Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in North Carolina. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on this list are accredited, most by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This regional accreditor is nationally recognized, which means students can transfer their credits and degrees to other accredited schools. SACSOC accredits based on six core values, which include integrity, continuous quality improvement, accountability, and transparency. The Christian colleges are accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 29 Online Colleges in North Carolina

Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
NC State University
01
Best for Adult Learners
East Carolina University
01
Best Certificate Programs
Appalachian State University
01
Best for Veterans
University of North Carolina Wilmington
01
Best Career Services
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
01
Best Tutoring
Western Carolina University
01
Best Technical Support
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
01
Best HBCU
North Carolina A&T State University
01
Best Graduate Programs
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
01
Most Affordable
Fayetteville State University
01

Duke University
01

North Carolina Central University
01

Gardner-Webb University
01

Winston-Salem State University
01

Campbell University
01

University of Mount Olive
01

Barton College
01

Mid-Atlantic Christian University
01

Wake Forest University
01

Pfeiffer University
01

Carolina University
01

University of North Carolina at Pembroke
01

Montreat College
01

Lees-McRae College
01

St. Andrews University
01

Johnson C. Smith University
01

Queens University of Charlotte
01

William Peace University
01

Lenoir-Rhyne University

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in North Carolina

Does North Carolina have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as Montreat College’s Online Associate in Cybersecurity and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in North Carolina to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields. North Carolina is rich in graduate school options, including Duke University’s Online Master’s in Engineering Management and East Carolina University’s Online Master’s in Nursing.

Do online college credits in North Carolina cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some schools offer discounted rates for online courses, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. North Carolina became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2016. This means that out-of-state students who live in a SARA-participating state can take online courses from North Carolina schools without incurring additional fees.

Why should you choose North Carolina for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to top public research universities, North Carolina offers something for every type of online college student. One option that stands out as particularly appealing is Campbell University, which offers a flat rate of $450 per undergraduate credit for all online students regardless of state residency.

The Cost of Online College in North Carolina

How much does an online degree in North Carolina cost?

The cost of an online degree in North Carolina depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you decide to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save money on indirect expenses like transportation, parking, and housing by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in North Carolina below:

  • Most affordable online college in North Carolina: Lees-McRae College, $350 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Charlotte, $719 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in North Carolina to get in-state tuition rates?

Typically, you will be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you have lived in North Carolina for 12 consecutive months. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and graduate fellows, are entitled to in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in North Carolina?

The state of North Carolina enacted the NC Promise tuition plan in 2018 to increase access to a quality university education by reducing student costs. Students pay only $500 for in-state tuition each fall and spring semester. NC Promise can be used at three University of North Carolina (UNC) system schools: Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University.

There are no eligibility requirements for NC Promise. All undergraduate students, including those in online programs, receive the NC Promise tuition rate if they are accepted to one of the three participating schools.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in North Carolina

If you don’t qualify for NC Promise, there are many other sources of financial support available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on income, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent scholarship options for you below:

North Carolina Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Every year this foundation awards numerous educational scholarships to help deserving women in their pursuit of higher education. Recipients must have demonstrated financial need and be enrolled in an accredited community college or four-year university in their sophomore, junior, or senior year. There is also a scholarship for graduate students available.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, applicants must be residents of the United States and have a definite career plan they can articulate in a personal statement.

Contact information: [email protected] | 336-247-3088

Learn more

Horatio Alger State Scholarship

This scholarship program, funded by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, is named after American author Horatio Alger. It’s offered to students who exhibit integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity. Recipients may begin their studies at a two-year institution and later transfer to a four-year institution.

Who’s eligible? High school seniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and North Carolina residency.

Contact information: [email protected] | 844-422-4200

Learn more

Next Step Scholarship

Sponsored by Crumley Roberts law firm, these scholarships are awarded to community college students in North Carolina who will be transferring to an accredited four-year college or university in the coming fall. Crumley Roberts has provided over $300,000 in scholarships and technology to students since it began the scholarship program.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, applicants must have at least a 3.2 GPA at their current school.

Contact information: [email protected] | 866-691-0607

Learn more

Florence Kidder Memorial Scholarship

This memorial scholarship honors Florence Hill Kidder, the first president of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA). Applicants must be a high school senior who plans to attend a postsecondary institution in North Carolina. The scholarship is awarded based on an essay, academic achievement, character, and financial need.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, applicants cannot be family members of current NSCDA-NC officers, board members, or state committee chairs.

Contact information: [email protected] | 910-763-8100

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in North Carolina

If you still don’t know where you’ll attend college, it’s possible you also don’t know your major yet. In that case, one of the most important factors you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in North Carolina — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By examining the state’s official North Carolina Employment Projections (2018-2028), we’ve determined that the following five industries will have the highest growth rates in North Carolina in the six years to come.

Computer and Mathematical

North Carolina is the home of top tech companies such as Epic Games and Lenovo, so it’s no surprise to see that this industry is one of the strongest in the state. Within this sector, the most common occupations are software developers, computer systems analysts, and computer user support specialists. Other occupations include information research scientists, actuaries, and web developers. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $91,920.

Healthcare Support

Driving the demand for healthcare support workers in North Carolina is the state’s aging population, especially as more baby boomers reach retirement age. Within this sector, the most common occupations are home health and personal care aides, nursing assistants, and medical assistants. Other occupations include psychiatric aides, physical therapy assistants, veterinary assistants, massage therapists, and pharmacy aides. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $29,320.

  • Growth: 1.4%
  • Degree options: Associate in Veterinary Technology, Associate in Nursing, Associate in Dental Assisting, Associate in Clinical Laboratory Technician, Bachelor’s in Health Administration, Bachelor’s in Health and Human Services, Bachelor’s in Pre-Occupational Therapy

Personal Care and Service

The personal care and service industry is a broad sector that mostly focuses on consumer quality-of-life services throughout the lifespan. In North Carolina, the most common occupations in this sector are child care workers, hairdressers, and recreation workers. Other occupations include funeral attendants, makeup artists, animal trainers, and gambling service workers. All jobs in this industry have an average salary of $28,620 in North Carolina.

  • Growth: 1.3%
  • Degree options: Associate in Cosmetology, Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor’s in Recreation and Leisure, Bachelor’s in Funeral Service Management, Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior, Master’s in Leadership, Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology

Construction and Extraction Occupations

New builds of hotels, multifamily properties, and commercial structures are currently driving demand for construction workers in North Carolina. Within this sector, the most common occupations are carpenters, construction supervisors, and construction laborers. Other occupations include miners, plumbers, steelworkers, and operating engineers. Jobs within the construction and extraction industries in North Carolina have an average annual salary of $43,690.

  • Growth: 1.1%
  • Degree options: Associate in Construction Technology, Bachelor’s in Construction Management, Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s in Mine Technology, Bachelor’s in Hazardous Materials, Master’s in Construction Administration, Master’s in  Ph.D. in Building Construction

Food Preparation and Serving

In the Tar Heel state, the restaurant and lodging industry employs 11% of the state’s workforce and generates approximately $27.3 billion in sales annually. The most common occupations in this sector are fast-food workers, servers, and cooks. Jobs in food preparation and serving in North Carolina pay an average salary of $24,180 annually. Other specific jobs in this sector include chefs, private household cooks, bartenders, school cafeteria attendants, and restaurant managers.

  • Growth: 1.1%
  • Degree options: Associate in Food and Beverage Studies, Bachelor’s in Food Industry Compliance, Bachelor’s in Baking and Pastry Arts, Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts, Bachelor’s in Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship, Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)