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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.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in North Carolina

Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Badge

NC State University

East Carolina University

Appalachian State University

University of North Carolina Wilmington

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Western Carolina University

Duke University

Wake Forest University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Fayetteville State University

Campbell University

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina Central University

Winston-Salem State University

Gardner-Webb University

Barton College

University of Mount Olive

Pfeiffer University

Queens University of Charlotte

Catawba College

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Methodist University

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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 online graduate school options, including Duke University’s Online Master’s in Engineering Management and East Carolina University’s Online Master’s in Nursing.

It’s also worth mentioning that we included multiple North Carolina schools in our guide to the best accredited online colleges in the entire United States. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the country for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

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 dozens of 100% online degree programs to choose from.

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: University of North Carolina—Pembroke, $208 per credit

Most expensive online college in North Carolina: North Carolina State University, $1,178 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 four University of North Carolina (UNC) system schools: Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke, Fayetteville State University, 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] | 252-452-8530

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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 juniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and North Carolina residency.

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

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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

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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

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries 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 official North Carolina Employment Projections (2021-2030), we’ve determined that the following five industries will have some of the highest growth rates in North Carolina.

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 $104,530.

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 $33,240.

  • Growth: 15.99%
  • 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 $33,440 in North Carolina.

  • Growth: 15.90%
  • 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

Food Preparation and Serving

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 $28,190 annually. Other specific jobs in this sector include chefs, private household cooks, bartenders, school cafeteria attendants, and restaurant managers.

  • Growth: 15.82%
  • 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)

Transportation and Material Moving

Jobs within this category include packagers, airline pilots, transportation inspectors, conveyer operators, locomotive engineers, and supervisors. The average salary in the North Carolina transportation industry is $38,520.

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