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Financial Aid Award Changes

If you're a current student who has been receiving federal loans or grants to support the cost of college, know that your 2018-19 award will look different due to changes in the cost to attend Western Carolina University as well as some other important changes. Please review the information below in regards to how NC Promise will shift the total cost of attendance, the upcoming elimination of the Perkins Loan Program, and changes to how WCU will approach the Federal PLUS Loan in 2018-19 awards.

NC Promise: "Why did I get less financial aid for 2018-2019?"

It happens very rarely—the cost of higher education from one year to next actually decreases. But that phenomenon will occur next fall at WCU. Beginning fall 2018, the implementation of the NC Promise Tuition Plan will reduce the tuition line item (to $500 per full-time semester in-state and $2,500 per full-time semester out-of-state) meaning that the cost to attend WCU will go down. Because the cost of tuition to attend WCU will decrease next year, your projected financial aid cost of attendance (COA) will decrease as well.

Each academic year the cost of attendance (COA) is calculated and used to reflect an estimated cost for a designated period of enrollment (e.g., one academic year). The COA amount includes allocations for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses. The COA is not the same thing as your billing charges. You will not be billed for the amount of your COA; the COA reflects the maximum amount of financial aid you could receive for that timeframe. 

Because WCU's COA will drop, your financial aid award will be lower. However, NC Promise will not impact the cost of room and board or indirect costs such as supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. With that in mind, if you have received a financial aid refund check in previous years after direct costs are accounted for, the lower total award amount will not necessarily result in a lower refund check based on the aid you accept. 

Federal PLUS Loan Changes

In past years, the financial aid office has automatically offered Federal PLUS loans as part of the student financial aid package. Because many families explore other financing options or do not wish to incur the debt of PLUS loans, and in keeping with the awarding philosophy of many other institutions, the financial aid office will discontinue the practice of packaging a Federal PLUS loan upfront beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year. This change will cause the student financial package to appear smaller than previous years. Parents and graduate students will still have the option of applying for a Federal PLUS Loan at to assist in covering any additional educational costs.

The End: Perkins Loan Program

As of the 2018-2019 academic year, the Federal Perkins Loan program has ended, and WCU will no longer receive allocations from this program. You will still receive any Perkins Loan funding you have already accepted for the current 2017-2018 academic year, but your financial aid award will not contain a Perkins Loan offer for the 2018-2019 academic year. WCU will continue to explore funding sources that can help address demonstrated need, and NC Promise will reduce the cost of attendance at WCU beginning fall 2018.

Learn more about NC Promise



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