Western Carolina University

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Two Accredited Social Work Options at WCU

Western Carolina University appears in our ranking of the 36 Most Affordable Accredited MSW Programs in the South East.

Since 1974, the College of Health & Human Sciences has awarded a Bachelor of Social Work in the 160,000-square-foot HHS Hall for Western Carolina University undergrads to prepare for generalist public service representing people’s equitable rights. Directed by Dr. Rebecca Lasher, the 2017 Advocate of the Year, the 63-credit, upper-division major blends courses like Society Diversity, Life Stages, and Community Practice at a 16:1 student-professor ratio. In Cullowhee or Asheville, aspiring LCSWs can continue for the Master of Social Work started by Dr. Patricia Morse in 2006. Dedicated to integrated clinical care, the 62-credit degree lets all-day courses be customized in Substance Abuse Studies or School Social Work tracks. Practicum requirements range from 448 to 1,008 hours total at 125+ partners, such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee, Harris Regional Hospital, Unity Healing Center, and Pathways For the Future. Majors may also engage in the Child Welfare Collaborative, declare Honors, attend Alt Service Weekend, join the SSWA, exchange to Linkoping University, and research in the Public Policy Institute.

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University began in August 1889 when Robert Lee Madison started the semi-public Cullowhee Academy to prepare secondary educators. Four years later, it was chartered by the NC State Legislature and modeled for the Appalachian Training School. In 1929, it became the Western Carolina Teachers College when the first Bachelor of Science was added. History was made in 1957 when it admitted the Tar Heel State’s first African American, Levern Hamlin, and desegregated. Welcomed into the UNC System in 1972, Western Carolina was also the first to require personal computers in 1997. Starting the $60 million Lead the Way campaign, WCU now enrolls 11,043 Catamounts, including Social Work majors, at its 600-acre Cullowhee campus and Biltmore Park site. Linked to 39,709 LinkedIn alumni, Western Carolina University has produced David Sedaris, Rachel Reilly, Louis Ducruet, Andrew Brock, and others.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Western Carolina the 34th best Southern college, 32nd top undergrad school, and 24th best for vets campus with the 174th best MSW nationally. On Niche, WCU boasts America’s 215th hardest admission, 311th best dorms, 400th highest quality faculty, and 435th top academics. Times Higher Education placed Western Carolina University in the top 800 overall. College Factual crowned WCU the 89th best social work value and 237th best BSW producer. Money magazine labeled Western Carolina the 559th best buy with a 57 percent graduation rate. PayScale listed a median mid-career salary of $76,600 for WCU alumni too. WalletHub noted Western Carolina University for the 185th most selectivity and 446th best educational outcomes. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance positioned WCU 58th among the country’s top public colleges.

Western Carolina University Accreditation Details

In 2017, Western Carolina University passed an in-depth evaluation visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to renew the 10-year Level V accreditation under its acting chancellor, Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, who earned the 2001 Excellence in Teaching Award. Based 2.5 hours south via Interstate 23 in Decatur, this 11-state, 780-university accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to check the academic authority of WCU’s 69 baccalaureate, 30 master’s, and three doctoral offerings. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has specifically extended approval for the College of Health & Human Sciences through February 2022.

Western Carolina University Application Requirements

Admission at Western Carolina University is classified “moderately difficult” on Peterson’s since 7,445 of the 18,297 Fall 2017 candidates were triumphant for 41 percent acceptance. Hopeful BSW Catamounts apply during their sophomore or junior year after at least 35 credits. Required pre-major courses include Introduction to Social Work, Human Biology, and American Politics. Each subject must be graded “C” or higher for cumulative GPAs above 2.79. The Honors College seeks undergrads meeting the 3.5 average in the top 10th percentile. Joining the Master of Social Work cohorts mandates an accredited bachelor’s and 2.85 GPAs overall. No major is specified, but 18 liberal arts or behavioral sciences credits are prerequisites. The Advanced Standing track is reserved for students with CSWE-accredited training under five years old. Human services experience and GRE Verbal Reasoning scores over 145 are suggested too.

Western Carolina University created an Early Action deadline of November 15th and Regular Decision deadline of February 1st for freshmen. Bachelor of Social Work transfers apply until November 1st for Spring or April 1st for Fall. The Graduate School at Cordelia Camp enforces an MSW deadline of April 15th. Interested students file $65 applications easily online via the Inside WCU Portal. Official documents are mailed to the Social Work Department in HHS 322A at 3971 Little Savannah Road in Cullowhee, NC 28723. Packets shouldn’t omit the transcripts, SAT/GRE scores, personal narrative, supplemental essay questions, criminal record check, three references, and work history. Find more information by contacting admiss@email.wcu.edu or (828) 227-7317.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Western Carolina University is starting the NC Promise Tuition Plan for full-time resident BSW majors to pay $500 per term. Non-resident undergrads are billed $2,500 each semester. Comprehensive fees incur $2,880 atop the $89 technology fee though. Living at the Cullowhee campus’ dorms like Blue Ridge Hall adds $2,308 by term. Standard meal plans for Courtyard Dining Hall cost $1,908. WCU suggests budgeting $2,332 for books and $2,670 for extra essentials. Annual bachelor’s attendance equals $17,403 in-state and $21,403 out-of-state. The Master of Social Work is billing North Carolinians $5,274 and non-residents $10,477 per full-time semester. Add-ons are the $1,293 insurance fee, $200 parking permit, and $89 technology fee.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Office of Financial Aid in Killian Annex gifts $37.13 million total in median package amounts of $5,970 to 68 percent of full-time WCU Catamounts. Social work funds include the Bruce Blankenship Scholarship, Colleen McMillan Scholarship, Dr. Patricia Murray Morse Fellowship, Elizabeth Teasley Scholarship, Martha Cabe Queen Scholarship, Mary Smith Sneed Scholarship, C. Cole Edmonds Scholarship, and Dean Carroll Plemmons Scholarship. Integrated Healthcare MSW students can receive $10,000 HRSA stipends their last year. Graduate assistantships range from 10-20 hours weekly paid. The Federal Work-Study program presents BSW majors paychecks for at least $7.25/hour. Filing the FAFSA with code 002981 by the March 1st priority date opens Federal Pell and Opportunity Grant money. Lifetime limits of $65,500 exist for Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. The PEO Educational Loan is available for females from Haywood or Jackson counties. North Carolina residents also pursue the Lottery Scholarship, Incentive Grant, and Aubrey Lee Brooks Scholarship.

Learn more about Western Carolina University at the Social Work Department website.

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