Online Colleges in North Carolina

Updated on: 06/01/2020
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According to projections from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the state will add close to 400,000 new jobs by 2026. The agency projects a significant increase in jobs for healthcare, computer, and technical services professionals and a decline in positions for manufacturing and production workers. As soon as 2020, 67% of jobs in the state will require some postsecondary education. Expanding opportunities for college-educated workers makes now a great time to earn an online degree in North Carolina.

This guide ranks the top affordable online colleges in North Carolina and provides important information on financial aid, admissions deadlines, and finding the best online programs.

North Carolina's Top Affordable Online Colleges

Best Online Colleges

The colleges below represent some of the best and cheapest options for online programs in North Carolina. These schools combine academic excellence and low tuition costs to give students the most value for their dollar. We ranked these schools based on quantitative metrics such as graduation rate and in-state tuition cost, along with qualitative factors like availability of career advising services and academic resources. Review the following list to learn more about the best affordable online universities in North Carolina.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
1 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
$10,491 Tuition
72% Graduation Rate

Appalachian State University serves over 19,000 students on its campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains and online. The public institution emphasizes global citizenship, engagement, and sustainability. Appalachian also offers some of the best online degrees in the state. At Appalachian, online learners enrolled in bachelor's degree-completion programs earn their undergraduate degrees in a flexible learning environment.

Appalachian offers online bachelor's degrees in child development, communication studies, and management. Distance learners can also major in nursing through the RN-to-BSN program. Students interested in leadership roles can earn a bachelor's degree in workforce leadership and development. The career and technical education major at Appalachian offers the state's only licensing program for career and technical educators.

The school's online programs appeal to working professionals seeking a flexible route to a bachelor's degree. Appalachian offers a significant tuition discount for North Carolina residents.

2 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
$10,396 Tuition
53% Graduation Rate

A public institution with over 20,000 students, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro emphasizes learner-centered education. Founded in 1891, UNCG now offers online bachelor's degrees that prioritize flexibility. These programs help students balance school with work and family responsibilities through a convenient learning format. UNCG supports online learners with student services and resources.

At UNCG, online learners complete courses in seven-week terms. Many programs integrate hands-on projects to teach practical skills. Online students major in supply chain management, public health, entrepreneurship, and business administration at UNCG. UNCG also offers a liberal arts degree in which students choose a social sciences, humanities, or professional studies track.

In the online integrated professional studies major, learners study design thinking, data analysis, and systems thinking. UNCG also offers majors in philosophy, human development, and peace and conflict studies. Online learners at UNCG pay a lower tuition rate than on-campus students.

3 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
$19,197 Tuition
53% Graduation Rate

A private Christian school founded in 1905, Gardner-Webb University integrates a Christian worldview into its academic programs. Gardner-Webb grants undergraduate degrees from its Boiling Springs campus and online. The university's online bachelor's programs provide an accessible learning environment wherein students complete coursework around other responsibilities.

Gardner-Webb's degree-completion programs date back to 1978. At Gardner-Webb, online students major in business fields like accounting, organizational leadership, management, and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship major integrates faith into a global business education, while the management program trains students for leadership roles.

Online learners can also major in Christian ministry, criminal justice, education, healthcare management, or human services. In the elementary education program, learners study learning theories and gain useful techniques for educating young learners.

4 North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro, NC
$9,378 Tuition
53% Graduation Rate

A public research institution and the country's largest historically black university, North Carolina A&T State University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with an emphasis on STEM fields. Founded in 1892, N.C. A&T now offers online bachelor's degrees for students seeking flexibility. N.C. A&T's accessible programs support students through academic advising and student services.

At N.C. A&T, online learners can earn a bachelor's in agricultural education. The degree-completion program prepares graduates for certification as agricultural educators. Online students can also major in business information technology, economics, or geomatics. The geomatics program leads to professional licensure through a curriculum focused on science, engineering, and geospatial analysis.

N.C. A&T also offers an online bachelor's degree in liberal studies with a focus on African-American studies. Drawing on the university's history, the program prepares graduates for graduate programs or careers in public administration, humanities, or education.

5 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
$22,458 Tuition
53% Graduation Rate

A private institution founded by a Baptist minister in 1887, Campbell University grants degrees from its campus in Buies Creek. Today, Campbell serves 6,800 students and offers online bachelor's degrees tailored to the needs of working professionals. At Campbell, online learners complete coursework in eight-week terms.

With extensive bachelor's options, Campbell helps students find the program that best fits their personal interests or professional goals. Campbell offers majors in accounting, business administration, communication studies, criminal justice, and cybersecurity. Online learners can also major in information technology security, homeland security, humanities, or elementary education.

In addition to its bachelor of arts and bachelor of science programs, Campbell offers online bachelor's programs in applied sciences, which provide career-focused training in business, criminal justice, homeland security, and information technology security. Campbell offers a significant tuition discount for military students.

6 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
$12,470 Tuition
46% Graduation Rate

A public, historically black university located in Durham, North Carolina Central University dates back to 1909. In addition to on-campus programs, NCCU offers online bachelor's degrees that provide engaging learning experiences through a convenient schedule. Created for students with a busy schedule, NCCU's online programs create an interactive, community-driven learning experience. Distance learners also benefit from career services programs, including internships.

NCCU's online majors include behavioral and social sciences, criminal justice, early childhood education, hospitality and tourism administration, and psychology. NCCU also offers an online RN-to-BSN program designed for working nurses. Most programs emphasize an interdisciplinary curriculum and problem-solving skills. Graduates build critical thinking, decision-making, and analytical abilities during their degree.

In addition to online classes, NCCU incorporates experiential learning through field experience, clinical requirements, and internship opportunities. As a public institution, NCCU offers affordable tuition rates to North Carolina residents.

7 Fayetteville State University Fayetteville, NC
$5,685 Tuition
35% Graduation Rate

A historically black public institution, Fayetteville State University dates back to 1867. At FSU, students with prior college credits can enroll in online bachelor's programs to complete an undergraduate degree. FSU's programs allow transfer students who have already completed general education requirements to earn a bachelor's degree through a flexible format.

Online degree-completion programs at FSU include majors in sociology, intelligence studies, and business administration. Within these majors, students complete courses that build essential transferable skills. FSU also offers online programs in criminal justice, psychology, nursing, and emergency services administration.

The professional studies major at FSU offers an interdisciplinary course of study for online learners. By emphasizing critical thinking, communication, and 21st century skills, the professional studies program prepares graduates for leadership roles in multiple industries. FSU provides North Carolina residents with a significant tuition discount.

8 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
$13,746 Tuition
65% Graduation Rate

From its campus in Greenville, East Carolina University serves over 23,000 undergraduate students. The public institution, which dates back to 1907, welcomes students to its 1,600-acre campus near the Tar River. ECU also offers online bachelor's degrees for transfer students seeking a flexible route to complete an undergraduate degree.

ECU offers online degree-completion programs in business, communication, education, and healthcare, in addition to nursing and industrial technology. In the business program, majors choose from concentrations like management, marketing, or supply chain management. In the healthcare field, ECU grants online degrees in health information management, health services management, and nursing.

Online students can also earn a university studies degree at ECU. The alternate degree option accepts students with prior coursework. University studies majors design a personalized degree plan with a faculty advisor based on their prior credits and academic interests. ECU offers a significant tuition discount to North Carolina residents.

9 Pfeiffer University Misenheimer, NC
$19,554 Tuition
43% Graduation Rate

Pfeiffer University, a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church, operates a regional network of campuses, including locations in Misenheimer, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham. The university also offers online bachelor's degrees designed for students with transfer credits. The degree-completion programs at Pfeiffer offer an asynchronous format that appeals to working professionals and students with busy schedules.

At Pfeiffer, online learners can access course material 24/7. The university offers majors in business, education, and health sciences. Pfeiffer's business management and leadership degree emphasizes problem-solving skills through a curriculum focused on the major areas of business. The criminal justice program prepares learners for careers in law enforcement or criminology.

Pfeiffer also offers online degrees in health administration and nursing. The healthcare administration program introduces students to the business and economic policies that shape the healthcare system, preparing graduates for leadership roles.

10 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
$14,771 Tuition
81% Graduation Rate

A public research institution, North Carolina State University serves over 36,000 students. In addition to on-campus programs, NC State offers online bachelor's degrees.

At NC State, online programs use synchronous and asynchronous models, providing opportunities to engage with instructors and fellow students or complete coursework at any time. Online majors at NC State include bachelor's programs in leadership, with a focus on the public sector. Students with an associate degree or 60 college credits study ethical, theoretical, and policy analytical skills in the leadership major.

NC State also offers a leadership major designed for military students. The program serves active-duty service members, with the option to take exams from anywhere in the world. If students begin the program while stationed in North Carolina, they pay in-state tuition throughout their degree.

11 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem, NC
$11,142 Tuition
48% Graduation Rate

Founded in 1892 as a historically black university, Winston-Salem State University promotes creative thinking as a public institution. WSSU offers online bachelor's degrees through its distance-learning program. By offering engaging academic material through a flexible online format, WSSU helps students complete a bachelor's degree.

WSSU offers online bachelor's degrees in clinical laboratory science, nursing, interdisciplinary studies, and birth-to-kindergarten education. In the clinical laboratory science major, students apply their knowledge of biology and chemistry to diagnose and treat diseases. The major prepares graduates for roles in many clinical and research settings.

WSSU's interdisciplinary studies program offers a custom-fit major for students. Majors combine coursework from two or more academic areas to design a multidisciplinary degree.

The online bachelor's programs at WSSU build problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork skills through an accessible learning environment. The programs appeal to motivated students, transfer students, and working professionals.

12 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
$17,771 Tuition
73% Graduation Rate

A public institution in historic Wilmington, the University of North Carolina Wilmington offers on-campus and online degrees. The university serves nearly 15,000 undergraduates and lets students earn a bachelor's degree online. UNCW's distance-learning options provide an accessible option for students with busy schedules. The convenient learning format provides coursework in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

UNCW designs its online programs to incorporate interactive and engaging learning opportunities. Online learners major in clinical research, criminology, elementary education, international studies, and nursing at UNCW. The clinical research program provides specialized training and experience in a growing field.

The university's online learning options also include an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree wherein formerly enrolled students design a customized degree plan, with focus options in international studies, science, human behavior, and the humanities. By choosing an online degree at UNCW, students benefit from low tuition rates and an accessible learning format.

13 Montreat College Montreat, NC
$21,454 Tuition
43% Graduation Rate

A private Christian school, Montreat College dates back to 1916. The college, located outside Asheville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, serves traditional and working students. The School of Adult and Graduate Studies at Montreat offers online bachelor's degrees that blend academic knowledge with a Christian perspective.

Montreat College's flexible online programs offer majors in business administration, psychology, criminal justice, and cybersecurity. The business administration program balances theory and practical experience, while the cybersecurity degree teaches an ethical approach to the field, preparing graduates for in-demand careers.

The college also offers online bachelor's degrees in human resource management, marketing, management, and religion. These programs emphasize leadership abilities and ethical reasoning. Students pay tuition rates nearly 25% lower than the national average for private colleges. The college reports that 99% of students receive some form of financial aid, including VA benefits, grants, scholarships, and loans.

14 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
$15,021 Tuition
59% Graduation Rate

From its 600-acre campus in Cullowhee, Western Carolina University serves over 12,000 students. In addition to granting degrees from its main campus near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, WCU allows students to earn a bachelor's degree online. WCU's distance-learning programs offer an affordable, flexible pathway to an undergraduate degree.

At WCU, undergraduates study education, business, criminal justice, and healthcare through an online learning environment. The business administration and law degree brings together coursework in management, business, and legal topics. WCU's RN-to-BSN program provides a four-semester bachelor's option for registered nurses. These online programs deliver most coursework asynchronously.

WCU offers financial aid to most students. North Carolina residents receive a significant tuition discount.

15 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
$14,987 Tuition
59% Graduation Rate

A public research institution located in the Tar Heel State's largest city, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte grants bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. UNC Charlotte also offers online bachelor's degrees designed for working professionals.

Online bachelor's options at UNC Charlotte include programs in education, engineering, and healthcare. The bachelor's in engineering technology offers online tracks in electrical engineering and fire safety. Students can also earn an online bachelor's in neurodiagnostics or respiration therapy.

Online learners can enroll in a hybrid elementary education program that trains majors to educate children. Designed for teacher assistants, the program prepares graduates for licensure as an elementary teacher. Students complete in-person courses at an offsite location while also taking online classes.

2-Year Best College Ranking

number University Score Location Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1. Pamlico Community College 100.00 Grantsboro, NC $2,304 24 21% 9:1 N/A yes yes yes
2. Mitchell Community College 92.78 Statesville, NC $2,304 43 10% 16:1 N/A no yes yes
3. Haywood Community College 91.32 Clyde, NC $2,304 14 28% 10:1 N/A no yes yes
4. Stanly Community College 91.29 Albemarle, NC $2,304 27 10% 17:1 N/A yes yes yes
5. Lenoir Community College 91.19 Kinston, NC $2,304 25 18% 15:1 N/A no yes yes
6. Pitt Community College 89.76 Winterville, NC $1,893 27 10% 20:1 N/A yes yes yes
7. Durham Technical Community College 88.80 Durham, NC $1,955 6 34% 14:1 N/A no yes yes
8. Wake Technical Community College 88.41 Raleigh, NC $2,304 33 1% 18:1 N/A yes yes yes
9. Fayetteville Technical Community College 87.66 Fayetteville, NC $2,304 32 1% 19:1 N/A yes yes yes
10. Surry Community College 86.50 Dobson, NC $1,728 21 15% 16:1 N/A no yes yes
11. Wayne Community College 86.36 Goldsboro, NC $2,304 18 2% 12:1 N/A no yes yes
12. Montgomery Community College 86.12 Troy, NC $2,304 14 17% 7:1 N/A no no yes
13. Vance-Granville Community College 85.19 Henderson, NC $1,728 11 18% 13:1 N/A no yes yes
14. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 84.72 Asheville, NC $1,938 10 8% 15:1 N/A yes yes yes
15. Randolph Community College 84.63 Asheboro, NC $1,728 3 15% 11:1 N/A yes yes yes
16. Blue Ridge Community College 84.51 Flat Rock, NC $2,304 9 12% 10:1 N/A no yes yes
17. Guilford Technical Community College 83.99 Jamestown, NC $2,016 24 3% 20:1 N/A yes yes yes
18. Piedmont Community College 83.14 Roxboro, NC $2,304 5 13% 12:1 N/A yes yes yes
19. Southwestern Community College 82.11 Sylva, NC $2,016 7 9% 15:1 N/A no yes yes
20. Wilkes Community College 81.66 Wilkesboro, NC $2,304 5 22% 12:1 N/A no yes yes
21. Richmond Community College 81.19 Hamlet, NC $2,304 12 9% 15:1 N/A no yes yes
22. Alamance Community College 80.86 Graham, NC $2,145 4 17% 16:1 N/A no yes yes
23. Craven Community College 80.76 New Bern, NC $1,728 21 11% 13:1 N/A yes no yes
24. Central Piedmont Community College 80.67 Charlotte, NC $2,304 10 3% 19:1 N/A no yes yes
25. Coastal Carolina Community College 79.48 Jacksonville, NC $2,304 7 2% 14:1 N/A no yes yes
26. Mayland Community College 79.34 Spruce Pine, NC $2,429 4 11% 14:1 N/A yes yes yes
27. Sandhills Community College 79.32 Pinehurst, NC $2,288 4 13% 16:1 N/A yes yes yes
28. Forsyth Technical Community College 78.11 Winston Salem, NC $1,848 18 N/A 10:1 N/A no yes yes
29. Davidson County Community College 77.58 Thomasville, NC $1,973 8 9% 15:1 N/A no yes yes
30. Bladen Community College 77.42 Dublin, NC $2,016 8 3% 13:1 N/A no yes yes
31. Tri-County Community College 77.10 Murphy, NC $2,304 5 4% 13:1 N/A no yes yes
32. Edgecombe Community College 76.89 Tarboro, NC $2,304 4 7% 22:1 N/A no yes yes
33. Central Carolina Community College 74.79 Sanford, NC $2,304 18 6% 16:1 N/A yes no yes
34. South Piedmont Community College 72.59 Polkton, NC $1,728 9 N/A 14:1 N/A no yes yes
35. Gaston College 71.91 Dallas, NC $2,288 3 3% 19:1 N/A yes yes yes
36. Cleveland Community College 71.53 Shelby, NC $2,304 7 10% 10:1 N/A yes no yes
37. Brunswick Community College 71.12 Bolivia, NC $2,304 7 6% 24:1 N/A no yes yes
38. Robeson Community College 70.90 Lumberton, NC $2,288 7 4% 17:1 N/A no yes yes
39. Western Piedmont Community College 69.14 Morganton, NC $2,304 4 10% 11:1 N/A no no yes
40. Wilson Community College 67.41 Wilson, NC $2,288 11 10% 15:1 N/A no no yes
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Why Choose North Carolina for Online Higher Education?

More than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students study exclusively online in North Carolina, and colleges in the state offer 130 fully online programs. The strong presence of online education in the state provides new occupational and educational opportunities to many people. Single parents, for instance, can complete an online degree while juggling family and career duties. Workers in declining labor industries can study in their free time to transition to a new career.

  • Number of Programs Offered Completely Online in North Carolina 130

  • Undergraduate Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in North Carolina 17,387

  • Graduate Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in North Carolina 14,371

  • Total International Students Enrolled Exclusively Online in North Carolina 262

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost of Attending an Online College in North Carolina

Public universities generally offer more affordable tuition for in-state students than for nonresidents, and out-of-state tuition in North Carolina is more than triple the cost of in-state tuition on average. However, online learners can sometimes pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live. To qualify for resident tuition in North Carolina, students must live in the state for 12 months before the start of classes.

Students enrolling in private universities pay the same tuition rate whether they live in-state or out-of-state. In addition, through reciprocity agreements, students in nearby states may qualify for reduced tuition at North Carolina's public colleges.

In-state tuition
$6,944 – public, four-year institution
$2,391 – public, two-year institution
Out-of-state tuition:
$23,309 – public, four-year institution
$8,300 – public, two-year institution

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017

Both in-state and out-of-state students at North Carolina's public four-year universities pay slightly less than the national average tuition rates.

Private four-year universities charge more than public four-year institutions, and two-year colleges tend to be the most affordable option. However, rates for distance learners vary between schools — some colleges give discounts to online students, some charge them extra fees, and others charge all students the same rate.

Considering a North Carolina School as an Out-of-State Student

Attending college in North Carolina as an out-of-state student may be a great choice depending on your specific academic and career interests. Nonresident students should consider a few factors as they weigh their options. Out-of-state learners should look into any interstate reciprocity agreements that reduce tuition costs. They should also research any restrictions in their state and make sure their desired program can operate where they live. Nonresident students can consider the government data below.

Out-of-State Undergraduate Students Studying Exclusively Online in North Carolina 1,167

Out-of-State Graduate Students Studying Exclusively Online in North Carolina 3,074

Tuition Discounts

North Carolina belongs to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which also includes states like Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, and Georgia. All 15 member states except North Carolina participate in the Academic Common Market, an SREB program that provides in-state tuition to qualifying students in any member state.

However, North Carolina Promise, a program from the University of North Carolina System, offers reduced tuition to out-of-state students studying at three public universities. Nonresidents at Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University pay $2,500 per semester.

State Authorizations for Online Learning

North Carolina participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which consists of 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All SARA states agree to evaluate their state's distance education programs based on shared criteria, simplifying the process for institutions who wish to enroll nonresident students. Prospective out-of-state learners can choose from more than 70 North Carolina colleges and universities approved through SARA.

Check with an admissions or financial officer.

Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program.

One-Stop College Research Resources for North Carolina's Online Schools

Below, you will find answers to some of the most common questions about online degrees in North Carolina. Read on to discover some helpful resources for prospective online students.

Do online credits cost more or less in North Carolina?

In general, earning a degree online can be a great way to save on a college education. Online learners do not need to pay for print textbooks, transportation, housing, or meal plans. However, actual tuition costs for online students vary between colleges in North Carolina. Some schools set different tuition structures for distance learners, while others require all students to pay the same rate regardless of how they learn. Additionally, online tuition rates depend on the major you choose and whether you study part time or full time or pursue undergraduate or graduate study.

You should conduct your own research to find the programs that best fit your budget. The FAQ page from the University of North Carolina System can help you better understand tuition rates for online programs at North Carolina's public universities.

Which North Carolina schools accept the most transfer credits?

Each North Carolina school determines its own admissions requirements and transfer policies. Some colleges boast generous transfer policies, while others restrict the amount of credits one can transfer in. Catawba College, for instance, allows students from accredited four-year universities to transfer up to 90 credits, while students attending community colleges can transfer up to 60 credits. Community college students transferring to Wake Forest University must complete at least their last 60 credits through the university and cannot apply credits toward 12 departments, including economics, English, and chemistry.

Articulation agreements in North Carolina make it easier to transfer to certain schools. The Comprehensive Articulation Agreement allows students from all 58 North Carolina community colleges to transfer to all 16 public universities in the state. To qualify, students must graduate from an associate of arts or associate of science program with at least a 2.0 GPA, and they must earn at least a "C" in certain classes. The Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement enables North Carolina community college graduates to simply transfer to participating private institutions in the state. Students can learn more about transfer policies in North Carolina through their online resource.

Will any online colleges in North Carolina accept a GED?

A majority of higher learning institutions in the U.S. accept a GED in lieu of a high school diploma. GED holders should keep in mind that colleges often look at GED exam scores, and a high score on the exam can increase your chances of getting into a top school. Online colleges also take into account several other factors when evaluating applicants. Schools may require transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, personal essays, or recommendation letters.

Prospective students may become familiar with North Carolina's High School Equivalency Diploma program, which readies students to pass exams such as the GED. Through the GED Online program, students can learn more about earning a GED online in North Carolina. The University of North Carolina System's website features information about minimum admissions requirements for public universities.

How many academic terms per year do online colleges in North Carolina offer?

Online programs often appeal to students looking for a flexible learning experience. Distance learners can attend class from nearly anywhere and complete assignments at their own convenience. Many online programs also feature several start times each year to accommodate as many students as possible. Programs commonly start 3-6 times each year.

Some online programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, including the BS in exercise science and the RN-to-BSN program, boast six start dates each year in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The University of Mount Olive offers six start times per year for its online associate of science in general studies program.

The number of start dates a program offers depends largely on its delivery format. Asynchronous and self-paced programs, which allow students to work through courses independently whenever is convenient, offer more flexible start dates. Cohort programs, in which students progress through the curriculum as a group, may offer fewer start dates.

Through the UNC Online resource, prospective students can search through courses at North Carolina's public universities to get a feel for the academic calendars at various schools.

Which online colleges in North Carolina will accept the FAFSA?

Prospective students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if they qualify for any government-sponsored grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study opportunities. Students should take advantage of any federal aid programs before searching for private loans. However, only accredited online schools in North Carolina accept the FAFSA, so be sure to apply to properly accredited schools. Moreover, the school's accrediting agency must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Students can learn more about the FAFSA and financial aid in general through many resources. The University of North Carolina System's website outlines scholarship opportunities at public universities in the state. Through the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities' website, prospective students can learn about financial aid options and get tips on affording a private school degree. The College Foundation of North Carolina, a state organization, also provides numerous resources on paying for college.

Are there any free online classes I can take from North Carolina colleges?

Many U.S. colleges, including some in North Carolina, make free online courses available to the public. These courses, sometimes called massive open online courses (MOOCs), can help students considering an online degree. Though they do not provide any college credit, MOOCs resemble paid courses and typically involve lecture videos. By completing a free online course, students familiarize themselves with online learning platforms while expanding their knowledge. Prospective students can also gain basic knowledge in core subject areas through free online classes.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers several MOOCs through its center for continuing education. UNC Chapel Hill faculty members developed the courses, which cover topics including the American South, epidemiology, psychology, and environmental law. Wake Technical Community College offers six MOOCs designed to prepare students for postsecondary education. Topics include computer basics, introductory algebra, reading and writing fundamentals, and chemistry concepts.

In addition, the Open Education North Carolina initiative provides free textbooks for popular courses across two-year and four-year schools in the state. The initiative also offers free articles, books, videos, and other useful materials.

How can I find the online program options at North Carolina colleges?

With so many schools and programs to choose from, students often struggle to find the ideal online program. Navigating through every North Carolina school's website to find online offerings can prove tedious, and you might overlook a great program. Fortunately, prospective students can use online tools to streamline their search for an online program.

Students considering public four-year institutions in the state can use the UNC Online program search tool to compare close to 400 online degrees and certificate programs. Students can filter results by keyword, degree level, and discipline. Likewise, those looking to study at a two-year community college can explore online programs through the Virtual Learning Community website. Students interested in private institutions should consult the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities page, which summarizes online degree options at 15 universities.

North Carolina Scholarships and Grants

One of the most desirable options for funding, Pell Grants help students looking to reduce the cost of college tuition. However, these grants only apply to first-time degree seekers who demonstrate adequate financial need. Those who do not qualify can take advantage of many scholarships specifically for North Carolina students.

  1. Alpha Delta Kappa Student Achievement Scholarship

    North Carolina high school seniors may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must hold a 2.5-3.5 GPA and demonstrate community service and leadership qualities. Applicants must also show SAT scores between 990 and 1130 or ACT scores between 20 and 24.

    Scholarship Amount: Unknown

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  2. Betsy Y. Justus Founders Scholarship

    The North Carolina Technology Association offers this scholarship in honor of its founding CEO. The scholarship supports young women interested in a career in technology or engineering. Applicants must be North Carolina residents studying at an accredited institution in the state. The scholarship requires at least a 3.0 GPA.

    Scholarship Amount: $1,000 per year

    View Details
  3. Next Step Scholarships

    Crumley Roberts, a law firm in Greensboro, awards the Next Step Scholarship to North Carolina community college students transferring to a four-year institution. Applicants must submit college transcripts, recommendation letters, and a 500-word essay. Students should also provide information about extracurricular activities and leadership experience.

    Scholarship Amount: $2,500

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  4. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship

    The North Carolina Association of Educators established this award in 1992 for students at public high schools in the state. Applicants must submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a transcript showing a GPA of at least 2.5. Students must also submit an essay explaining how Dr. King's philosophies influence their lives.

    Scholarship Amount: Varies

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  5. Ronald C. Harrell Scholarship

    The North Carolina Society of Engineers assists undergraduate engineering and technology students through this scholarship. North Carolina residents enrolled at one of nine approved universities may apply. Applicants must submit college transcripts and two letters of recommendation. The committee awards scholarships based on academic merit and financial need.

    Scholarship Amount: $5,000

    View Details

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