Computer Requirement for all Students

Western Carolina University strives to ensure that students have access to the highest quality education, taking maximum advantage of the changes in information and communications technologies. All newly admitted degree-seeking undergraduate students along with all readmitted students are required to have an appropriate, networkable laptop. The laptop requirement includes a software and hardware component.

Western Carolina University requires all incoming freshmen to have a laptop equipped with both Microsoft Office and an up to date anti-virus. If WCU students do not already have these programs, they can download the most recent Microsoft Office and our student antivirus for free from the university. The hardware configurations that are the industry standard for the current year for newly purchased computers are online .

More information on student computing is available online, or by calling the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487 or toll free 866-928-7487.

The WCU bookstore also stocks a number of accessories to help students meet the current laptop requirement. Please check the WCU bookstore for academic pricing on other software and component hardware. The phone number for the bookstore is (828) 227-7346. Their web address is

Purchase of Computers

Western Carolina University has designated Dell and Apple as the primary vendors for the purchase of computers. Students may purchase computers and required software from any vendor, however, it is recommended that students purchase from our selected vendors through the university-endorsed vendor websites. These computers will be pre-configured for easy connection to the university's network and will include all required hardware. Other benefits of purchasing through the university include discounted educational pricing and free hardware warranty repair on recommended configurations.

For more information on our recommended Apple and Dell laptops, stop by the Technology Commons on the ground floor of the Hunter Library. Here you can see the latest models from Apple and Dell, try them out first hand, and purchase your new laptop immediately online.

Student and Personal Computer Purchases

Learn more about how Financial Aid may be able to assist with the cost of a student computer.

Students who already own a laptop

Students who already own a laptop may not need to purchase one. Most computers running a current version of Windows or Macintosh computers running system OS X or higher should connect to the university's network with an appropriate network interface card or wireless access. Systems must be capable of connecting to Western's network and utilize a WCU-supported OS and a supported version of Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is available to all students as a free download. Systems having less than our recommended minimum specification will not perform satisfactorily or meet WCU's computer requirement. Due to limitations, Windows XP Home Edition is NOT supported.

Network & Internet connectivity

Students living on campus access the Internet via WCU's high-speed network by using the Ethernet ports in their room. Parts of the campus also have wireless capabilities for internet access. Students living off-campus are required to obtain appropriate connectivity through an external Internet Service Provider (ISP) to access the various university computing resources. In our area, broadband access is available from Morris Broadband via cable TV, and DSL is available from Frontier Communications. If these are not available, a satellite provider such as HughesNet, WildBlue, Dish Network or Starband should be able to get broadband to your area.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information about WCU's computer requirement or on student computing at WCU, please visit our website,, or call the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487 (toll free 866-928-7487). The computer requirement is an integral part of the educational experience at Western Carolina University. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in sanctions to the student up to and including expulsion from the university.

Last Updated: June 5, 2017

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