Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

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Updated October 24, 2022

Earning an online degree can lead to new career opportunities. Here, we list the best online colleges in North Carolina.

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Landscape photograph of Raleigh, North Carolina. Credit: Mark Howard | iStock | Getty Images Plus

North Carolina Online Colleges for Traditional and Nontraditional Students

Online colleges offer educational alternatives to traditional and nontraditional students alike. Many online schools follow accelerated delivery schedules and offer asynchronous classes, making them a convenient choice for out-of-state enrollees and working students.

Colleges and universities offering online programs typically require applicants to submit the same documents and meet similar application standards in terms of GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Documents commonly required include a transcript from every previous institution an applicant attended and at least one recommendation letter.

Accredited institutions maintain the same quality, rigor, and completion requirements for their online and on-campus offerings. Schools do not distinguish between online and on-campus degrees on a graduate's diploma.

Graduates of online programs enjoy similar advantages as their on-campus counterparts. For example, graduates enjoy higher salaries and lower unemployment rates compared to associate-trained workers or employees with some college experience but no degree.

FAQs About Online Colleges in North Carolina

Is it cheaper to get a degree online?

Online enrollees typically save on additional living and transportation costs. Additionally, many online programs follow an accelerated delivery schedule, reducing cost.

What is the average cost for online college?

Several factors impact the cost of a college education including location and major. For example, online colleges in Florida cost about 50% less than brick-and-mortar schools ($21,100 versus $42,768).

Is college free in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan reduced tuition to $500 per semester in three UNC System schools enrolling more than 20,000 students.

How many colleges and universities are there in North Carolina?

North Carolina boasts 64 four-year private and public institutions, plus nearly 60 two-year community colleges statewide.

Explore Top Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

#1 Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Appalachian State University

  • Boone, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners at Appalachian State University receive a high-quality online education. Offering 26 online programs to 4,490 distance students, the public institution educates individuals located across the country. The flexibility of online learning allows working professionals to complete coursework at convenient times.

Virtual learning environments provide opportunities for enrollees to connect with professors and peers. Internships help participants improve their professional credentials. Learners can access career services to locate professional opportunities and prepare for interviews.

Degree-seekers often receive scholarships from third-party organizations, along with federal financial aid. Students can contact a financial aid officer for information about eligibility requirements for institutional scholarships and fellowships. To fund their degree, 70% of enrollees use financial aid, and many receive other types of funding.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,242
Out-of-state
$19,049
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
19,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
A top online school, University of North Carolina Wilmington educates learners across disciplines. Offering 31 online programs to 8,500 distance students, the public institution educates individuals located across the country. Online learners often save money by living in areas with lower costs of living while attending school.

Online enrollees often participate in class discussions through forums and chat. Academic opportunities often include research projects, internships, and independent studies. Academic advisors help learners select classes and ensure they are on track to graduate.

The school offers numerous internal and external funding opportunities to eligible applicants. Students can contact a financial aid officer for information about eligibility requirements for institutional scholarships and fellowships. Financial aid helps 72% of the school's enrollees cover their educational costs.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

North Carolina Central University

  • Durham, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners who need scheduling flexibility can consider North Carolina Central University's online programs. With a main campus in Durham, the school's academic offerings include 22 online programs. The institution enrolls 3,771 online degree-seekers.

The online learning community allows remote students to collaborate with peers through discussion boards and email. Tools such as videoconferencing and discussion boards allow participants to communicate with peers. Many employers prefer candidates with professional experience, which students can gain by completing internships and research projects. Academic advisors help online learners choose courses and stay on track for graduation. Enrollees gain professional and academic guidance through career workshops, mock interviews, and access to career services and academic advising.

Students can pursue financial aid to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Many organizations, such as professional associations, offer scholarships to learners in certain fields. The institution's statistics indicate that 93% of enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,728
Out-of-state
$16,435
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
8,011
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners can access flexible online programs from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Located in Greensboro, the school's academic options include in-person programs and 33 online programs. Of the institution's enrollees, 10,282 study in an online format.

Students can access support and resources through the online learning community. Participants learn alongside colleagues and communicate through email, chat, and discussion boards. In addition to completing internships, students can conduct original research to gain professional experience and impress employers after graduation. Online learners can access academic and professional resources to benefit their studies. During job fairs, enrollees can network with prospective employers and make professional connections.

To reduce the financial burden of higher education, eligible students can apply for financial aid. Learners often benefit from applying to a variety of funding programs, including those offered by private organizations. To defray the cost of their education, 88% of enrollees receive financial aid of some type, according to the institution's statistics.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,422
Out-of-state
$19,581
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
20,196
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Fayetteville State University

  • Fayetteville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students who plan to attend school online can consider Fayetteville State University's remote academic programs. A leader in distance learning, the public school supports 16 remote programs from its main campus in Fayetteville. The institution provides online resources to support its 4,596 distance learners, including virtual library access and tutoring.

In the online classroom environment, enrollees can network with classmates and receive help from professors. Online programs require both general education and field-specific classes, helping learners gain hard and soft skills. Academic advisors help students choose electives that align with their professional aspirations. Enrollees can complete research projects and internships to enhance their resume and impress prospective employers.

With overall costs varying by program, applicants should contact the financial aid office for details regarding the cost of earning a degree. Students can apply for scholarships based on academic merit or personal history.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,982
Out-of-state
$14,590
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
6,551
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

What Are the Goals of an Online Degree?

Online colleges in North Carolina make higher education accessible for students who might not otherwise pursue an undergraduate degree due to their specific life circumstances. The flexibility of online programs allows enrollees to pursue a degree while balancing work and personal responsibilities. Additionally, online degrees often cost less than on-campus degrees.

To further encourage students, colleges and universities offer online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Online enrollees pursue degrees in diverse fields including science, engineering, social work, and nursing.

Why Get an Online Degree?

Online programs provide flexibility and convenience for students who wish to earn a degree without giving up professional and personal responsibilities. The five reasons below contribute to the continued popularity of online programs.

  1. 1

    Earn a Degree in Less Time

    Multiple start dates throughout a school year and accelerated delivery schedules (typically eight-week terms) often allow online enrollees to complete their program ahead of their on-campus counterparts.

  2. 2

    No Career Interruption

    Many students keep working at full-time or part-time jobs while enrolled in an online program, which means they do not suffer loss of income even as they pursue a degree.

  3. 3

    Prepare for Graduate Study

    Most master's programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree for consideration; few make a distinction between applicants holding an on-campus or online degree from an accredited school.

  4. 4

    Expand Educational Options

    Students interested in pursuing a degree not offered by schools in their home state often still achieve their academic and career goals by enrolling in an out-of-state online program.

  5. 5

    Meet Job Requirements

    Many businesses and companies often prefer to hire or promote bachelor's degree-holders for managerial and leadership positions that come with increased responsibilities and higher salaries.

What Are the Requirements for an Online School?

Accredited online schools and programs usually maintain the same requirements for off-campus and on-campus applicants. Online students, however, must ensure they possess the necessary equipment and internet access required by online schools and programs. Above-average technical skills and familiarity with the online learning environment contribute to an online student's academic success.

Off-site programs with internship components (such as nursing or social work degrees) usually allow online enrollees to meet this requirement within their home communities. Just as with admission, degree requirements for online and onsite enrollees usually remain the same.

City Spotlight: Colleges in North Carolina

Raleigh, NC

Raleigh makes up part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, home to firms such as IBM and Fidelity Investments. In proximity to diverse industries that value education — from high tech to chemical engineering, Raleigh thrives on its postsecondary institutions. Within its 144-plus square mile radius, 17 colleges, training centers and universities cluster, serving students looking to further their learning potential and prepare for gainful employment.

Raleigh residents seeking two-year degrees or industry certification can turn to one of the six community colleges. Wake Tech Community College offers students associate degrees and certificates designed to meet their educational or employment goals. With nine campuses, centers and community locations, this local institution serves over 26,000 students with more than 70 credit and 18 non-credit programs.

Going up to four-year degrees and above, Raleigh offers more than 10 institutions that give students additional education options. Of these, North Carolina State University (NCSU), the largest four-year university in North Carolina, offers undergraduate and above programs. This university aids over 34,000 students through 100-plus bachelor's degrees, 100+ master's programs and doctorates in 61 fields.

Colleges in Raleigh, NC

COLLEGESIZETUITIONTYPE
North Carolina State University at Raleigh40,165$5,153Public
Shaw University3,037$10,440Not For Profit (Private)
Meredith College2,316$27,720Not For Profit (Private)
Saint Augustines College1,640$12,364Not For Profit (Private)
William Peace University889$25,686Not For Profit (Private)
Wake Technical Community College26,315$2,128Public

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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