9-11 hours of credits. This is the total semester tuition cost and does not include residential fees. 

The part-time undergraduate distance tuition rate is currently $53.88 per credit hour, not including program fees where applicable. Out-of-state distance students pay $189.02 per credit hour.

Will thE Reduced Cost expire in the student’s fourth year?

No. This student tuition cost is not limited to an 8-semester career. Another piece of legislation passed in 2016 mandates other UNC institutions to set a fixed tuition cost for 8 semesters for each student after which costs could rise. This fixed tuition plan is separate from NC Promise. Students at NC Promise institutions will pay the set NC Promise student tuition cost as long as they are enrolled (assuming no legislative changes are made to the program during the student’s academic career).

Will this cost increase over time as tuition typically does?

Because the specific amounts are included in the legislation, increases to the $500 and $2,500 student tuition costs will have to be set by the state legislature as needed in response to inflation or other factors. At this time, we do not know whether increases over time are intended or will be considered.

How will these schools offer the same education while dropping costs?

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. 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.

Why DID OUR STATE DECIDE TO CREATE THIS PLAN?

This significant investment in access to higher education honors the state’s constitutional commitment to make higher education available to all citizens “as free as is reasonably possible.” It also supports economic development in the state by helping North Carolina meet demands for a well-educated workforce, increasing recruitment of high-performing out-of-state students, and decreasing college indebtedness.

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