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Western Carolina University Data & Information Overview

442 awards Ranking Badges
Great Price Value for Your Money
79% Acceptance Rate
Find out more about how Western Carolina University ranks, how diverse it is, what majors it offers, and other essential facts below.
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How Well Is Western Carolina University Ranked?

#859 Best Colleges in Nation
#17 Best Colleges in NC
Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) Highest Ranked Major
Value Badge

2024 Rankings

In its yearly rankings, College Factual analyzes over 2,000 colleges and universities to determine which ones are the best in a variety of categories, such as overall value, quality, diversity, which schools are the best for each major, and much more.

Western Carolina University was awarded 442 badges in the 2024 rankings. The highest ranked major at the school is emergency medical technology/technician (emt paramedic).

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Overall Quality

WCU is ranked #859 out of 2,217 schools in the nation for overall quality on College Factual's 2024 Best Colleges list.

WCU is also ranked #17 out of 93 schools in North Carolina.

See all of the rankings for Western Carolina University.

Is It Hard to Get Into WCU?

79% Acceptance Rate
62% Of Accepted Are Women
12% Submit SAT Scores

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate at Western Carolina University is 79%. That's higher than the rate at many schools, but still low enough to be considered somewhat selective. If you want to get in, you'll need good grades and to be able to show that WCU is a good fit for you.

Average Test Scores

About 12% of students accepted to WCU submitted their SAT scores. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores ranged between 540 and 620. Math scores were between 520 and 610.

SAT Reading and Writing Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 540 to 620 )

SAT Math Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 520 to 610 )
WCU received ACT scores from 43% of accepted students. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, ACT Composite scores ranged between 19 and 25.

ACT Composite Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 19 to 25 )

Learn more about Western Carolina University admissions.

Western Carolina University Faculty

15 to 1 Student to Faculty
72% Full Time Teachers

Student to Faculty Ratio

The student to faculty ratio is often used to estimate how much interaction there is between professors and their students at a college or university. At Western Carolina University, this ratio is 15 to 1, which is on par with the national average of 15 to 1. That's not bad at all.

Percent of Full-Time Faculty

When estimating how much access students will have to their teachers, some people like to look at what percentage of faculty members are full time. This is because part-time teachers may not have as much time to spend on campus as their full-time counterparts.

The full-time faculty percentage at Western Carolina University is 72%. This is higher than the national average of 47%.

Full-Time Faculty Percent  72 out of 100

Retention and Graduation Rates at Western Carolina University

75% Freshmen Retention
43% On-Time Graduation Rate

Freshmen Retention Rate

Western Carolina University has a freshmen retention rate of 75%. That's a good sign that full-time students like the school and their professors enough to want to stick around for another year. It's also a sign that the admissions team did a good job in choosing applicants who were a good fit for the school.

Freshmen Retention Rate  75 out of 100

Graduation Rate

Students are considered to have graduated on time if they finish their studies within four years. At WCU the on-time graduation rate of first-time, full-time students is 43%. That is great when compared to the national average of 33.3%

On-Time Graduation Rate  43 out of 100

Find out more about the retention and graduation rates at Western Carolina University.

Western Carolina University Undergraduate Student Diversity

8,760 Full-Time Undergraduates
18.9% Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
54.6% Percent Women

During the 2017-2018 academic year, there were 10,517 undergraduates at WCU with 8,760 being full-time and 1,757 being part-time.

How Much Does Western Carolina University Cost?

$13,924 Net Price
57% Take Out Loans
$24,968 Total Student Loans
The overall average net price of WCU is $13,924. The affordability of the school largely depends on your financial need since net price varies by income group. See the table below for the net price for different income groups.

Net Price by Income Group for WCU

$0-30 K $30K-48K $48-75 $75-110K $110K +
$9,305 $11,625 $14,701 $17,042 $17,857

The net price is calculated by adding tuition, room, board and other costs and subtracting financial aid.Note that the net price is typically less than the published for a school. For more information on the sticker price of WCU, see our tuition and fees and room and board pages.

Student Loan Debt

While almost two-thirds of students nationwide take out loans to pay for college, the percentage may be quite different for the school you plan on attending. At WCU, approximately 57% of students took out student loans averaging $6,242 a year. That adds up to $24,968 over four years for those students.

The student loan default rate at WCU is 5.2%. This is significantly lower than the national default rate of 10.1%, which is a good sign that you'll be able to pay back your student loans.

Get more details about paying for Western Carolina University.

How Much Money Do WCU Graduates Make?

$43,366 Avg Salary of Grads
Average Earnings Boost
Yearly salaries vary depending on what you major in, but on average, bachelor's degree recipients from WCU make around $43,366 per year during the early years of their employment. This is right on par with the average college graduate's salary of $42,485 per year. Also, graduates in your major field may make more.


See which majors at Western Carolina University make the most money.

Location of Western Carolina University

North Carolina State
8,760 Full-Time Undergraduates
Town Campus Setting
Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, Western Carolina University is a public institution. The charming, small-town atmosphere of Cullowhee draws many to the area.

Get more details about the location of Western Carolina University.


Contact details for WCU are given below.

Contact Details
Address: Highway 107, Cullowhee, NC 28723-9646
Phone: 828-227-7100

Western Carolina University Majors

59 Majors With Completions
2,540 Undergraduate Degrees
555 Graduate Degrees
During the most recent year for which we have data, students from 59 majors graduated from Western Carolina University. Of these students, 2,540 received undergraduate degrees and 555 graduated with a master's or doctor's degree. The following table lists the most popular undergraduate majors along with the average salary graduates from those majors make.

Most Popular Majors Bachelor’s Degrees Average Salary of Graduates
Business Administration & Management 242 $33,951
Nursing 167 $58,362
Criminal Justice & Corrections 157 $35,154
General Psychology 120 $23,472
Marketing 119 $33,207
Teacher Education Grade Specific 106 $34,526
Allied Health Professions 103 $47,032
General Biology 97 $24,606
Philosophy 84 NA
Public Administration 76 $55,712

Learn more about the majors offered at Western Carolina University along with which ones have the highest average starting salaries.

Online Learning at WCU

54% Take At Least One Class Online
24% Take All Classes Online

Online courses area a great option for busy, working students as well as for those who have scheduling conflicts and want to study on their own time. As time goes by, expect to see more and more online learning options become available.

In 2020-2021, 6,388 students took at least one online class at Western Carolina University. This is a decrease from the 9,903 students who took online classes the previous year.

Year Took at Least One Online Class Took All Classes Online
2020-2021 6,388 2,820
2019-2020 9,903 3,027
2018-2019 5,000 2,395
2017-2018 4,105 2,151
2016-2017 3,371 1,986

Learn more about online learning at Western Carolina University.

If you’re considering Western Carolina University, here are some more schools you may be interested in knowing more about.

Curious on how these schools stack up against WCU? Pit them head to head with College Combat, our free interactive tool that lets you compare college on the features that matter most to you!

Notes and References


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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