Often called the Old North State, North Carolina is undergoing an exciting period of growth and development. The state has made a concerted effort in recent years to move beyond its agricultural history and enhance its competitive advantage in the areas of finance, biotechnology and green energy. While North Carolina’s higher education system has seriously benefited from this growth in investment and development, its students continue to pay considerably less than their counterparts in other states. Attending school in North Carolina is an affordable option for those seeking a strong education and access to some of the country’s fastest growing industries. This is excellent news, because according to the Lumina Foundation, North Carolina needs more college educated workers, and fast. In order to produce more graduates, education needs to be accessible to everyone, even those with full-time jobs and families to tend to, or those who live in a more remote area of the state. Online schools in North Carolina can bridge this accessibility gap.

Distance Learning and Online Schools North Carolina

There are a number of online schools in North Carolina offering flexible learning options to interested students. North Carolina community colleges, for example, have 248 curriculum and 45 continuing education courses online through their local colleges. UNC has received numerous accolades for its online program, The University of North Carolina Online. Through UNC’s online platform, students may pursue bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, certificate, and licensure programs in a number of subjects such as library science, leisure studies, statistics and foreign languages. UNC online students can also participate in The University of North Carolina Course Exchange, which allows students to enroll in courses outside of their home campus.

Community Colleges in North Carolina

North Carolina’s community college system is made up of 58 separate campuses. These campuses are located within 30 minutes of 99 percent of the state’s population, which adds a level of convenience and accessibility unattainable in many other states. The school system currently educates approximately 840,000 students and prides itself on having the lowest tuition in the Southeast Region as well as one of the lowest in the nation. Community colleges in North Carolina are often recognized for their emphasis on the provision of customized work force training programs, occupational certifications and continuing education development.

North Carolina also provides a number of programs intended to support its students, including The Small Business Center Network, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, The BioNetwork and Minority Male Mentoring.

Four-Year Public Universities

The University of North Carolina, the oldest public university in the nation, is spread across 16 campuses and serves as the state’s public education system. In addition to the university campuses, the UNC system also includes the NC School of Science and Math, which is the nation’s first public residential high school for high achieving students. Given that UNC receives strong financial support from the state, it is able to offer its students a tuition that is well below the national average. The public university system confers a majority of its degrees in the areas of social science, business management, communications, engineering, education, psychology, health professions and public affairs.

Private Nonprofit Colleges

There are 36 nonprofit, private colleges in North Carolina. The private school system provides students with a number of options including women’s colleges, historically black universities and many religiously affiliated institutions. Financial assistance is readily available to those interested in pursuing a private education in North Carolina. On some campuses more than 90 percent of students receive some type of financial aid. In addition, many of these colleges and universities pride themselves on their diversity. Two of North Carolina’s most well-known private universities are Duke University and Wake Forest University.

North Carolina Online School and Program Spotlights

University of North Carolina (UNC Online)

The University of North Carolina has always been an innovator in the field of higher education, so it makes sense that its online learning program, UNC Online, is more than just one of many online schools in North Carolina: it is a network of 16 universities offering more than 300 online programs of study, including several fully online certificate and degree programs. As of 2014, more than 70,000 students were enrolled in UNC Online, including traditional students, working professionals, military personnel and those who have completed some college, but did not complete their degrees (often called 2+2 students).

UNC was among some of the first universities in the nation to offer massive open online courses, or MOOCs. MOOCs are large, typically free online courses available to anyone, anywhere. Today UNC offers several MOOCs, some of which are offered in partnership with other well known universities.

You can learn more about UNC’s online programs and MOOCs by visiting UNC Online: http://online.northcarolina.edu/.

North Carolina State University (NC State DE)

North Carolina State is another example of an online school in North Carolina investing in its distance learning program. As of 2014, NC State enrolls more than 14,000 students in more than 300 distance education (DE) courses on a rotating basis, and nearly 70 DE degree, certificate and lateral entry programs. It even offers an online teacher licensure program. NC State’s online program is designed to help students overcome barriers to higher education, especially those with little time to spare, who live in remote areas (even overseas) or are enlisted in the military. Students have access to online advising and career counseling services, just as they would at any traditional university.

Though NC State does have its own fairly beefy catalog of online courses, it expands its reach considerably through partnerships with other schools and online learning organizations — among them are the eLearning Commission and UNC Online. It is also a member of the Southern Regional education Boards Electronic Campus, which helps students find online classes and services with member institutions from all across the South.

Learn more about NC State Distance Education—and all its programs and services—by visiting: http://distance.ncsu.edu/.

Wake Forest University (Semester Online)

Wake Forest University (WFU) is part of a broader online program called Semester Online. According to WFU, Semester Online is a “consortium of elite schools” that work together to offer credit bearing, 100 percent online courses taught by faculty at other prestigious schools. It is important to note that Semester Online differs from other programs offered by online schools in North Carolina in that it is designed to supplement campus-based learning. This means students will still need to attend traditional classes to complete their certificates and degrees. Courses are typically about 15 weeks in length and include at least some synchronous material, meaning students will need to “attend” live, real-time streaming class sessions in a virtual classroom environment.

You can learn more about Wake Forest University’s Semester Online program by visiting its website: http://college.wfu.edu/semesteronline/.


Best Online Schools in North Carolina for Future Military Service

Many schools along the Eastern seaboard offer excellent educational opportunities, but none can compare to North Carolina’s approach to civic-minded programs. Students interested in serving their country will find a multitude of schools boasting ROTC programs in North Carolina. In fact, we’ve listed them here. Each university below is non-profit, offers four-year degrees, and has at least two ROTC programs. Whether it’s Army, Navy or Air Force, students can find them in North Carolina. Another selling point is North Carolina’s various schools offering reasonable tuition costs.

Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
North Carolina State University at Raleigh$5,748 Raleigh Yes Yes Yes
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill$5,823 Chapel Hill Yes Yes Yes
Fayetteville State University$2,585 Fayetteville Yes No Yes
Winston-Salem State University$2,807 Winston-Salem Yes No Yes
University of North Carolina at Pembroke$3,012 Pembroke Yes No Yes
North Carolina A & T State University$3,070 Greensboro Yes No Yes
North Carolina Central University$3,244 Durham Yes No Yes
University of North Carolina at Charlotte$3,453 Charlotte Yes No Yes
East Carolina University$3,758 Greenville Yes No Yes
University of North Carolina at Greensboro$3,779 Greensboro Yes No Yes
Shaw University$11,160 Raleigh Yes No Yes
Livingstone College$13,404 Salisbury Yes No Yes
Bennett College for Women$14,614 Greensboro Yes No Yes
Johnson C Smith University$15,466 Charlotte Yes No Yes
High Point UniversityN/A High Point Yes No Yes

Best Online Schools in North Carolina for Small Class Size

From the mountains to the sea, North Carolina is home to many of the nation’s leading research universities. Students have the luxury of choosing among post-secondary degree programs offering major fields of study for in-demand professions as well as smaller, independent paths of study. The following non-profit schools have kept classes intimate. They all have 5,000 or more students, but classes don’t exceed the ratio of 20 students per professor.

Mount Olive College 20 to 1 5,109$16,800 Private not-for-profit Mount Olive
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 19 to 1 23,197$3,453 Public Charlotte
Chowan University 18 to 1 1,372$21,600 Private not-for-profit Murfreesboro
North Carolina A & T State University 18 to 1 10,382$3,070 Public Greensboro
East Carolina University 18 to 1 23,674$3,758 Public Greenville
North Carolina State University at Raleigh 18 to 1 29,134$5,748 Public Raleigh
Apex School of Theology 17 to 1 608$4,800 Private not-for-profit Durham
Belmont Abbey College 17 to 1 1,897$27,622 Private not-for-profit Belmont
Appalachian State University 17 to 1 16,774$3,542 Public Boone
University of North Carolina at Greensboro 17 to 1 17,025$3,779 Public Greensboro
Livingstone College 16 to 1 1,238$13,404 Private not-for-profit Salisbury
Guilford College 16 to 1 3,218$31,000 Private not-for-profit Greensboro
High Point University 16 to 1 4,147$ Private not-for-profit High Point
Fayetteville State University 16 to 1 6,168$2,585 Public Fayetteville
Western Carolina University 16 to 1 8,921$3,397 Public Cullowhee
University of North Carolina Wilmington 16 to 1 13,699$3,743 Public Wilmington
Catawba College 15 to 1 1,401$26,040 Private not-for-profit Salisbury
North Carolina Wesleyan College 15 to 1 1,724$25,710 Private not-for-profit Rocky Mount
Shaw University 15 to 1 2,527$11,160 Private not-for-profit Raleigh
Elizabeth City State University 15 to 1 3,310$2,582 Public Elizabeth City
University of North Carolina at Pembroke 15 to 1 6,644$3,012 Public Pembroke
North Carolina Central University 15 to 1 7,476$3,244 Public Durham
Montreat College 14 to 1 856$22,684 Private not-for-profit Montreat
Lees-McRae College 14 to 1 925$23,450 Private not-for-profit Banner Elk
Saint Augustine’s University 14 to 1 1,628$12,364 Private not-for-profit Raleigh
Wingate University 14 to 1 1,741$22,540 Private not-for-profit Wingate
Johnson C Smith University 14 to 1 1,866$15,466 Private not-for-profit Charlotte
University of North Carolina at Asheville 14 to 1 4,603$3,476 Public Asheville
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 14 to 1 19,644$5,823 Public Chapel Hill
Pfeiffer University 13 to 1 1,104$22,500 Private not-for-profit Misenheimer
Methodist University 13 to 1 2,665$26,600 Private not-for-profit Fayetteville
Gardner-Webb University 13 to 1 3,572$24,250 Private not-for-profit Boiling Springs
Elon University 13 to 1 5,404$28,633 Private not-for-profit Elon
Mid-Atlantic Christian University 12 to 1 186$11,680 Private not-for-profit Elizabeth City
William Peace University 12 to 1 895$23,700 Private not-for-profit Raleigh
Warren Wilson College 12 to 1 962$27,372 Private not-for-profit Swannanoa
Barton College 12 to 1 1,316$22,278 Private not-for-profit Wilson
Mars Hill College 12 to 1 1,425$22,156 Private not-for-profit Mars Hill
Lenoir-Rhyne University 12 to 1 1,616$27,718 Private not-for-profit Hickory
Queens University of Charlotte 12 to 1 2,277$27,576 Private not-for-profit Charlotte
Winston-Salem State University 12 to 1 6,792$2,807 Public Winston-Salem
Salem College 11 to 1 1,035$23,478 Private not-for-profit Winston Salem
Greensboro College 11 to 1 1,262$25,300 Private not-for-profit Greensboro
Meredith College 11 to 1 1,854$29,106 Private not-for-profit Raleigh
Davidson College 11 to 1 1,915$40,405 Private not-for-profit Davidson
Wake Forest University 11 to 1 4,940$42,700 Private not-for-profit Winston Salem
Grace College of Divinity 10 to 1 141$3,360 Private not-for-profit Fayetteville
St. Andrews University 10 to 1 480$22,674 Private not-for-profit Laurinburg
Bennett College for Women 10 to 1 793$14,614 Private not-for-profit Greensboro
Carolina College of Biblical Studies 9 to 1 138$4,500 Private not-for-profit Fayetteville
New Life Theological Seminary 9 to 1 158$7,700 Private not-for-profit Charlotte
Piedmont International University 9 to 1 330$11,440 Private not-for-profit Winston Salem
Brevard College 9 to 1 688$23,900 Private not-for-profit Brevard
Carolina Christian College 8 to 1 67$3,750 Private not-for-profit Winston Salem
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences 8 to 1 592$10,720 Private not-for-profit Concord
Shepherds Theological Seminary 7 to 1 6$6,120 Private not-for-profit Cary
Heritage Bible College 7 to 1 84$6,720 Private not-for-profit Dunn
Laurel University 7 to 1 492$8,160 Private not-for-profit High Point
University of North Carolina School of the Arts 7 to 1 780$5,270 Public Winston-Salem
Duke University 7 to 1 7,284$42,308 Private not-for-profit Durham
Hood Theological Seminary 1 to 1 6$ Private not-for-profit Salisbury

Best Online Schools in North Carolina for Women in STEM

North Carolina is home to numerous schools known for their superb technology and engineering programs for women. These STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields are ranked for having the highest earning potential after graduation. However, these are also programs that tend to have the least number of women enrolled. Fortunately, there are some amazing online schools in North Carolina that offer women an incredible learning environment while they pursue tech degrees. Some of these schools offer female-only dorms, while others arrange for new female students to receive guidance via mentorships from more experienced women in the same degree track. Some schools also have centers and dedicated staff encourage women’s pursuits in the technology and engineering disciplines. Below is a list of the ultimate North Carolina schools that are focused on offering women in tech the best higher education.

North Carolina State University at Raleigh$7,788 Raleigh 542 27,438 Public
Duke University$43,623 Durham 239 15,004 Private Not for Profit
East Carolina University$5,869 Greenville 146 21,093 Public
North Carolina A & T State University$5,059 Greensboro 114 9,125 Public
Appalachian State University$6,059 Boone 87 15,604 Public
University of North Carolina at Charlotte$5,873 Charlotte 74 19,170 Public
Campbell University$25,000 Buies Creek 52 4,637 Private Not for Profit
Winston-Salem State University$4,941 Winston-Salem 34 5,332 Public
University of North Carolina School of the Arts$7,558 Winston-Salem 31 874 Public
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill$7,693 Chapel Hill 26 24,222 Public
Western Carolina University$5,925 Cullowhee 21 7,114 Public
North Carolina Central University$5,200 Durham 9 6,501 Public
Fayetteville State University$4,324 Fayetteville 9 4,302 Public
University of North Carolina Wilmington$6,199 Wilmington 6 11,319 Public
Wake Forest University$43,200 Winston Salem 5 7,217 Private Not for Profit

Best Online Schools in North Carolina for Community Service Work

North Carolina is one of the best places to pursue a degree in social work, especially for those most interested in assisting families. These online schools in North Carolina combine practical field experience with unsurpassed advanced classroom learning. And with plenty of clinical setting and internship opportunities, these schools prepare their students for the variety of environments in which social work graduates may thrive. By comparing academic merits, facilities, rankings, and innovative techniques, we’ve gathered the foremost social work degree programs in North Carolina. Each of these schools listed below have programs that emphasize the social and psychological needs of families.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte 276 222 54 $5,873 19,170
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill 253 200 53 $7,693 24,222
East Carolina University Greenville 197 167 30 $5,869 21,093
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro 197 152 45 $6,136 14,440
Fayetteville State University Fayetteville 183 132 51 $4,324 4,302
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh 174 140 34 $7,788 27,438
Appalachian State University Boone 141 119 22 $6,059 15,604
University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke 136 117 19 $4,857 4,546
University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington 131 116 15 $6,199 11,319
Western Carolina University Cullowhee 97 71 26 $5,925 7,114
Shaw University Raleigh 79 70 9 $14,414 2,150
North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro 77 66 11 $5,059 9,125
North Carolina Central University Durham 67 52 15 $5,200 6,501
Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem 57 45 12 $4,941 5,332
Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City 55 48 7 $4,150 2,553
Duke University Durham 48 26 22 $43,623 15,004
Wake Forest University Winston Salem 40 26 14 $43,200 7,217
Barton College Wilson 38 38 $24,180 902
Guilford College Greensboro 36 23 13 $31,380 2,272
Mars Hill College Mars Hill 32 18 14 $24,536 1,175
University of North Carolina at Asheville Asheville 29 26 3 $5,916 3,124
Methodist University Fayetteville 27 24 3 $27,070 2,156
Warren Wilson College Swannanoa 27 25 2 $27,740 973
Saint Augustine’s University Raleigh 21 18 3 $17,160 1,466
Livingstone College Salisbury 17 11 6 $15,408 1,133
Elon University Elon 16 14 2 $28,980 5,663
Salem College Winston Salem 16 16 $23,839 788
Davidson College Davidson 12 7 5 $40,809 1,755
Johnson C Smith University Charlotte 12 11 1 $18,236 1,496
Meredith College Raleigh 12 12 $29,186 1,660
Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs 10 4 6 $24,450 2,512
Campbell University Buies Creek 9 8 1 $25,000 4,637
Bennett College for Women Greensboro 7 7 $16,794 672
Catawba College Salisbury 7 6 1 $26,040 1,230
North Carolina Wesleyan College Rocky Mount 7 6 1 $25,760 1,106
Greensboro College Greensboro 6 2 4 $25,600 937
Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory 6 4 2 $27,718 1,624
Wingate University Wingate 6 1 5 $23,845 2,089