Skip to main content

Financial Aid

2024-2025 FAFSA will open by December 2023

As part of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the U.S. Department of Education has announced that the 2024-2025 FAFSA will open by December 2023. While the actual go live date has not been specified, students should not expect to be able to complete a FAFSA until that date. 

Western Carolina University is committed to making higher education achievable for students. We've earned numerous accolades for providing a quality education at an incredible value, and that won't change. We understand that navigating the details, processes, and available financial aid can be overwhelming. The options below give you a great place to begin. Keep up to date with upcoming deadlines, award changes and once you've submitted your FAFSA, you can track the status and make payments through myWCU. We're here to help make your higher education goals a reality by providing you with the tools and resources you need to pursue your degree.

Night fountain

Western Carolina University is committed to using the Principles & Standards of the College Cost Transparency Initiative in its student financial aid offer.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

In order to receive student financial aid grants and loans, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Before you get started, review the important steps below:

File the FAFSA every academic year, as early as possible. The FAFSA opens every year on October 1 for the following fall semester. 


All communication from the WCU Financial Aid Office is sent directly to the student via Catamount email. The student can also view financial aid requirements and award information in myWCU at any time.

Financial aid offers are typically available starting in March for the upcoming fall semester.  Depending on eligibility, the offer could include grants, scholarships, work study, and student loans

When a financial aid offer is made, the student will be notified by Catamount email with instructions on how to accept the aid offer. The student can accept or decline the offer through myWCU. Please note some forms of financial aid have additional steps for acceptance.

If a federal student loan is accepted, the student will need to complete Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. If a parent is approved for a federal Parent PLUS Loan, the parent will need to complete a Master Promissory Note, as well. If a graduate student is approved for a Graduate PLUS loan, they will need to complete a Master Promissory Note. Upon graduation or disengagment from the university, the student will need to complete Loan Exit Counseling.

E-bills for fall semester are typically avaiable in early July. The fall semester payment deadline is August 1. Spring semester bills are typically available in mid-November, with a payment deadline of mid-December.  Make sure all financial aid requirements are complete by early July to ensure processing time for the fall payment deadline. 

If there is excess financial aid once university charges are covered, a refund will be generated to the student. Refunds are typically available three weeks after the start of each semester. To ensure swift delivery of any refund, students can set up direct deposit.

Students should repeat these steps every academic year, starting with applying for FAFSA. Student aid is not automatically renewed.

Dates and Deadlines

  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA will open by December 2023.
  • The 2024-2025 WCU Scholarship Application will open October 1, 2023, and close February 1, 2024.
  • FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline: March 15, 2024. (Students who wish to be considered for need-based scholarships must submit FAFSA, in addition to the scholarship application). 

Date Last Reviewed: November 29, 2023

Office of Web Services