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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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.

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Top 10 Online 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

  1. Appalachian State University

    Boone, NC



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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

    Raleigh, NC



    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.

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.

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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

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

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

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

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Advertisement 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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