Formerly Executive Memorandum 78-39
Initially approved March 1, 1978
Revised: February 24, 1998
Revised: August 18, 2014
Revised: October 10, 2016
Policy Topic: Academic Affairs
Administering Office: Financial Aid - University Scholarships
I. POLICY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Western Carolina University ("WCU") to: (i) establish scholarships
in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies; (ii) award and administer
the disbursement of funds for student scholarships and other types of financial aid
in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and donor intention as
reflected in donor/gift agreements; and (iii) disburse student scholarships and other
types of financial aid in the most effective and efficient manner for the benefit
of eligible students.
II. SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF POLICY
This policy applies to all scholarships, except athletic scholarships, established
for the benefit of WCU students or its employees and their families that are administered
by WCU, the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of Western Carolina University
(the "Endowment Fund") or the Western Carolina University Foundation (the "Foundation").
"assistantship" means a type of educational employment opportunity for graduate students based on
outstanding academic achievement, performance or accomplishment. Generally, recipients
receive monthly stipends for assignments in teaching, research, or professional development
duties for no more than twenty (20) hours per week.
"award" or "recognition award" means monetary acknowledgement (e.g., prize) for recognition purposes that is not
categorized as financial aid for University education expenses. Awards may be paid
from discretionary departmental accounts or endowed funds as defined by donor gift
"award year" or "aid year" means the time period for which financial aid is available to defray the expenses
of university education. The award year follows an academic year beginning with the
"awarding authority" means the college, academic department or other awarding unit of the university charged
with the responsibility to make recommendations to the university scholarship committee
"cost of attendance" or "COA" or "cost of education" or "financial aid budget" means the university's reasonable estimate of the student's educational expenses
for one (1) academic year, including tuition, fees, housing, meal plan, transportation,
personal expenses, books, supplies, and other related costs (direct or indirect costs).
"degree credible" means courses or credits required for degree completion.
"expected family contribution" or "EFC" means the amount of financial support a student's family is expected to contribute
to post-secondary education expenses. The EFC is determined by the federal methodology
needs analysis formula utilizing information provided on a student's Free Application
for Federal Student Aid ("FAFSA").
"fellowship" means a financial resource typically awarded to graduate students based on outstanding
academic achievement, performance or accomplishment. Fellowships generally do not
have to be repaid and are intended to defray the expenses of university education.
"financial aid" means monetary support, including grants, scholarships, loans and work study funds,
available to students and families to defray the expenses of university education.
Financial aid may be provided from federal, state, university, and other sources.
"financial need" or "need" means the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution
(sometime referred to as the "EFC"). Financial need may be synonymous with the term
"financial worthiness" as reflected in certain donor agreements.
"financial resource" means any monetary support a student receives related to and as a result of his/her
enrollment in the university.
"good academic standing" means that both the qualitative (i.e., GPA) and quantitative (i.e., completion percentage
of credit hours) components necessary for degree completion are being met.
"merit" generally means demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, performance, professional
attainment or accomplishment, and may be further defined by colleges, academic departments,
donor agreements, and regulations.
"outside scholarship" means any scholarship from a source other than WCU, the Endowment Fund or the Foundation.
"satisfactory academic progress" is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for
financial aid. WCU must establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor progress
toward completion of a degree program, including qualitative and quantitative standards,
and maximum timeframe requirements.
"scholarship" means a financial resource awarded to students based on outstanding academic achievement,
performance, accomplishment or other factors established in donor/gift agreements
with WCU. Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid and are intended to defray
the expenses of university education.
IV. ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOLARSHIPS
A. General Principles
The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is responsible for receiving gifts to
WCU/the Endowment Fund and the Foundation for the establishment of scholarships, and
for developing unit-specific procedures and guidelines consistent with and in furtherance
of the policy statement in Section I above.
Monetary gifts will be accepted for endowed, annual or one-time scholarships that
are awarded through a competitive application process; gifts will not be accepted
for direct payments to specific students.
Generally, scholarships are open to every student, but some scholarships may place
an emphasis on certain students such as underrepresented, low-income or first-generation
college students, as provided in Section IV.B.2 below.
Individuals who wish to establish an endowed or annual scholarship must enter into
a donor agreement with WCU/the Endowment Fund or the Foundation, as the case may be.
The donor agreement will provide that WCU shall maintain ultimate control over the
scholarship application and award process, among other things. Modifications to scholarship
criteria or purposes must be made in writing by the donor and an authorized representative
of the Foundation or WCU/the Endowment Fund.
Award amounts for endowed scholarships will be determined annually in accordance with
the WCU/the Endowment Fund or Foundation spending policies.
Reports verifying fund value and scholarship recipient names will be provided to donors
on an annual basis following the end of the university fiscal year.
B. University Guidelines on Scholarship Preferences
1. Discriminatory Scholarships
WCU is committed to the policy of equal employment and educational opportunities for
all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, age,
gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability
or military veteran status. WCU recognizes the educational benefits of diversity,
which in addition to the factors and classes listed above includes factors such as
geographic diversity, cultural and linguistic diversity, family educational attainment,
and social background.
Potential donors who wish to establish a scholarship that is closed to some students
based upon the factors and classes listed above will be advised that WCU will not
establish that scholarship in compliance with federal laws pertaining to non-discrimination
(e.g., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments
of 1972). In the event a donor alternatively chooses to establish a private scholarship,
neither WCU/the Endowment Fund nor the Foundation may provide resources to or participate
in the administration of the scholarship or provide any funds to supplement that scholarship's
distributable income (the university may elect, however, to provide scholarship applications
to students, return completed applications back to the donor, and apply scholarship
awards toward the student's charges).
2. Scholarship Preferences
In some instances, potential donors may wish to establish preferences for certain
students based on a variety of factors, including factors and classes listed above.
While donors are not encouraged to establish preference scholarships, WCU/the Endowment
Fund and the Foundation may accept such gifts and administer the scholarship in accordance
with the applicable policies and guidelines developed by the Office of Development
and Alumni Affairs.
V. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A. Director of University Scholarships
The Director of University Scholarships is responsible for overseeing the administration
of university scholarships. In discharging these responsibilities, the Director of
University Scholarships shall work closely with the groups and individuals listed
in this Section V and work within the procedural framework prescribed by this policy.
Detailed procedures pertaining to the administration of scholarships shall be developed
by the Director of University Scholarships and published in the Western Carolina University
Scholarship Manual ("Scholarship Manual"). Procedures shall include, without limitation,
application procedures, selection/award procedures, award guidelines for colleges
and departments, and financial and student account procedures.
B. Scholarship Advisory Council
The Scholarship Advisory Council (the "SAC") is hereby established as a standing body
with policy-making and advisory responsibilities delegated by the Chancellor. The
SAC shall have the authority and responsibility for the development of policies and
procedures related to the application and selection process for university scholarships.
In discharging this responsibility, the SAC shall assist the Director of University
Scholarships with the development and oversight of the administration of policies
and procedures that: (i) ensure WCU scholarships are awarded consistent with fair
and equitable processes open to all eligible students; and (ii) ensure maximum utilization
of available scholarship funds necessary to recruit and retain students by aligning
the award process with the formation of financial aid packages.
The SAC is comprised of the following members:
Director of University Scholarships, who shall serve as chair;
Provost or designee;
Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Engagement or designee;
Dean of the Graduate School;
Dean of the Honors College;
Director of Financial Aid;
Director of Student Recruitment and Transitions; and
C. Resource Allocation Committee
The Resource Allocation Committee (the "RAC") is established as a standing body with
decision-making authority regarding the allocation of resources within the Academic
Scholarship Fund (Fund #221000) and any other university supported general scholarship
fund. Proceeds from the Foundation, the Endowment Fund, and university auxiliary services
and other operations provide primary support for Honors College scholarships and several
of the Graduate School assistance programs.
The RAC is comprised of the following members:
Chancellor, who shall serve as chair;
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs;
Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Engagement;
Director of Student Recruitment and Transitions;
Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance; and
Director of University Scholarships
D. University Scholarship Committee
The University Scholarship Committee ("USC") is established as a standing body that
is responsible for reviewing university scholarship applications and selecting award
recipients. This committee shall also review recommendations for scholarship recipients
from colleges, academic departments, and external recommendation committees and select
The USC is comprised of the following members:
Director of University Scholarships, who shall serve as the chair, without vote;
A representative from Financial Aid appointed by the Director of Financial Aid;
A representative from Undergraduate Admissions appointed by the Staff Coordinator;
A representative from Student Leadership and Involvement appointed by the Director
of the University Center;
A representative from Development and Alumni Engagement appointed by the Vice Chancellor
for Development and Alumni Engagement;
Director of Service Learning or designee;
Director of Cherokee Center;
Director of First Year Experience or designee;
A representative from the Foundation Board of Directors appointed by the Chancellor;
Dean of the Honors College or designee;
Dean of the Graduate School or designee;
A faculty representative from the College of Arts and Sciences appointed by the Dean;
A faculty representative from the College of Business appointed by the Dean;
A faculty representative from the College of Education and Allied Professions appointed
by the Dean;
A faculty representative from the College of Fine and Performing Arts appointed by
A faculty representative from the College of Health and Human Sciences appointed by
A faculty representative from the Kimmel School appointed by the Dean; and
Additional members appointed by the Director of University Scholarships and/or the
deans as may be necessary to ensure full and timely review of all applications in
any given review cycle.
E. College and Department Committees
Every college, academic department, and other awarding unit of the university that
is responsible for making recommendations pertaining to endowed scholarships and recognition
awards shall establish a scholarship committee in accordance with college, department
or unit procedures.
VI. ADMINISTRATION OF SCHOLARSHIPS
A. Awarding Scholarships
1. General Principles
WCU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion,
sex, age, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation,
disability or military veteran status in the process of awarding scholarships. Scholarships
are awarded through a competitive application process. More information pertaining
to the application process and a comprehensive list of available scholarships, including
specific award criteria, may be found at: https://www.wcu.edu/apply/scholarships/index.asp
Students may not receive scholarship funds in excess of the cost of attendance.
2. Eligibility and Prerequisites
All enrolled students and students who have applied for admission to the university
are eligible to apply for scholarships; however, only students who have been offered
admission to the university prior to the scholarship application deadline are eligible
for consideration. Students must be enrolled in at least three (3) hours of WCU degree
credible coursework in order to receive scholarship funds for that period of enrollment.
All admitted freshmen and transfer students will be considered for academic scholarships
based on credentials submitted during the admission process, and all admitted graduate
students will be considered for fellowships and scholarships in accordance with Graduate
Students must submit the FAFSA by the priority filing deadline in order to be considered
for need-based scholarships. More information may be found at: https://fafsa.ed.gov/index.htm
3. Selection of Recipients
Final decisions regarding scholarship awards are made by the USC in accordance with
the procedures detailed in the Scholarship Manual. The USC may receive recommendations
from an awarding authority; provided however, in the event that the awarding authority
does not recommend awarding all available scholarship funds, the USC or the Director
of University Scholarships has the authority, in their sole discretion, to award all
As student recruitment and retention are key components of the university's strategic
plan, all students should be notified of scholarship awards prior to the fall semester
billing period. Unless otherwise specified in the donor gift agreement, awarding
authorities should submit recommendations to the USC prior to June 30 for undergraduate
student awards and August 1 for graduate student awards. In the event that recommendations
are not received by these dates, the USC or the Director of University Scholarships
has the authority, in their sole discretion to select recipients. In cases where
awarding authorities fail to submit recommendations by the specified dates for three
consecutive years, future selection for the impacted scholarships will be made by
the USC in accordance with their selection process.
B. Disbursement of Scholarship Funds and Recognition Awards
All awarded scholarships must be reported to the Financial Aid Office. Scholarship
funds are disbursed in accordance with the Financial Aid Office policies and procedures.
Recognition awards that include a cash prize made by colleges and/or academic departments
must be reported to the Financial Aid Office for purposes of compliance with federal
financial aid regulations. Any funds received by the student as a result of post-secondary
enrollment, including recognition awards, are considered to be a "financial resource"
and are required to be accounted for under federal financial aid regulations (funds
received as compensation for any type of employment resulting in the generation of
a W-2 are excluded).
C. Terminating Scholarships and Appeals
The records of scholarship recipients will be reviewed each semester to confirm that
the recipient meets the requirements for enrollment and the qualitative and quantitative
components necessary for degree completion. Scholarships may be terminated based upon
a recipient's failure to meet any one (1) or more of these requirements.
The Director of University Scholarships shall provide written notice of termination
to an affected student, which shall be delivered to the student via his/her official
university email address. The notice of termination shall specify the reasons for
termination, which may include the cause(s) specified above.
Upon receipt of the notice of termination, the student shall have seven (7) calendar
days from the date of the notice within which to request an appeal of the university's decision. All appeals must
be in writing, and the written appeal shall include the following information:
1. A personal statement describing the reasons or extenuating circumstances that merit
a review of the student's scholarship eligibility. The statement may include information
concerning personal problems, events or circumstances that had a negative impact on
the student's academic performance.
2. Copies of written letters of support and/or other documents that substantiate the
personal statement, if applicable and available. Documentation provided must include
the name, signature, and contact information of the person preparing the document.
Written appeals, along with substantiating documentation, must be submitted to the
Director of University Scholarships, Office of Financial Aid, Western Carolina University,
118 Killian Annex, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723; or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The SAC shall promptly review written appeals and decisions shall be communicated
to the student in writing by the Director of University Scholarships within three
(3) calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of SAC shall be final.
VII. POLICY REVIEW
This Policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary at least every four (4) years.
VIII. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES
Financial Aid Office: 118 Killian Annex
(828) 227-7042 (fax)
University Scholarships: 118 Killian Annex
(828) 227-7042 (fax)
ScholarCat: under construction
WCU Scholarship Manual: under construction
Office of Development and Alumni Affairs: https://www.wcu.edu/giving-to-wcu/index.asp