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Colleges / Western Carolina University

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is a public, state school in a rural setting in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Western Carolina University was founded in 1889 and now enrolls around 12,243 students a year, including 10,517 undergrads. Western Carolina University offers on-campus housing for students.

There are many ways for students to get involved at Western Carolina University! Love music or performing? Join a campus band, sing in a chorus, or perform with one of Western Carolina University's theater groups.

Interested in journalism or communications? Western Carolina University students can write for the campus newspaper, host a radio show or be a producer for the student-run television channel.

Thinking of pledging? Western Carolina University has fraternities and sororities.

Planning to play sports? Western Carolina University has many options for athletes. See them all and learn more about life at Western Carolina University on the Student Life page.

Learn more about life at Western Carolina University on the Student Life page.

Mark your calendar! The final application deadline for Fall 2022 is March 1.

2021 Western Carolina University Facts At-A-Glance
Academic Calendar Semester
Overall Acceptance Rate 48%
Average GPA 3.5
Applicants Submitting SAT scores 47%
In-State Tuition $6,984
Out-of-State $10,984
Percent of Need Met 70%
Average First-Year Financial Aid Package $10,672

Is Western Carolina University a Good School?

There is no one way to define a "good" college or university. Admissions criteria, acceptance rate and average GPA are good indicators of how competitive an institution is, but they don't tell you how happy or successful students are. However, there are a few good ways to get a better sense how satisfied students are and how well a school supports its student body.

Let's take a look at to get a clearer idea of what Western Carolina University offers and if it might be a good choice for you.

2021 Acceptance Rate for Western Carolina University

It is moderately difficult to get into Western Carolina University. The acceptance rate at Western Carolina University is 48%. Last year, 15,034 students applied to Western Carolina University and 7,282 were admitted.

Retention and Graduation Rates at Western Carolina University

Retention is the number of students that stay enrolled at a school over time. This is a way to get a sense of how satisfied students are with their school experience, and if they have the support necessary to succeed in college.

About 81% of students who start at Western Carolina University come back the next year. Around 64% of students who started at Western Carolina University earn their Bachelor's degrees within six years. Compare this to the average six-year graduation rate for colleges and universities in the U.S., which is around 61% for public schools and 67% for private.

Job Outlook Western Carolina University Graduates

Job placement rates after graduation and average starting salaries can all give important clues about the value of a degree from a specific school.

Western Carolina University's Endowment

An endowment is the total value of a school's investments, donations, and assets. Endowment is not necessarily an indicator of the quality of a school, but it can give you a sense of how much money a college can afford to invest in expanding programs, improving facilities, and support students. Western Carolina University's endowment was valued at $90.6 million in 2021, compared to a national average of $905 million.

Tuition and Financial Aid at Western Carolina University

Cost is another important factor when choose a college. Some colleges may have high tuition, but do a better job at meeting students' financial need. Western Carolina University meets 70% of the demonstrated financial need for undergraduates. First-year students that attend Western Carolina University full-time are awarded $10,672 a year in financial aid, on average.

Students in the class of 2021 who had taken out student loans graduated with an average of $35,280 of debt. For context, compare this number with the average national debt, which is around $36,000 per borrower.

The 2022-2023 FAFSA Opened on October 1st, 2021

Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so fill out the FAFSA asap. Visit the FAFSA website to apply for student aid. Remember, the first F in FAFSA stands for FREE! You should never have to pay to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), so be very wary of anyone asking you for money.

Learn more about Tuition and Financial Aid at Western Carolina University. Based on this information, how does Western Carolina University sound? Remember, the best school for one person may be a terrible fit for another! So ask yourself: Is Western Carolina University a good school for you?

If Western Carolina University seems like a school you want to apply to, click the heart button to save it to your college list.

Still Looking for Schools?

To learn more about Western Carolina University, choose from the options below:


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Tuition & Aid

Western Carolina University Community Forums

Then use the college admissions predictor to take a data science look at your chances of getting admitted to some of the best schools in the U.S.

Where is Western Carolina University?

Western Carolina University is located in the rural setting of Cullowhee, North Carolina.

If you want to see Western Carolina University for yourself, plan a visit. The best way to reach campus is to take Interstate 40 to Cullowhee, or book a flight to the nearest airport, Asheville Regional.

You can also take a virtual campus tour to get a sense of what Western Carolina University and Cullowhee are like without leaving home.

Considering Colleges and Universities in North Carolina?

See a full list of colleges in North Carolina and save your favorites to your college list.

College Info

1 University Way Cullowhee, NC 28723

Campus Setting: Rural

Western Carolina University Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Mar 1

Transfer Applications are Due

Jun 1

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to Western Carolina University is Mar 1.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to Western Carolina University is Jun 1.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs


Wondering what your chances are of getting into Western Carolina University?

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Western Carolina University ACT Scores


ACT Range

20 - 25

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

ACT Score

Estimated Chance

25 and Above


20 to 25


20 and Less


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Western Carolina University SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

1030 - 1210


Math SAT Range

510 - 590


Reading SAT Range

510 - 620

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Western Carolina University Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fees


In State


Cost Breakdown
In State
State Tuition

Student Life

Wondering what life at Western Carolina University is like? There are approximately 12,243 students enrolled at Western Carolina University, including 10,517 undergraduate students and 1,726 graduate students. 83% percent of students attend school full-time, 88% percent are from NC and 12% percent of students are from other states.


Full Time


Part Time


In State



© 2021 College Confidential / Concentrical LLC, Data provided by IPEDs and Peterson's Databases, © 2020 Peterson's LLC.

Quick Facts

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Tuition and Fees

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Fall Freshmen
Application Deadline

Mar 1
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