The president of Warren Wilson College says a plan to offer free tuition starting next year to incoming students from North Carolina is part of a push to diversify the student body on campus. Dr. Lynn Morton says while Warren Wilson is located in North Carolina, an ever increasing number of students who attend it are not. One reason she believes is behind that is the cost of attending the private school, certainly in comparison to certain public universities like Western Carolina that will soon offer $500 per semester tuition to in-state students. “We have a duty to serve our state. And we are particularly interested in underserved populations in our state", Morton says. "North Carolina is a very diverse state, and we want to make sure all of our students – high school students in North Carolina particularly in underserved populations and rural populations – have an opportunity to attend a high quality institution like Warren Wilson College.”
Tuition at Warren Wilson is currently $34,500 per year, with room and board and other fees pushing the total bill to almost $46-thousand per year. Morton explains how North Carolina students can qualify for the free tuition starting next year. “North Carolina students who have to first of all have to meet the admission requirements of Warren Wilson. Families would need to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). And students would need to qualify for federal or state financial aid.”
Morton expects this to bring in between 30 to 50 students next school year, while a separate but similar program aims to bring in another 25 from out of state. While that may not seem like a lot, the total enrollment at Warren Wilson currently is 716 students. So if the free tuition plan hits its mark, it would be responsible for around 10-percent of the overall student body.