Online Colleges in North Carolina 2021

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North Carolina residents can choose an in-state school to receive reduced tuition rates and expand their professional network. Learners who plan to move to the state after graduation can attend North Carolina online colleges to begin making local connections. While most institutions require students to live in the state for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to receive in-state status, many schools offer reduced tuition rates to online learners.

In North Carolina, online colleges often connect degree-seekers with local resources and businesses. For example, students often participate in internships for college credit. This guide highlights the best colleges in North Carolina and explores the benefits of pursuing an online program in the state.

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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility,
and education needs through an accredited, online school.

The best online colleges in North Carolina offer a quality education at affordable prices. Our ranking of the top online colleges in Washington considers factors such as tuition costs, student-to-teacher ratios, and graduation rates. Availability of financial support, career counseling services, and job placement support also affect rankings. These factors contribute to the program’s overall accessibility and value.

Top 10 Online Colleges in North Carolina

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 Appalachian State University $10491
2 Western Carolina University $15021
3 University of North Carolina at Greensboro $10396
4 University of North Carolina Wilmington $17771
5 North Carolina A & T State University $9378
6 North Carolina Central University $12470
7 University of Mount Olive $
8 Campbell University $
9 Lees-McRae College $
10 William Peace University $

What to Know About Colleges in North Carolina


  • Do online credits cost more or less in North Carolina?

    The cost of attending college in North Carolina varies by school. However, North Carolina residents and online students typically receive the lowest rates. Most schools publish tuition information online.


  • What is the most affordable college in North Carolina?

    State schools in North Carolina, such as Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University, offer some of the lowest tuition rates in the state. Many community colleges also provide affordable programs.


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

    The qualifications for in-state tuition rates vary by institution. However, most schools require learners to maintain residency in North Carolina for at least 12 months prior to enrollment.


Best Online Colleges in North Carolina 2021



See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Boone, App State Online offers students the chance to complete undergraduate transfer programs and graduate degrees as well as certificate options that help advance professional goals.

    Notable bachelor's options include several education programs, as well as a bachelor of science in workforce leadership and development. Students may also seek graduate degrees in fields such as education, social work, or library science. Nursing students can begin with a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing and then move on to a master of science in nursing.

    The school also offers one doctoral program online: a doctor of education in educational leadership. Online graduate certificate options include autism, new media literacies and global perspectives, nursing education, and online learning and professional development.

    All undergraduate programs require students to hold an associate degree or the bachelor's credit equivalent, and students must meet transfer credit minimums. Graduate applicants must check with their chosen department to verify admissions requirements.

    App State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Cullowhee, WCU Online offers graduate and undergraduate programs both online and in a hybrid format.

    Undergraduate students can choose bachelor's programs in fields such as education, business administration, and emergency and disaster management. Graduate options include construction management, nursing, and project management, as well as several education programs. Online certificate options in education and health allow students in both fields to hone their skills in a specific area.

    First-year applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores and transcripts to show a competitive GPA. Transfer students must possess a competitive GPA as well. Graduate applicants must adhere to the individual admissions criteria of their chosen program.

    WCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Greensboro, UNCG Online offers the flexibility of online learning for both undergraduate and graduate students.

    UNCG offers unique degree pathways from the typical online options. Notable bachelor's programs include peace and conflict studies, philosophy, and entrepreneurship, as well as an interdisciplinary liberal arts choice. Master's programs include education, international business, sustainability and environment, and the next level of peace and conflict studies.

    Online graduate certificate choices offer further education, with options including business analytics, cybersecurity, taxation, nonprofit management, and nursing administration.

    First-year applicants must send GPA and SAT or ACT scores, but the school does not specify minimum requirements. Transfer students must possess at least 24 transferrable credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA to apply for online programs. Graduate requirements vary by department, but they may include prior work experience or standardized test requirements.

    UNCG is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Wilmington, UNCW Online offers options for students seeking bachelor's and graduate degrees with the flexibility of an online education.

    Bachelor's programs include clinical research, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies, or international studies. Nursing students can take advantage of a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing, as well as a master of science in nursing program. Master's level students can choose from 25 programs, including options in education, healthcare administration, and conflict management and resolution — as well as several accelerated business administration choices.

    Students need a minimum 2.5 GPA to apply, but competitive applicants must possess a much higher GPA. First-year applicants must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum GPA of 2.5 on all transferrable credits. Graduate applicants must check with their chosen department for individual requirements, but many require GRE or GMAT scores.

    UNCW is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. North Carolina A & T State University
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Greensboro, A&T Online offers both undergraduate and graduate programs with flexible scheduling and no residency requirements.

    The school offers unique bachelor's options, including programs in geomatics, applied cultural thought, economics, or agricultural education. Master's options include several education and teaching programs, as well as programs in technology management and business administration. Students may also complete certificates in in-demand fields like cybersecurity, data analytics, and financial planning.

    First-year applicants must complete the University of North Carolina system minimum course requirements and submit SAT or ACT scores (waived for 2021). Students over 21 need proof of high school equivalency. Admitted students generally possess an average GPA of 3.62. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA for eligibility. Graduate application requirements vary depending on the chosen department.

    N.C. A&T is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. North Carolina Central University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Durham, NCCU Online offers undergraduate and graduate programs with the flexibility of online education. Students may also choose to pursue certificate programs or hybrid program offerings.

    The school offers bachelor's of both arts and sciences in fields like environmental and geographic sciences, criminal justice, nursing, and psychology. Master's programs include information science, library science, school administration, and mathematics. Other highly sought-after fields include computational engineering or educational technology.

    First-year applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their overall admissions packet. Students may choose from three different yearly start dates. Graduate applicants should check individual department criteria for standardized test, work experience, or prerequisite requirements for admission.

    NCCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. University of Mount Olive
    Location

    Mount Olive, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Mount Olive, UMO Online offers undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults.

    Students can begin with an associate degree in general studies before moving on to several bachelor of science or arts choices, including early childhood education, religion, and finance. Undergraduate options also include a bachelor's of business administration. Graduate students can choose a master of business administration, a master of education, and three master of nursing programs. The school also offers an online teacher licensure program.

    Adult undergraduate applicants need proof of high school graduation or the equivalent. Graduate applicants must comply with the individual department requirements for their chosen field, including any standardized test requirements like GMAT or GRE scores, as well as work experience or prerequisite requirements.

    UMO is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Campbell University
    Location

    Buies Creek, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Buies Creek, Campbell Online offers students a variety of undergraduate and graduate online program choices. Students can also take part in certificate programs or add an online minor to their undergraduate degree.

    Associate degree choices include options in behavioral studies, business administration, and homeland security. Bachelor's options include programs in accounting, criminal justice, liberal arts, and business administration. Students can choose from two graduate degrees, a master of business administration or a doctor of health sciences. The school also offers a certificate in Christian studies as well as a series of online minors like accounting, psychology, or IT security.

    First-year applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 (2.5 for education majors) and submit SAT or ACT scores. The school accepts applications on a rolling basis and requires all first-time college students to undergo entry assessment and counseling. Graduate applicants must follow the specific requirements of their chosen program.

    Campbell is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Lees-McRae College
    Location

    Banner Elk, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in the city of Banner Elk, Lees-McRae Online offers several bachelor's programs and one master's degree path.

    Bachelor's students can choose from programs in business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, or human services. Nursing students can also further their education with a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing track. The school also offers a master of arts in teaching program.

    The bachelor's options are degree completion programs, requiring students to take lower-division courses elsewhere or transfer in associate degree credits (or the bachelor's equivalent).

    Students can choose from one of four start dates per year. Students should follow the individual department requirements for each degree completion program, including all prerequisite or pre-licensure requirements. Some programs may require standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Graduate applicants must submit GRE scores with a minimum score of 135 in both verbal and quantitative and a 3.5 in analytical writing. Graduate applicants must also possess a minimum GPA of 2.75.

    Lees-McRae is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. William Peace University
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Raleigh, WPU Online offers students degree completion programs in accelerated formats. Students can choose undergraduate programs from several fields. The school offers programs in hybrid or 100% online formats so students may continue with their work or life responsibilities.

    Accelerated bachelor's options include programs in business administration, strategic communication, interdisciplinary studies, and education. Students can choose from several education licensure programs as well. The school also offers an online registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program.

    First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. The school of professional studies programs also require some lower-division transfer credits to apply. Students should speak with an admissions counselor to verify all application requirements.

    WPU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Why Choose North Carolina for Online Higher Education?

Students can attend North Carolina online colleges to form professional connections in the state. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the state’s key industries include food processing and manufacturing, business and financial services, and aerospace and defense. Learners interested in pursuing a career in one of these fields often benefit from attending a school located in North Carolina.

Common Online Bachelor’s Programs in North Carolina



Each institution designs unique program curricula. However, the following descriptions represent typical curriculum components for five common undergraduate majors.

Biology students learn about living organisms. Coursework typically explores chemical processes and how molecules react. Additionally, learners examine the interactions between various species and their environments. Students complete experiments and research projects, and graduates often become biologists, professors, and healthcare workers.

Learners in the business field develop knowledge in marketing, supply chain management, leadership, and finance. Most business programs allow participants to choose an emphasis, minor, or concentration. Business degree-holders can become entrepreneurs, CEOs, and managers.

A communication degree covers topics including interpersonal communication and mass communication. Learners prepare to effectively use communication tools including social media, newsletters, media placement, and influencer marketing. Communication professionals can work at nonprofits, small businesses, and large corporations. They often manage a team, which may include public relations coordinators and event planners.

Degree-seekers learn about the algorithms and theories that guide the computer science field. Learners also explore common computer software programs and prepare to troubleshoot common technological issues. Graduates of computer science programs can become information technology specialists, software developers, user-experience coders, and computer network architects.

Psychology programs explore human behavior and related theories. Curricula typically cover common mental health disorders, along with therapies and medications used as treatments. Most psychology programs focus on cognitive, developmental, behavioral, and neural studies. Graduates often become counselors, therapists, and psychologists.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Cost of Attending an Online College in North Carolina



Students attending North Carolina online colleges often save money over on-campus programs. Most schools waive campus maintenance and student activity fees for distance learners. Typically, online students also save money on transportation and housing costs. In addition to tuition, learners should budget for the cost of books and required technology.

The exact cost of attending school in North Carolina varies greatly, but the table below shows the average undergraduate tuition rates in the state. Most colleges and universities publish specific tuition information online. Students should also contact each prospective school’s admissions department to learn about financial aid packages.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in North Carolina
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $7,174 $33,990 $2,504
Out-of-State $22,968 N/A $8,655

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in North Carolina



Many individuals in North Carolina pursue careers in the growing business and technology industries. The following list features common positions for graduates of North Carolina online colleges. The table highlights each occupation’s median annual salary and projected job growth.


  • Financial Managers

    Financial managers oversee mid-level and entry-level financial professionals. These managers develop big-picture ideas and facilitate changes to enhance the financial status of an organization. Some financial managers work as consultants who oversee investments for individuals. Others work within an organization. While a bachelor’s degree can qualify holders for roles as financial managers, many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.


  • Marketing Managers

    Marketing managers work with social media coordinators, graphic designers, commercial photographers, and writers to produce campaigns. These professionals often work for advertising companies or large corporations. They oversee the visual and written communication messages of advertisements and motivate customers to purchase products and services.


  • Sales Managers

    Experienced sales associates often secure sales management positions. Sales managers assign associates to territories and motivate them to meet sales quotas. These professionals also design promotions and sales campaigns.


  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

    Computer and information systems managers solve technological issues, develop new software, and prevent computer failures. These professionals need strong planning skills to oversee their organization’s computer-related activities. These managers also recommend technological upgrades to increase business efficiency.


  • Actuaries

    Actuaries use financial theories to analyze the cost of risk and uncertainty in business operations such as investments and insurance policies. These professionals use statistical data to provide recommendations to top executives. Actuaries often use visual charts to present findings to clients and executives.


Highest-Paying Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree in North Carolina
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Financial Managers $129,890 15%
Marketing Managers $135,900 6%
Sales Managers $126,640 4%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360 10%
Actuaries $108,350 18%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

North Carolina Scholarships and Grants



While many of the best colleges in North Carolina offer reduced tuition rates for online learners, students can further lower the cost of education with scholarships and grants. Most awards feature competitive applicant pools, and scholarship applications often require essays and recommendation letters. To increase their chances of receiving aid, learners should allow time to apply for multiple scholarships and grants.

  • Golden LEAF 2-Year Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: Learners who reside in an economically distressed or tobacco-dependent rural North Carolina region may qualify for the scholarship. Recipients must attend a community college in North Carolina.

    Amount: $750 per semester

    Explore Here

  • North Carolina Reach

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports individuals who were in the North Carolina foster care system. Applicants must have either aged out of the system at age 18 or been adopted after age 12.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

  • Penn Family Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Residents of Rockingham County, North Carolina, can apply for the scholarship. Applicants must complete the FAFSA form and demonstrate financial need. Recipients can apply these funds to their studies at any University of North Carolina campus.

    Amount: Up to $3,000

    Explore Here

  • Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Students with a history of leadership and community service involvement can qualify for the scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to positively impacting LGBTQ+ issues.

    Amount: $1,500-$3,000

    Explore Here

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