Warren Wilson offers new tuition-free programs

Heidi Finley

Photo courtesy of Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College has announced two new programs that will give undergraduates starting in fall 2018 the chance to attend the liberal arts college tuition-free.

President Lynn M. Morton. Photo by Warren Wilson

“Our history of providing education to students in this region compels us to focus a tuition plan specifically for students in North Carolina,” President Lynn Morton said in a news release.

Its N.C. Free Tuition Plan will ensure that every in-state resident who is eligible for federal and state need-based aid can attend by covering the remaining cost of tuition at the campus in Swannanoa, near Asheville.

Students must be enrolled full time, live on campus and participate in Warren Wilson’s work program, in which at least 10 hours a week are spent on one its 85 work crews. Renewal requirements include remaining eligible for need-based aid and making satisfactory academic progress.

“North Carolina is an incredibly diverse state, and I believe this initiative opens opportunities for our local students to attend Warren Wilson College,” vice president for enrollment and marketing Janelle Holmboe said in the news release.

The second program, named Milepost One after the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, will offer up to 25 competitive, full-tuition scholarships. They will be targeted at students with family incomes of up to $125,000 per year who may not be eligible for federal or state grants based on need.

Applications for Milepost One scholarships must include a 2-minute video focused on including how the hard work and commitment of others – such as parents, teachers or coaches, for example – have played a role in positioning the student to attend college.

Other requirements are a minimum 3.0 weighted GPA, living on campus and participating in the college’s work program, and full-time enrollment.

Morton noted in the news release that while undocumented students are not eligible for state and federal aid, they are eligible for Milepost One and other college aid programs.

The cost of attendance at Warren Wilson in 2017-18 is $35,244 for tuition and fees, plus about $10,660 for room and board.

All students living on campus participate in the work program, earning $2,175 per year toward tuition. All applications are also reviewed for merit scholarships worth up to $18,000 at the time of acceptance.

In both the N.C. Free Tuition Plan and the Milepost One program, student loans may be applied toward the cost of room and board.


Heidi Finley is the editor of Carolina College Bound. Send questions or suggestions to hfinley@charlotteobserver.com