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Western Carolina University Data & Information Overview

This overview covers the essential stats on Western Carolina University, including its rankings, majors, diversity, and more. All you need to do to learn more about a stat is click on its tile, and you'll be taken to another page that analyzes that data more closely. Also, you can use the links below to scroll to any section of this page.

How Well Is Western Carolina University Ranked?

Value Badge

2021 Rankings

College Factual recognizes the best colleges and universities in its annual rankings. These rankings include categories for best overall colleges, best colleges for each major, best value schools, and much more.

Western Carolina University was awarded 81 badges in the 2021 rankings. The highest ranked major at the school is public administration and social service.

Overall Quality

WCU landed the #671 spot in College Factual's 2021 ranking of best overall colleges in the United States. The higher ed experts analyzed 1,715 colleges and universities across the nation to determine this ranking. This is an improvement over the previous year, when WCU held the #802 spot on the Best Overall Colleges list.

Out of the 56 colleges in North Carolina, WCU is ranked at #17.

See all of the rankings for Western Carolina University.

Is It Hard to Get Into WCU?

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate at Western Carolina University is a competitive 39%, so make sure you take your application seriously when putting it together. Even leaving out a minor detail could be a reason to move you to the rejection pile.

Average Test Scores

About 40% 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 510 and 610. Math scores were between 510 and 590.

SAT Reading and Writing Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 510 to 610 )

SAT Math Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 510 to 590 )
WCU received ACT scores from 63% of accepted students. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, ACT Composite scores ranged between 19 and 24.

ACT Composite Scores for Western Carolina University  ( 19 to 24 )

Learn more about Western Carolina University admissions.

Western Carolina University Faculty

Student to Faculty Ratio

With a student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1, Western Carolina University is about average in this regard as the nationwide rate is 15 to 1. While this does not translate directly to class size, it's a good indicator of how much time professors will have to spend with their students on a one-on-one basis.

Percent of Full-Time Faculty

In addition to the student to faculty ratio, some people look at what percentage of faculty members are full-time as a sign of how much time professors will be able to spend with their students. This is because part-time teachers may not be be on campus as much as their full-time counterparts.

The full-time faculty percentage at Western Carolina University is 70%. This is higher than the national average of 47%.

Full-Time Faculty Percent  70 out of 100

Retention and Graduation Rates at Western Carolina University

Freshmen Retention Rate

Western Carolina University has a freshmen retention rate of 79%. 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  79 out of 100

Graduation Rate

The on-time graduation rate is the percent of first-time, full-time students who get their bachelor's degree with four years. At WCU this rate is 37%, which is about average when compared to the national rate of 33.3%.

On-Time Graduation Rate  37 out of 100

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

Good Overall Diversity at WCU

During the 2017-2018 academic year, there were 9,406 undergraduates at WCU with 8,040 being full-time and 1,366 being part-time.

WCU Diversity Score

For each college and university, College Factual calculates an overall diversity score that takes four factors into account: gender, ethnicity, age, and home location of the student. Then, the schools with the best mixtures of students with respect to these factors are ranked the highest.

The overall diversity score for WCU is 63.59 out of 100, meaning that is is more diverse than most schools in the country.

Overall Diversity Score  63.59 out of 100
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Get more detailed information on diversity and student demographics at Western Carolina University.

How Much Does Western Carolina University Cost?

The overall average net price of WCU is $15,607. 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 +
$10,983 $12,834 $16,707 $20,056 $20,699

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 67% of students took out student loans averaging $6,132 a year. That adds up to $24,528 over four years for those students.

The student loan default rate at WCU is 6.0%. 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?

The pay for some majors is higher than others, but on average, students who graduate with a bachelor's degree from WCU make about $37,700 a year during their first few years of employment after graduation. This is about 5% less that the average pay for college graduates overall. However, graduates with your major may make more.


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

Location of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is a public institution situated in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The charming, small-town atmosphere of Cullowhee draws many to the area.

Get more details about the location of Western Carolina University.

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

During the most recent year for which we have data, students from 60 majors graduated from Western Carolina University. Of these students, 2,288 received undergraduate degrees and 597 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 200 $29,400
Nursing 192 $56,100
Teacher Education Grade Specific 150 $35,700
Marketing 136 $34,200
Criminal Justice & Corrections 125 $33,000
General Psychology 110 $23,900
General Biology 103 $26,500
Finance & Financial Management 75 $39,200
Allied Health Professions 70 $45,800
Social Work 69 $29,600

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

Online Learning at WCU

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 2017-2018, 4,105 students took at least one online class at Western Carolina University. This is an increase from the 3,371 students who took online classes the previous year.

Year Took at Least One Online Class Took All Classes Online
2017-2018 4,105 2,151
2016-2017 3,371 1,986
2015-2016 3,124 1,920
2014-2015 3,144 1,786
2013-2014 2,484 1,678

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!


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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