#10 Best Public Universities in North Carolina

Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, North Carolina

 10 Reviews



Western Carolina University overview
Location Cullowhee, North Carolina
Online wcu.edu
School Type Public 4 Year
Setting Distant Town
Western Carolina University overview
Size Mid-size
Status Non-profit
On Campus Housing Yes
Level of Study Undergrad/Graduate
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Western Carolina University is a public institution established in 1889 and is nestled in the rural mountain town of Cullowhee, North Carolina. The university lies approximately 52 miles west of Asheville, offering a picturesque campus influenced by Appalachian culture and a variety of modern and historic facilities. Known for a comprehensive range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, the institution emphasizes education in fields like emergency medical care, environmental science, forensic science, and engineering. The university provides a moderately selective application process, aligning with its commitment to academic rigor. Students at Western Carolina University can choose from campus housing options that accommodate a diverse student body. While the university competes in NCAA Division I athletics as the Catamounts, it is particularly recognized for its contributions to collegiate sports in certain areas, including football and basketball.

In the most recent statistical year 17,917 prospective students applied, and 15,201 were granted admission.  Of those admitted 1,932 enrolled in the school.  8,896 students are enrolled on a full time basis, and 2,739 attend part time. In-state tuition for 2022/2023, excluding room and board, is $1,000 plus fees of $3,453. WCU is ranked 763 nationally in the CollegeSimply.com 2024 U.S. Colleges Ranking.












WCU is rated within the lower 42% of four-year colleges nationally and earns a CollegeSimply grade of 5 out of 10. Learn how ratings are calculated


Rankings for Western Carolina University within the 2024 CollegeSimply Best Colleges Lists.

View the CollegeSimply ranking methodology.

Getting In

Admission Standards

Western Carolina University overview
SAT 1020/1240
ACT 19/26
GPA 3.44

Applications Accepted

Western Carolina University overview
Applications Due Mar 1, 2024
Applicant Competition Very Low
Application Fee $65

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Annual Cost to Attend

North Carolina Resident Tuition

In State Costs for Western Carolina University
Fee Cost
Books and Supplies$664
Other Fees$3,453
Room and Board $11,173
Budget for Other Expenses$3,051
Total One Year Cost$19,341

Out of State Resident Tuition

Out of State Costs for Western Carolina University
Fee Cost
Books and Supplies$664
Other Fees$3,453
Room and Board $11,173
Budget for Other Expenses$3,051
Total One Year Cost$23,341

Tuition and financial aid details


Average Salary After 10 Years

$39,100 per year

Bachelor's Degree Graduation Rate

50% within 6 years

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Popular Areas of Study

Popular subjects studied by Western Carolina University students
Subject Percent of Class
Education 20%
Health Professions 16%
Business 14%
Engineering Technology 8%
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting 6%

View All 65 Majors

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Students considering WCU are frequently interested in these similar colleges.

Primary data source, U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=200004 IPEDS survey data for Western Carolina University.

Current students may use the Western Carolina University GPA calculator to determine their current college GPA.