West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester University of Pennsylvania Enrollment Information

West Chester University is the second largest public university in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Learn about its ranking, financial aid,, and student life, and get the pros and cons of studying at WCU.

Is West Chester University of Pennsylvania the School for You?

Also known simply as West Chester University, this public school is located on 402 acres in a large suburban area near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As 1 of the 14 institutions that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, WCU offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs through 5 colleges. Review the facts below to decide if this is the right school for you.

Pros

  • High number of academic programs
  • Low number of TAs teaching classes
  • Located 38 miles from downtown Philadelphia and 23 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport

Cons

  • Acceptance rate is 19 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Total cost for in-state students is roughly $4,000 higher than the national average for public, 4-year schools
  • Student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, which is 2 points higher than the national average

Rankings & School Analysis

The total estimated cost to attend West Chester University as of 2012 was $21,522 for Pennsylvania residents and $30,882 for non-residents, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). These figures include tuition, fees, and all living expenses. If you're considering WCU, you might be interested to learn that these costs are higher than the national averages of about $17,000 for in-state students and $30,000 for out-of-state students enrolled in 4-year public schools.

Despite this fact, WCU has been named a best value public college by Kiplinger's Personal Finance for 6 years. The school most recently earned this distinction in 2013 for its ability to help students finance the costs of their education. It was also ranked 70th among regional colleges in the north by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.

WCU offers a wide variety of bachelor's, master's, and certificate programs. About 30% of WCU's students are enrolled in programs offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Its psychology and liberal arts and sciences programs were among the most popular majors during the 2010-2011 academic year, according to NCES.

The most 4-year degrees, however, were awarded in elementary education. This program is offered through WCU's nationally accredited College of Education, which also provides instruction in counselor education, middle and secondary grades education, and special education. Registered nursing is the most common major in the College of Health Sciences. Degree and certificate programs are also available through the College of Business and Public Affairs and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio at WCU is slightly higher than the national average of 16:1. However, in the Fall of 2011, only 16% of the school's 1,031 instructors were TAs, according to NCES. This means that most of your classes would be taught by 1 of the university's 867 faculty members. Support services such as tutoring, counseling, and on-site day care are also available. Additionally, in 2011, WCU had a first-time full-time undergraduate retention rate of 86%; the 4-year graduation rate for those beginning their studies in 2005 was 43%. This rate is comparable to the national average of 40%.

Admissions & Financial Aid at West Chester University of Pennsylvania

If you want to attend West Chester University as a freshman, you'll need to submit your official high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a personal statement. If you plan to major in art, you must also submit a portfolio. An audition is required of all prospective music majors. A few health science programs also require an interview.

WCU has a selective admissions process. According to NCES, it accepted approximately 47% of undergraduate applicants in 2011, compared to a national average acceptance rate of close to 66%. To meet the school's admissions considerations, you'll need a combined SAT score of at least 1020 and a B average. You'll also need to be ranked in the top 40% of your graduating class. WCU offers special admissions for a limited number of students who do not meet these requirements.

If you're admitted to WCU by January 15th of your senior year, you can apply for a merit scholarship. Minimal requirements include a score of 1200 on the SAT and a class ranking in the top 20%. Applicants with lower SAT scores may also apply, provided they have excellent class rankings. Extra-curricular activities and community involvement are also taken into consideration.

Need-based financial aid is also available in the form of grants, loans, and work-study aid. If you want to be considered for these types of aid, you'll need to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), preferably by March 1st. For the 2010-2011 academic year, 80% of full-time, first-time students at WCU received financial aid. Most was awarded in the form of student loans, according to NCES.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013-2014) Rolling admissions*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013-2014) Priority deadline is March 1st*
Notification of Acceptance (2013-2014) Rolling notifications begin Oct. 1st**
Application Fee (2013-2014) $45*
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 47%***
Tuition & All Living Expenses (2011-2012) $21,522 in-state; $30,882 out-of-state***
Average Financial Aid Package (2010-2011) $6,521 for first year**
Percent of Students with Need Met (2010-2011) 9%**
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2010-2011) $27,689**
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 4.2%***

Student Life at West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Although only 41% of students live on campus, West Chester University offers various housing options, including university-owned apartments and 6 residence halls. The school offers services to help students find off-campus housing as well.

WCU also features over 240 student organizations, including 15 sororities, 11 fraternities, and 24 special interest clubs. Additionally, the university offers 24 varsity sports, making it the largest intercollegiate sports program in NCAA Division II. Since WCU is close to Philadelphia, you can also venture off campus for sightseeing, cultural events, and other forms of entertainment.

In the Fall of 2011, 90% of undergraduate students were age 24 or under, according to NCES. Most (83%) were also Pennsylvania residents. The racial breakdown was 83% White, 9% Black or African American, 4% Hispanic or Latino, and 2% Asian.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large suburb***
Student Population (Fall 2011) 12,834 undergraduate students; 2,266 graduate students***
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (Fall 2011) 41% to 59%***
% of Full-Time Students (Fall 2011) 91%***
% of In-State Students (Fall 2011) 83%***
% of International Students (Fall 2011) 0%***
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 86% of full-time students; 20% of part-time students***
Campus Housing Available Yes***
% of Students Living on Campus 41%**
Number of Libraries 2*
Extracurricular Activities Around 240 student organizations and 24 varsity sports*
Noteworthy 4 academic buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places*

Article Sources: *West Chester University, **College Board, ***National Center for Education Statistics.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Emil H. Messikomer Hall, 100 W. Rosedale Ave., West Chester, PA 19383
  • Phone: (610) 436-3411