Western Carolina University will award approximately $3.775 million in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF III) to students this summer. WCU is allocating the funds immediately to be utilized toward student success initiatives, including waivers for tuition for all eligible undergraduate students enrolled in any summer session term. The waivers do not include fees.
Also included in the allocation is nearly $407,000 to support the summer 2021 Academic Success Program and Catamount Gap programs. Program costs that are covered include tuition, fees, residential living (housing), and meal plan costs.
“With these funding opportunities, we’re able to continue our commitment to this region while providing accessible and affordable higher education to all students,” said Kelli R. Brown, WCU chancellor. “We understand the many challenges our students experience to obtain an education, even more so during a global pandemic, and we strive to eliminate the financial barriers so that our students are able to achieve their academic and professional goals.”
Eligible students who have already paid their summer tuition will be refunded beginning July 6. If summer tuition was paid by financial aid from a student, private or parent loan, the amount of the general grant will be returned to the lender for debt reduction.
The university is exploring the possibility of offering block grants to eligible students from HEERF III funds early in the fall semester. If students have not already done so, they are encouraged to complete the 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
WCU is planning a return to normal fall semester with in-person classes, homecoming activities, concerts, Freshman Run, sporting events, Pride of the Mountains Marching Band performances, Family Weekend, and more. The beginning of the fall semester will also mark the grand opening of the new Apodaca Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility to help further prepare students for careers in natural sciences, health sciences and more. Residential Living is planning a return to full occupancy with common area gathering spots, and all buildings and facilities, including dining operations, the library, and the recreation center plan a return to normal hours and increased capacity.