North Carolina Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in North Carolina

North Carolina takes pride in the variety of online distance education choices that can be found within this state. Fully online degree programs in North Carolina rival similar programs that can be found on a traditional campus. In some cases the degrees and certifications granted online are even identical to those issued on-site. Thanks to excellent online programs that often employ the same professors and provide identical curriculum, North Carolina online colleges are unsurpassed. We’ve compiled a complete list of online schools in North Carolina. From lowest tuition to highest, this list will aid you in determining which online college in North Carolina will best fit your needs.

Click here to see our methodology.

Fayetteville State University

1200 Murchison Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28301-4298

Fayetteville State University offers online courses to complete the bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sociology, Fire Science and Business Administration. Online degree programs are planned for the near future in RN to BSN and Birth to Kindergarten Education. Graduate online degree programs include the master’s in Criminal Justice and Business Administration.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

Our approach is holistic. We believe in training and supporting faculty in the development and teaching of high quality online courses. We also believe in preparing and supporting students to be successful in the online environment to make receiving an education at a distance as obstacle free as possible.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Small class sizes, dedicated faculty, and campus wide services and support for students at a distance make FSU a desirable option.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

We see the number and types of programs continuing to grow, and the commitment to faculty and student development also strengthening. We intend to stay on the cusp of emerging technologies and teaching as we learn new methods to meet the needs of our students.

University of North Carolina at Pembroke - Online

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

One University Drive, Pembroke, North Carolina 28372-1510

University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers online college degree completion courses for undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice; Sociology; Birth to Kindergarten Education; Interdisciplinary Studies in Applied Professional Studies, Applied Information Technology, and Criminal Justice; and Business Administration in Economics, Finance or Management. Online master’s degree programs are offered in Physical Education, Elementary Education and Public Administration.


Apex School of Theology

2945 South Miami Blvd Ste 114, Durham, North Carolina 27703

Pursue a faith-based education without attending campus classes. The accredited Apex School of Theology distance education program provides the opportunity to take affordable, online courses leading to an associate degree in Christian Education or a bachelor’s degree in Theology. Master’s degree programs are available in Christian Education, Christian Counseling an Divinity.


Winston-Salem State University

601 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27110-0001

Study online at Winston-Salem State University for certification in teaching English as a Second Language, Non-Profit Leadership, and Cross Cultural Competence for Health-Related Professions. The university offers degree programs online for a bachelor's in Clinical Laboratory Science, Interdisciplinary Studies Concentration in Integrative Studies, Birth to Kindergarten Education, RN-BSN and for a master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling.


North Carolina A & T State University

1601 E Market St, Greensboro, North Carolina 27411

For more than 100 years North Carolina A & T State University has been committed to serving non-traditional students who require the flexibility of distance learning. Today they offer these students the flexibility of a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree program delivered over the Internet where they can access and participate in classes at times that fit their schedules.


Lees-McRae College

191 Main Street, Banner Elk, North Carolina 28604

In 2014 Lees-McRae College begins offering three accredited online bachelor’s degree programs that may be completed in two years. The Criminal Justice program is designed to be taken completely online and leads to a BAAS. The Human Services degree program leads to a Bachelor of Science. The RN to BSN Nursing program is for nurses with a two-year degree.


East Carolina University

East 5th Street, Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353

As a pioneer in online education, East Carolina University offers an extensive number of classes in an online format for distance learners and those students who have to juggle work and family responsibilities while completing school. Students can access coursework and participate 24/7. On-campus ECU faculty teach the online courses. Course requirements and examinations are the same as on-campus classes.


University of North Carolina at Asheville

One University Hts, Asheville, North Carolina 28804-8510

Online courses offered through the University of North Carolina at Asheville are part of their Distance Education program which also offers classes at off-campus sites and through teleconferencing. Online courses are suitable for lateral entry teachers, correctional students and non-degree seeking students. Online classes are accessed through OnePort and enrolled student also have privileges to use the Ramsey Library.


Western Carolina University

Highway 107, Cullowhee, North Carolina 28723-9646

Western Carolina University offers online college and certificate programs at the graduate level for students who hold baccalaureate degrees from regionally accredited schools. Distance education online is available to earn a master’s degree in Construction Management, Entrepreneurship, Health Sciences, Human Resources, Special Education, Nurse Educator, Nurse Administration, Project Management and School Administration.


Appalachian State University

Dougherty Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina 28608

Appalachian State University welcomes transfer students to take online classes from their array of distance education online courses. Undergraduate students in upper level courses and graduate students with a baccalaureate who are seeking a master’s degree or graduate certificate can apply for online classes in their respective fields of study.


University of North Carolina at Greensboro

1000 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, North Carolina 27402-6170

University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers a vast array of online courses leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates to help further your career plans. Take advantage of online education for its convenience and flexibility. Choose from Business, Liberal Studies, Health Care, Education, African American Studies, Global Studies and more for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.


University of North Carolina at Wilmington

601 South College Road, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403-5963

University of North Carolina at Wilmington is ranked as one of the top master’s degree-focused universities in the South. They offer online graduate degree programs in Chemistry, Clinical Research, Education and Liberal Studies. Online bachelor’s degree programs include Clinical Research, Elementary Education, and Nursing (RN to BSN). Classes are conducted using the online course management system, Blackboard.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill administers online college classes for students requiring distance education options. Undergraduate credit-based courses are available spring and fall semesters and for an extended summer session. Graduate programs online offer certificates in Business, Journalism and Mass Communication, Nursing, Public Health, Social Work and Allied Health Sciences.


North Carolina State University at Raleigh

2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7001

North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers distance learning programs in undergraduate, graduate degrees and certificates. Programs include Engineering, Technology, Science, Education and more. Online college programs are fully accredited and taught by NC State’s regular faculty. Class participation and completion of coursework is required as with on campus classes, but flexible online attendance makes this format convenient for working adults.


Laurel University

1215 Eastchester Drive, High Point, North Carolina 27265-3115

Laurel University offers individual courses or entire degree programs online. Study from home or wherever you have Internet access, any time of the day or night. Interaction online among students and teachers is as effective as in an onsite classroom. Keep your job, take care of family responsibilities and save on commuting to campus with an online education.


Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

401 Medical Park Drive, Concord, North Carolina 28025-3959

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences offers online and hybrid degree programs in Nursing, Health Services Leadership and Management (HSLM), and Pharmacy Technology. The RN to BSN bachelor’s degree program is completely online except for one course that requires three in-person class meetings. The HSLM has some online instruction and the Pharmacy Technology program is a hybrid of both formats.


Mount Olive College

634 Henderson St, Mount Olive, North Carolina 28365-0919

Mount Olive College provides three online degree programs. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology gives professionals in related fields an opportunity to enhance their knowledge base. The RN to BSN online degree program allows licensed, registered nurses with a diploma to complete a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. The MBA program is fully online for busy professionals.


Montreat College

310 Gaither Circle, Montreat, North Carolina 28757-1267

Montreat College’s online degree programs provide the same high standards and Christian foundation of their on-campus classes. The difference is that they provide convenience to adult students with families and work responsibilities. Pursue an associate degree in Business or General Studies; a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or Psychology and Human Services; or master’s in Management and Leadership.


Pfeiffer University

48380 US Hwy 52N, Misenheimer, North Carolina 28109

Online classes provide convenience for working professionals and adults with family responsibilities. Pfeiffer University offers master’s degree programs completely online in the areas of Business Administration, Health Administration, Leadership and Organizational Change and dual degrees in Business/Health Administration and Health Administration/Leadership and Organizational Change. Online adult studies are available in Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Health Administration.


Salem College

601 S Church St, Winston Salem, North Carolina 27101

Salem College offers an online program leading to a Master of Education in School Counseling. The research-driven program allows educators to enhance their skills and knowledge in preparation for a career as a school counselor. The course is designed to be completed in 36 months through a combination of online coursework, internships and two weekend seminars on the Salem Campus.


Gardner-Webb University

Main St, Boiling Springs, North Carolina 28017-0997

Gardner-Webb University allows students with 60 to 64 credit hours to enter their distance education program and complete a bachelor’s degree online. Programs include Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Computer Information Systems, Healthcare Management, Nursing, Religion and Multidisciplinary Studies. Online graduate degree programs are offered in Nursing, Business Administration, International Business Administration and Accounting.


Campbell University

450 Leslie Campbell Ave, Buies Creek, North Carolina 27506

Campbell University online programs are designed for students who want to pursue an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree. Associate degree programs include Business, Information Technology Security or Management, and General Education. Bachelors of Applied Science degree programs include Business, Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, and Information Technology Security or Management. A master’s degree program is available in Education.


Greensboro College

815 W Market St, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401-1875

Complete a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration online at Greensboro College. Launching in January of 2014, the BCJA program offers students with an associate degree or minimum of 30 transferable college credit hours the opportunity to pursue this degree. Greensboro also offers an online, two-year, cohort bachelor’s degree completion program in Business Administration.


North Carolina Wesleyan College

3400 N Wesleyan Blvd, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804

North Carolina Wesleyan College offers course programs leading to a bachelor’s degree that do not require campus residency. Adult learners can attend classes online through the Adult Student Programs: Innovative, Respected, & Engaging (ASPIRE) program. Courses run five or eight weeks. Online and hybrid classes (a mix of online and onsite classes) are available.


Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte

Academic Center, 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202

Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte offers unique online degree programs for busy professionals. The Bachelor of Science in Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management and Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts & Food Service Management for third and fourth year students develop management skills. Students with a bachelor’s degree may choose the MBA program with a concentration in Hospitality.


Methodist University

5400 Ramsey St, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28311-1420

Methodist University offers a liberal arts education to students all over the world through its online classes. Using the Internet, email, chat rooms and threaded discussions, students and faculty interact providing the same exchange of ideas experienced in an on-campus classroom. Online classes offered each semester are subject to change.


Queens University of Charlotte

1900 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, North Carolina 28274-0001

Queens University of Charlotte online degree programs provide instruction to students all over the country and the world. The school’s associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs have accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Online master’s degree programs are offered in Educational Leadership, Communication and Nursing.


Guilford College

5800 W Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina 27410-4108

Guilford College has a long history offering degree programs for adult learners in North Carolina. Guilford provides services and support to smooth the path for adult students, and the high graduation rate of their students demonstrates the fruits of their efforts. In addition to campus classes, Guilford also offers a variety of hybrid courses (online + in-person) for the convenience of parents and working adults.


Wake Forest University

1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston Salem, North Carolina 27106

Wake Forest University Department of Counseling offers the Master of Arts in Counseling degree online. The program stresses the importance of counseling and clinical skills and support for the students’ mastery of core studies and their specialty areas. More than a path to a degree, this program provides eligibility to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCC).


Duke University

103 Allen Bldg, Durham, North Carolina 27708

Duke University offers online coursework through Duke Continuing Studies and free online classes in partnership with California-based Coursera. The continuing education program is designed for students seeking certificates as Legal Nurse Consultants, Paralegals, and in Non-Profit Management. Coursera online classes are offered globally and feature such diverse subjects as introductory Astronomy, Sports and Society, and Data Analysis and Statistical Inference.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in North Carolina

North Carolina has the tenth largest population in the country to go along with their interesting history. The state has large cities, such as Raleigh and Charlotte, as well as many smaller communities. Most of the residents in the state will put quite a bit of emphasis on the importance of education, knowing that having a degree is going to make it so much easier to get a good job and to earn a real living. 84.3% of the state residents have a high school diploma. 26.5% of the residents have bachelor’s degrees and higher and even 8.8% of the residents have advanced degree. In order to do well in life, one needs to have a good education, and the state offers a number of schools that can help. In addition, affordable online colleges in North Carolina are making it easier for people to get a good education.

Pursuing a Degree in North Carolina

Going to school in North Carolina can be a great experience, and today, you have options on just how you want to go to school. It is true that you will be able to go to one of the many traditional schools in the state if you choose. They have 68 two-year or more schools and 74 four-year or more schools from which students will be able to choose. However, the traditional method of schooling might not be right for all, and choosing affordable online schools in North Carolina could be a better option for many students today. The online classes through the best schools are on par with any other education you can find. With your connection to the net, you are going to be able start earning your degree right away. You should be able to earn everything from your associate’s degree through to a doctorate through online schools.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in North Carolina

You are probably wondering just why so many students are choosing to go to affordable online colleges in North Carolina. They wouldn’t be doing it if there weren’t plenty of advantages. For starters, you will find that the online schools today can offer high quality programs that rival the traditional schools. They are able to provide you with the tools that you need to do well and get your degree, and you can study in many different fields. For example, you could get your degree in art or business, computer science, engineering, education and more. Another one of the benefits that everyone is sure to love is the convenience of taking courses online. Instead of rushing to the campus and trying to find a place to park, you are going to be able to get take the course as soon as your schedule allows for it.

Saving Money with Online Education

Quite a few students worry that they are not going to be able to go to school because the cost is going to be too much for them. This can be a downright frustrating time. When you look at the cost of the average public two-year school in North Carolina, you will see that it is $2,161, while the four-year school is about $6,220 on average. You could instead look for affordable online colleges in North Carolina that will be able to help you save.

You know that you need to have a degree, and now it is easy to find a school to help you achieve your goals. If you are looking for a great college experience that will help you get a degree, online classes are a great choice. Take some time to look at the different programs that are available and find one that is going to work for you.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in North Carolina
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in North Carolina

When it comes to dollars and cents, not all educations are equal. The school you attend can influence your future finances. We’ve highlighted the top colleges in North Carolina with low net costs (tuition + fees), and whose graduates earn top dollar over their lifetimes when compared to non-degree holders. Because we believe firmly in data integrity, all statistics come from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS),, and the Carnegie Foundation. See how North Carolina schools rank:

Click here to see our methodology.
North Carolina Colleges Analyzed: 192
North Carolina Colleges Ranked: 35
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 Duke University Durham $1,146,000 $44,020 Private not-for-profit
2 Wake Forest University Winston Salem $904,100 $43,200 Private not-for-profit
3 North Carolina State University (NCSU) Raleigh $832,600 $7,788 Public (In-State)
4 North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC) Rocky Mount $659,200 $25,760 Private not-for-profit
5 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Chapel Hill $652,100 $7,693 Public (In-State)
6 University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) Charlotte $565,600 $5,873 Public (In-State)
7 North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro $561,200 $5,059 Public (In-State)
8 High Point University High Point $447,000 $30,715 Private not-for-profit
9 Davidson College Davidson $405,100 $40,809 Private not-for-profit
10 Elon University Elon $391,800 $28,980 Private not-for-profit
11 East Carolina University (ECU) Greenville $386,400 $5,869 Public (In-State)
12 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte $383,900 $27,576 Private not-for-profit
13 Guilford College Greensboro $367,500 $31,380 Private not-for-profit
14 Campbell University Buies Creek $357,000 $25,000 Private not-for-profit
15 Catawba College Salisbury $347,800 $26,040 Private not-for-profit
16 Western Carolina University Cullowhee $344,000 $5,925 Public (In-State)
17 Appalachian State University Boone $306,500 $6,059 Public (In-State)
18 North Carolina Central University Durham $300,900 $5,200 Public (In-State)
19 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte, NC Charlotte $290,500 $26,412 Private not-for-profit
20 University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Greensboro $259,900 $6,136 Public (In-State)
21 University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) Wilmington $253,300 $6,199 Public (In-State)
22 Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory $219,900 $27,718 Private not-for-profit
23 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem $214,500 $4,941 Public (In-State)
24 Mount Olive College Mount Olive $169,000 $16,800 Private not-for-profit
25 Barton College Wilson $165,600 $24,180 Private not-for-profit
26 Mars Hill University Mars Hill $161,100 $24,536 Private not-for-profit
27 Wingate University Wingate $131,400 $23,845 Private not-for-profit
28 Methodist University Fayetteville $117,200 $27,070 Private not-for-profit
29 University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) Asheville $111,200 $5,916 Public (In-State)
30 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs $107,300 $24,450 Private not-for-profit
31 Johnson C Smith University Charlotte $85,940 $18,236 Private not-for-profit
32 University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) Pembroke $81,690 $4,857 Public (In-State)
33 Salem College Winston Salem $53,360 $23,839 Private not-for-profit
34 Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) Elizabeth City $51,140 $4,150 Public (In-State)
35 Belmont Abbey College Belmont $19,240 $27,622 Private not-for-profit