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Western Piedmont Community College

Western Piedmont Community College Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes)

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For students seeking to start their college careers or adults looking to retrain for new career opportunities, Western Piedmont Community College, located in Morganton, N.C., offers a variety of academic and career training options to help students realize their dreams.

Community colleges are becoming a more popular option as the current state of the U.S. economy is pushing more adults to return to school to retrain for new careers and is forcing traditional college-aged students to look for a more affordable option.

Western Piedmont Community College is a large enrollment school, offering a large university feel while retaining the benefits of community college – a more student-oriented and nurturing environment and lower attendance costs. The college consists of the main campus in Morganton and a recently opened campus in Burke County.


Western Piedmont Community College was chartered by the North Carolina Board of Education in the mid-1960s. The college opened for business in 1966, enrolling about 400 students. In 1973, the college embarked upon a major expansion, building new facilities, including a student center, student activities area, cafeteria and bookstore. Another major expansion in the late 80s added a Learning Resource Center, which contains a library, drama studio and more.

The college opened the Foothills Higher Education Center in Burke County, an area with previously limited access to post-secondary education, in 2009.


Western Piedmont Community College offers a variety of academic programs to prepare students for further studies at a four-year school as well as career programs that can quickly prepare students for new careers in a matter of weeks or in two years, depending on the program.

The college offers about 60 career certificate and associate’s degree programs. Career certificate programs provide students with skills needed to enter a specific career field, and typically take less time to complete than a traditional college degree program. Distance learning via hybrid and online courses is also available.

The college has received a number of plaudits in recent years. Western Piedmont community College was recently named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Its early education program has won national certification. Surveys into the effectiveness of WPCC programs have found that virtually all graduates of the college seeking work find employment within a year of graduation and that WPCC students who transfer to a four-year university typically have high grades (89 percent with a “B” average or better).

The college has well-regarded public safety training programs, including the recently opened Western Piedmont Community College Emergency Services Training Center. The center has a variety of training modules firefighters can use to learn their trade, including a flash over simulator and a residential burn building, among others.

High School Academics

The college offers the Burke Middle College program, which allows high school students in local high schools to complete their high school graduation requirements and first two years of college simultaneously, earning a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation from high school.

The college also offers GED courses to students who need to obtain this credential. Last year, nearly 500 people obtained GEDs through the college’s program.


The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits schools in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas, and Americans schools in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Western Piedmont Community College has an open admissions policy, meaning that any student with a high school diploma or GED will be accepted. However, some WPCC programs have selective admissions—the college’s health programs may have grade requirements and prerequisites.

Students applying to the college are required to submit high school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, documentation of civic or community involvement, character references, class rank, and extracurriculars. Prospective students will also need to take the COMPASS placement exam to determine if they need remedial courses.

The Fall application deadline is Aug. 6 and as of Sept. 2011, the college has no application fee.

Financial Aid

Students applying to the Western Piedmont Community College are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of North Carolina, the university itself, and other organizations that students may be eligible for. For example, the Western Piedmont Foundation awards $500 scholarships based on financial need to North Carolina residents to attend WPCC.

The college’s website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and other programs, such as loans, students can use to attend class at the Western Piedmont Community College

Western Piedmont’s office of financial aid stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for. About 67 percent of Western Piedmont Community College students receive financial aid of some type. The average scholarship award is around $2,400.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 6557th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in North Carolina.


Western Piedmont Community College has a fairly large enrollment of about 10,000 students.

The school offers about 20 clubs and organizations, including professional and academic organizations, religious groups and recreational clubs. The college has a campus newsletter, The Update.

Although WPCC is a rural campus, the college is less than an hour from Charlotte, NC. WPCC has a number of features students can enjoy, including greenhouses, which are part of the college’s sustainability program, walking trails, an alpine climbing facility and the Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. library and museum.

Student Services and Facilities

The college offers a number of support services to students including personal and career counseling, tutoring services, and more. A campus cafeteria in Morganton provides WPCC students with a place to eat and to socialize.

One interesting feature of WPCC is the Berry Site, and archeological site at an ancient Native American town. The college maintains a field school at the Berry site.

Student Enrollment Demographics


Western Piedmont Community College does not have athletic teams.


  • “Western Piedmont Community College.” Western Piedmont Community College. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <http://www.wpcc.edu/index.php>.
  • Gonsher, Debra A., and Joshua Halberstam. The community college guide: the essential reference from application to graduation. Dallas, Tex.: BenBella Books, 2009. Print.
  • The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.

Information Summary

Ranks 88th in North Carolina and 2541st overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Western Piedmont Community College Western Piedmont Community College Emblem :: Western Piedmont Community College

Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary N/A N/A
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 1 0.03

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 29 0.17
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Forcible Rape 5 0.03
Robbery 7 0.04
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 135 0.79
Larceny 465 2.71
Vehicle theft 28 0.16

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Morganton, NC 28655-4511
Surrounding communitySmall city (inside urban area, pop. under 100,000)
Total Population54,898 (26,456 urban / 28,442 rural)
Households20,764 (2.49 people per house)
Median Household Income$36,089
Families14,557 (2.95 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Associate's — Public Rural-serving Medium
Undergraduate PopulationMixed part/full-time two-year
EnrollmentExclusively undergraduate two-year
Size & SettingMedium two-year

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringAssociate's degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District3711

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 3869th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $2,000 $2,000 $7,319
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $38 $38 $38
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $72 $72 $264
FT Graduate Tuition N/A N/A N/A
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A N/A
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $3,626 $3,626 $9,808
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $19,070 $19,070 $25,252
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $7,741 $7,741 $13,923

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $2,155 $2,235 $2,155 $2,235 $8,299 $8,379
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,300(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board N/A(N/C)
On-Campus – Other Expenses N/A(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $11,151(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,050(N/C)
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $4,050(N/C)

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record N/A /  N/A /  N/A
College Prep. CompletionN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scoresN/A
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm CapacityN/A
Meals per WeekN/A
Room FeeN/A
Board FeeN/A

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 3556th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $49,114 ($48,416 male / $48,176 female)
Number of FT Faculty 80 (35 male / 45 female)
Number of PT Faculty 326
FT Faculty Ratio 0.2 : 1
Total Benefits $2,069,276

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1001 Burkemont Ave
Morganton, NC 28655-4511
p. 828-438-6000
w. www.wpcc.edu

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