Western Carolina University and Haywood Community College made a significant step toward a more seamless transition for students seeking additional higher education opportunities through the establishment of a direct-entry admission program.

WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown and HCC president Barbara Parker signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the Catamount Navigator Program during a ceremony Thursday, Dec. 19, in the board room of H.F. Robinson Administration Building on the WCU campus.

The agreement builds upon the existing North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement governing the transfer of credits between the North Carolina Community College System and the University of North Carolina System. In addition, the NC Promise tuition plan, which reduces the cost of in-state tuition to $500 per semester at WCU and two other UNC System institutions, has resulted in a significant increase in the number of students transferring to WCU from community colleges and other four-year schools.

“We appreciate everything that Western Carolina University has done and is doing for our students. This is a milestone in our longstanding and beneficial partnership,” said Parker, a Haywood County native who will retire at the end of this year. HCC’s incoming president, Shelley White, also attended the ceremony.

“We want to encourage and help students who graduate from our community college partners and are looking to further their education as Catamounts,” said Brown. “This memorandum of understanding with Haywood Community College is another step toward a more seamless process for that to happen, and it further strengthens our regional connections.”

The signing follows similar WCU agreements with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Southwestern Community College and Blue Ridge Community College made earlier this year.

Haywood Community College, located in nearby Clyde, was founded in 1965 and is known for its professional crafts and natural resources curriculum. The fish and wildlife management associate degree, accredited by the North American Wildlife Technology Association, is the only one offered statewide. HCC offers two-year college transfer degrees with options available in associate degree in arts, associate degree in science and associate degree in engineering.

To participate in the Catamount Navigator Program, qualifying students must meet several conditions, including:

  • Be a currently enrolled student at HCC in a degree-seeking capacity.
  • Submit WCU application for admission and records by the university deadline.
  • Submit application fee or waiver and fulfill all commitment action steps.
  • Be in good standing at the community college and other institutions attended.
  • Demonstrate good citizenship and conduct.
  • Earn and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 at HCC and a minimum GPA of 2.20 in the most recently completed academic term.
  • Earn an associate degree from HCC in a college transfer program or in an applied program for which an articulation agreement exists.
  • Enroll at WCU within one academic year (within the next two regular terms or fall/spring semesters) of completion of the associate degree.

Although the program guarantees admission to WCU for those graduates who meet the requirements, it does not guarantee admission into a specific degree program. Some programs of study at WCU have their own programmatic admission criteria, standards, policies, processes and deadlines.

For more information about how to transfer to WCU, visit the website transfer.wcu.edu. For more information about applying to HCC, visit www.haywood.edu/admissions.