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Top North Carolina (NC) Online Colleges & Schools

Explore the top 35 North Carolina schools that offer a variety of programs entirely online. Learn what you'll need to get started, how to pay for your program, and what types of jobs are available to online program graduates in NC.

Top 35 North Carolina Schools with Online Programs

When choosing the best schools for online programs in North Carolina, students should consider flexibility, cost, program length and prerequisites. A list of the top 35 schools in North Carolina with online program options is provided below with average tuition and financial aid awards.

1. East Carolina University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Greenville $7,188 81%

East Carolina University offers some of the lowest in-state tuition rates for North Carolina residents, with undergraduates paying just $166 per semester hour and graduate students paying $249 per semester hour. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and has programmatic accreditation for many of its online programs. Undergraduate students can pursue online programs such as business, education and healthcare, and graduate students can select from programs such as healthcare, technology and education. ECU also offers additional (add-on) teacher licensure through online programs for currently licensed educators who wish to expand their area of teaching.

2. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Location Tuition & Fees % Receiving Financial Aid
Raleigh $9,101 70%

North Carolina State University at Raleigh has been providing stellar education for over 125 years and currently has over 9,000 staff and faculty. NC State offers more than 100 programs online at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including certificates and degrees up to the doctoral level. The school is accredited by the SACSCOC and many of its online programs are accredited by the appropriate organizations. Most online undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $221 per credit hour and many graduate students have a tuition rate of $446 per credit hour (in-state rates).

3. Grace College of Divinity

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fayetteville $6,100 86%

Grace College of Divinity was originally formed in 1978 but officially formed under its current name in 2000. The school is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and offers all of its programs on campus and online. Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate program options in areas such as Christian leadership, theology, divinity and ministry. Tuition rates apply to all students, regardless of their state of residence, and are $200 for undergraduate students, $280 for master's students and $325 for doctoral students (per credit hour).

4. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Greensboro $7,331 87%

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro currently has more than 3,000 staff and faculty and 20,000 students and is accredited by the SACSCOC. Undergraduate students are eligible for fixed tuition, which means the cost of their tuition will not increase during their four-year program. In-state students enrolled in distance education programs have a tuition rate of $149 (undergraduate) or $256 (graduate) per credit hour. Undergraduate students can choose from 9 online programs, including public health and entrepreneurship, and graduate students can choose from dozens of online programs (including certificate, master's degree and doctoral degree programs).

5. Appalachian State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Boone $7,364 71%

Appalachian State University is accredited by the SACSCOC and currently boasts a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Online in-state undergraduate students pay an affordable tuition rate of $143 per credit hour and graduate students have a tuition rate of $237 per credit hour. Undergraduate students can pursue 1 of 7 programs completely online, including degrees in management, nursing, communication and child development. Graduate students have more online program options, including those in school administration, health administration, library science and business.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees
(in-state)
% Receiving Financial Aid
6 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington $7,091 76%
7 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte $6,853 74%
8 Campbell University Buies Creek $32,500 100%
9 University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke $3,418 93%
10 Western Carolina University Cullowhee $3,926 88%
11 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem $5,904 98%
12 North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro $6,612 97%
13 Fayetteville State University Fayetteville $5,249 94%
14 North Carolina Central University Durham $6,464 97%
15 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs $32,000 100%
16 Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory $36,400 100%
17 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill $8,987 67%
18 Pfeiffer University Misenheimer $30,234 100%
19 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte $34,684 100%
20 Wingate University Wingate $33,166 98%
21 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord $13,194 73%
22 Piedmont International University Winston-Salem $9,920 100%
23 Apex School of Theology Durham $5,100 100%
24 Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City $3,194 99%
25 University of Mount Olive Mount Olive $20,600 100%
26 Montreat College Montreat $26,920 100%
27 Meredith College Raleigh $37,176 100%
28 William Peace University Raleigh $30,500 100%
29 Lees-McRae College Banner Elk $25,878 100%
30 Salem College Winston-Salem $29,166 98%
31 Johnson C Smith University Charlotte $18,236 93%
32 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem $53,322 46%
33 Barton College Wilson $30,880 99%
34 Mid-Atlantic Christian University Elizabeth City $15,300 100%
35 North Carolina Wesleyan College Rocky Mount $30,750 99%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

How to Choose an NC School for Online Programs

You should consider several factors, such as cost and admissions requirements, when choosing an online program in the Tarheel State.

Programs Available

The first consideration in choosing a school is what programs are available. While a school may advertise various programs as online, certain options (such as concentration and pace of study) may only be available on campus.

Admissions Requirements

Once you've decided what type of program you'd like to pursue, review your school choices for specific school and program admission requirements. Some online programs may have different admissions requirements than similar on-campus programs. Admission requirements might include a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, essays, transcripts and certain scores on the SAT or ACT.

Type of School

Another factor that you may want to consider is what type of school you prefer. Private schools are usually smaller and may cost a little more while public schools receive public funds, which means they may be able to provide more resources to students and do it at a more affordable rate.

Transfer Credits

How well credits transfer into and out of a school should be a key consideration in choosing where you'll attend. If you have previous college credits, look for a school that will accept those credits as transfer courses. Also, ask if the credits you earn will be accepted at most schools or if transferring them to another school will be limited.

How Much Do Online Programs Cost in North Carolina?

Most online program expenses are separated into tuition and other fees, with the primary expense being tuition. Tuition varies by school: some schools charge a flat-rate discounted tuition for all online students while other schools charge different amounts for students based on residency. In-state residents usually have a lower tuition rate than out-of-state students when there are different rates. For example, a school may charge $150 per credit for in-state students and $500 per credit for out-of-state students.

The total cost of an online program will depend on the rate of tuition and how many credit hours are required for the program. Most bachelor's degree programs include around 120 credit hours, but students who have previously earned an associate's degree can often have half of those credits waived (requiring only around 60 for graduation). Master's degree programs usually require students to complete between 30 and 40 credit hours, but some programs leading to specific licensures (such as nursing and teaching) may require more credits for graduation.

In addition to tuition, students may be responsible for program and school fees that can add up to several thousand dollars over the course of their program. These fees can include course materials fees, program differential fees, registration fees, technology fees and student services fees.

It's also important to factor in the costs of attending school online. An up-to-date computer, pricey programs and fast, reliable internet access can add hundreds and even thousands of dollars to the equation.

Why is Accreditation Important for Online Programs in North Carolina?

There are two types of accreditation that are important to students of online programs in North Carolina: institutional and programmatic.

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation is school-wide recognition and shows that the school meets specific criteria in terms of quality. This criteria can include faculty experience and quantity, graduation rates, curriculum and more. Schools can be accredited by a national accrediting organization or a regional accrediting organization. While both types of institutional accreditation should indicate that students will receive a quality education, there are some key differences.

Regional Accreditation National Accreditation
Transfer Credits Credits earned at regionally accredited schools can usually transfer to both regionally and nationally accredited schools Credits earned at nationally accredited schools can generally only transfer to nationally accredited schools
Quality Regional accreditation applies to schools in specific regions, often requiring higher quality criteria National accreditation can be awarded to schools across the U.S. that meet the necessary requirements, which are usually less strict than those of regional accreditation
Cost Regionally accredited schools may cost more Nationally accredited schools generally cost less

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation applies to programs, rather than the schools that offer them. While not all programs need (or have) accreditation, many programs that lead to licensure and other professional roles need to be accredited. For example, students interested in nursing usually need to attend an accredited program to qualify for licensure after graduation. The same applies to students interested in many healthcare and education careers.

How to Get Financial Aid for Online Programs in North Carolina

There are several types of financial aid available to students of online programs in North Carolina. Interested students should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which shows some of the types of aid that students can qualify for. Students can use other sources for finding aid and scholarships; checking out their chosen schools' sites, speaking with financial aid officers and searching the CFNC (College Foundation of North Carolina) are three of the best.

Student Loans

Students can obtain loans from private and government sources, but private loans should only be used as a last resort. Government loans usually have better interest rates and repayment plans and are typically income-based.

Loan Forgiveness

Students who work in qualifying (typically this means public service) careers can qualify for loan forgiveness through the federal government, which allows a certain amount of loans to be forgiven after making 10 years (120) of qualifying payments.

Loan Repayment

Many employers offer loan repayment to new employees, as well as existing employees who meet certain criteria. Loan repayment is offered in numerous industries for a variety of college programs.

Work-Study

Work-study is available to many students from schools and employers. It allows students to earn all or part of their program costs through part-time employment while they are in school.

Scholarships

There are multitudes of scholarships available to North Carolina online students, several of which are listed below.

Sweet & Simple Scholarship

This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students in any field of study. To earn the single $1,500 award, students should submit an essay in response to the essay prompt by February 29th.

Ted G. Wilson Memorial Scholarships

Based out of Charlotte, NC, this scholarship awards $1,500 to students enrolled in a construction or engineering bachelor's degree program. Applicants should submit the required form along with their transcript by March 31st.

Leon Bradley Scholarship Program

This scholarship awards $1,500 or $2,500 to bachelor's degree students enrolled in teaching programs. Applicants should have a GPA of at least 3.0 and live in a qualifying east-coast state (including North Carolina); applications are due by May 31st.

African American Network - Carolinas Scholarship Fund

Bachelor's degree students from North or South Carolina who are majoring in math, engineering, computer science, science, finance, accounting or business administration can apply for one of two awards (values vary).

Career Options for Graduates of NC Online Programs

The career opportunities for online program graduates in North Carolina are boundless. Some of the fastest-growing careers available to graduates of online programs in North Carolina are discussed below.

Statistician

Statisticians analyze statistics and data and use various statistical methods to apply that data to problems in various industries. Their duties can include creating models for data analysis, interpreting data and utilizing results to improve business performance and decisions. Most statisticians need to have a master's degree in a field such as mathematics, computer science or economics.

Management Analysts

Management analysts help organizations improve efficiency by reviewing information and making recommendations. Their duties include analyzing various organizational and financial data, creating solutions and observing implemented changes to ensure that the ideal results are obtained. Management analysts typically have at least a bachelor's degree and the Certified Management Consultant certification.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care to patients in various settings, typically working in one specific field of specialization (such as gerontology or family practice). Their duties can include conducting health assessments, diagnosing patient health conditions, administering medications and counseling patients. Nurse practitioners need to have a master's degree in their field of specialty as well as licensure.

Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts use analytical approaches to solving organizational problems. Their duties can include using statistics and simulations in developing solutions, collecting information from various sources, and creating reports based on their findings. Operations research analysts usually need at least a bachelor's degree in operations research or a similar field.

Job Title 2018 Median Salary Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Statisticians $87,780 31%
Management Analysts $83,610 14%
Nurse Practitioners $107,030 28%
Operations Research Analysts $83,390 26%

All salary and outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics