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For North Carolina high school students, applying early to WCU can really pay off

A new pilot program at Western Carolina University called Catamount Commitment will provide new first-year students from North Carolina with varying levels of annual award money based on their high school GPA. 

“The Catamount Commitment program has the potential to be a huge game changer for WCU and incoming students regarding affordability," said Chancellor Kelli R. Brown. "It will be one extra step to help alleviate some of the financial burden students face. I am proud that we as a university can make a program like this happen and I’m tremendously excited for all the good it will do.” 

Those with a 4.00 or higher GPA can earn a $3,000 annual award; 3.80-3.99 can earn $2,000 annually; 3.65-3.79 can earn $1,500 annually; and those who gain admission and have a GPA up to 3.64 can earn $1,000 annually. 

The awards are renewable for four years toward fall and spring semester cost of attendance and students can still earn other named or external scholarships. Catamount Commitment students who graduate from WCU in less than four years can apply unused semester awards toward any WCU graduate school program.

In addition to Catamount Commitment, all undergraduate students benefit from NC Promise (, which reduces tuition to $500 per semester for North Carolina residents and $2,500 per semester for nonresidents.

Students must apply for admission to WCU by Jan. 2, 2023, earn admission and meet all terms and conditions found at In addition, WCU is waiving the application fee for all 2023 entry terms. 

“Catamount Commitment is for the truly committed North Carolina high school student who wants to Live Western this coming fall,” said Mike Langford, director of WCU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “This pilot program rewards North Carolina high school students who apply early, have done what it takes in high school to earn admission and commit to excelling here at WCU. This program looks to honor our commitment to achievement, access and affordability. Open House ( is a great time to talk with us about this exciting opportunity.” 

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