Online Colleges in North Carolina

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By Staff Writers

Earning an online bachelor’s degree in North Carolina prepares students for exciting career opportunities. Projections Central reports that some of the state’s fastest-growing careers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. For example, jobs for software developers, who typically need a bachelor’s degree, are projected to grow 37.8% between 2016 and 2026, amounting to 9,650 new jobs in that time period.

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree online offers many benefits, including affordability, flexibility, and convenience. This guide ranks the best online bachelor’s degrees in North Carolina. It also covers other key information for prospective students, including the importance of accreditation and answers to frequently asked questions.

Top 10 Online Colleges in North Carolina

Rank School Location
1 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
2 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
3 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
4 North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC
5 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
6 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
7 Fayetteville State University Fayetteville, NC
8 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
9 Pfeiffer University Misenheimer, NC
10 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online Colleges in North Carolina

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.

  1. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Buies Creek, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Fayetteville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Misenheimer, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

2-Year Best College Ranking

  1. Pamlico Community College
    Location

    Grantsboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  2. Mitchell Community College
    Location

    Statesville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  3. Haywood Community College
    Location

    Clyde, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  4. Stanly Community College
    Location

    Albemarle, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  5. Lenoir Community College
    Location

    Kinston, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  6. Pitt Community College
    Location

    Winterville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  7. Durham Technical Community College
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  8. Wake Technical Community College
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  9. Fayetteville Technical Community College
    Location

    Fayetteville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  10. Surry Community College
    Location

    Dobson, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

Online Colleges in North Carolina Overview

Online learning gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Online programs may feature a variety of delivery formats. For example, some programs offer asynchronous courses, which do not require set meeting times, while others feature synchronous courses, which require students to log on at set times each week.

In addition to offering more flexibility than on-campus programs, online programs often cost less. For instance, many programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. Plus, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

Online learners often gain access to the same resources and support services as on-campus students, such as career centers, tutoring, and academic advising. Additionally, many online programs offer 24/7 IT help desks to support distance learners.

Most bachelor’s degrees take about four years of full-time study to complete, but some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to graduate faster.

Why Choose North Carolina for Online Higher Education?

  • FLEXIBILITY: Online learning gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
  • AFFORDABILITY: Online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.
  • ACADEMIC CHOICE: Online learning allows students to attend the top programs in the country without relocating, providing a variety of academic choices.
  • EXPANDED PROFESSIONAL NETWORK: Because online programs serve students from around the country and the world, students can build extensive professional networks with peers across regional boundaries.
  • DEMONSTRATION OF SELF-MOTIVATION: Online programs typically feature less structure than on-campus programs, which allows students to demonstrate self-motivation and exceptional time management skills.

Cost of Attending an Online College in North Carolina

The cost of an online bachelor’s degree varies by program, but online students often save money on their degree compared to on-campus students. The following section details the general costs of online learning in North Carolina.

What to Expect from Tuition and Fees

North Carolina students enjoy affordable online bachelor’s degrees thanks to low in-state tuition rates and programs designed to increase college enrollment across the state. While national tuition rates averaged $9,037 for in-state students at four-year public institutions in 2018, North Carolina schools charged an average of only $7,354.

The state also launched two programs to help make college more affordable for North Carolina students. The North Carolina Promise allows students to attend certain state schools for only $500 a semester. Additionally, all schools in the University of North Carolina System feature fixed tuition rates, ensuring that students’ tuition does not increase.

In addition to tuition, online learners should factor in other educational expenses, such as book and technology fees. Additionally, some online programs feature on-campus requirements, which may require students to pay housing, travel, and related expenses. Students should research whether their prospective program features any on-campus requirements to ensure they can fulfill them.

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

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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOUR FAFSA WORKS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Accreditation for an Online College in North Carolina

Students should always check whether a school holds accreditation before committing to it. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like academic rigor, faculty qualifications, and students learning outcomes. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional accrediting body for North Carolina schools.

Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education maintain databases of institutional accrediting agencies along with specialized accrediting agencies for specific fields of study, such as business, education, and nursing.

Common Online Bachelor’s Courses


  • British Literature


    British literature courses often focus on British literature written before or after 1800. Students learn to analyze classic literary works and identify themes. Students should expect reading assignments each week followed by discussion questions or short essays.

  • Western Civilization


    This history course explores the origins of civilization, from early settlements of Mesopotamia to modern-day nations. Students learn about key events in world history and how these events shaped society and cultural norms. Students may complete reading assignments, multimedia presentations, and group work to develop analytical and logical reasoning skills.

  • Business Math


    This course covers core business math concepts and how to use industry-standard software applications. Learners study topics like depreciation, compound interest, and discounts. Students also practice various types of equations and learn how to determine which equation fits mathematical problems.

  • Earth Science


    This science course offers an introduction to geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy as students learn about the Earth and solar system. Students learn to identify minerals, read topographic maps, and interpret weather maps. Some courses include a lab component.

  • Introduction to World Religions


    This introductory course focuses on the historical origins and central teachings of major world religions. Students identify common themes and explore how each religion impacts the culture of adherents. Students may complete assigned readings, critical essays, and exams.

FAQ

QUESTIONANSWER
Do online credits cost more or less in North Carolina?Most state schools do not charge online students more for credits. They may, however, impose technology fees on top of the per-credit tuition charge. These fees help offset the cost of developing high-quality online instruction and student services, like technical support, academic tutoring, and library assistance. However, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many programs extend tuition discounts to online students.
Which North Carolina schools accept the most transfer credits?Schools in the University of North Carolina System accept up to 64 credits toward a bachelor’s degree, about the equivalent of an associate degree. Transfer requirements vary from school to school, but they typically include a minimum 2.0-2.5 GPA. North Carolina community colleges take part in a Comprehensive Articulation Agreement that ensures certain courses transfer to four-year colleges. Some schools also offer transfer credit for military training, professional certifications, or exams.
Will any online colleges in North Carolina accept a GED?North Carolina community colleges welcome students who are 18 years or older with a high school or GED diploma. Universities require students to complete a high school curriculum that includes math, science, and language courses, which a GED fulfills. The University of North Carolina System also requires incoming students to take the ACT or SAT. Schools may waive standardized test score requirements for transfer students.
How many academic terms per year do online colleges in North Carolina offer?Many online bachelor’s programs follow traditional semester calendars, with 16-week terms in the spring and fall and a shorter, optional term in the summer. Some schools offer accelerated courses during January and May, as well. Many online programs also offer accelerated, 6-8-week semesters, which may allow students to focus on 1-2 courses at a time.
Which online colleges accept FAFSA in North Carolina?All accredited online colleges in North Carolina accept the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines students’ eligibility for federal financial aid, such as loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. North Carolina requires students to list an in-state college on the FAFSA to be considered for state aid programs.
Are there any free online classes I can take from North Carolina colleges?Several North Carolina colleges and universities offer free, Massive Open Online Courses. The University of North Carolina, for example, partnered with online education provider Coursera to offer several of these courses. Free and open to anyone, these online courses allow students to advance their skills and knowledge, but they do not typically lead to college credit.
How can I find the online program options at North Carolina colleges?The North Carolina higher education system includes 149 colleges and universities, many of which offer at least some online learning opportunities, typically listed on their website. The state’s 58 community colleges combined their efforts to serve online students with the Virtual Learning Community, which lists available online programs on its website. The UNC Online site lists the online programs offered by the 17 institutions within the University of North Carolina System, with a comparison of estimated costs and time requirements. The North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities website offers an overview of online degrees available through private and independent colleges.

North Carolina Scholarships and Grants

Each year, schools, civic organizations, philanthropic organizations, and businesses help thousands of North Carolina students achieve their educational goals through scholarship awards. These gifts do not require repayment and help offset education costs. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing online bachelor’s degrees in North Carolina.

  1. Assistance League of the Triangle Area This scholarship is offered to students living in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties who attend a North Carolina postsecondary institution. The need-based award requires a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants must submit income tax information and two letters of recommendation.Scholarship Amount:$1,000-$7,000VIEW DETAILS
  2. Carolinas Food Industry Council (CFIC) The CFIC awards 40 scholarships each year to North Carolina undergraduate students attending an accredited college. Applicants should either work in or have a parent or spouse who works in the grocery industry with a CFIC member company.Scholarship Amount:$2,500 per yearVIEW DETAILS
  3. Next Step Scholarships This scholarship supports North Carolina students transferring from a two-year community college to a four-year institution. Applicants need a minimum 3.2 GPA. The company awards three scholarships each year.Scholarship Amount:$2,500VIEW DETAILS
  4. Golden LEAF Scholarship Program This scholarship assists students living in rural North Carolina communities. Applicants must be high school seniors or community college transfer students from economically distressed or tobacco-dependent counties. They also need a minimum 3.0 GPA.Scholarship Amount:$3,000VIEW DETAILS
  5. North Carolina Sheriffs Association Undergraduate Criminal Justice Scholarship This scholarship supports North Carolina students attending a state university to study criminal justice. The program considers financial need while prioritizing children and stepchildren of a sheriff or deputy, children of officers killed in the line of duty, and children of retired law enforcement officers.Scholarship Amount:$2,000VIEW DETAILS

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