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NC Promise: Use Your Advantage

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


 The State of North Carolina established the NC Promise Tuition Plan to increase access to a quality university education by reducing student costs.

Through NC Promise, tuition for all undergraduate students at WCU has been reduced to $500 per fall and spring semesters for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students. Summer semester students will be charged the NC Promise per-credit hour rates.

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.

Who is Eligible?

There are no eligibility requirements to take advantage of NC Promise.

All undergraduate students, including full and part-time new freshmen, returning students, transfer students, and students in online programs, receive 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.

Please note these changes do not apply to graduate programs.

Freshmen Application

Transfer Application

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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 each academic year will be posted as they are available at

Sample Per-Semester Cost

Costs for 2024-2025 In-State, Full-Time, Residential, Undergraduate Student

1) Tuition In-State $500.00
2) Fees   $1,815.00
3) Residence Hall Amenities & Rates Vary by Hall $3,121.00 - $3,573
4) Meal Plan Unlimited Basic $2,391.00
5) Residential Tech Fee (students in residential living only) $    89.00
Total per semester $7,916.00 - $8,368

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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. NC Promise reduced 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.

Undergraduate students at any of those four institutions pay only $500 for in-state and $2,500 for out-of-state tuition per fall, spring, and summer semesters. 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.

For the 2024-25 academic year, residential in-state part-time students pay $41.67 per credit hour. Residential out-of-state part-time students pay $208.33 per credit hour. This is the per credit hour tuition cost and does not include residential fees. Part time undergraduate distance students pay the same per credit hour rates as listed above.

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).

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.

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.

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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