Welcome to our best value ranking of online colleges in North Carolina.
There are more than 60 different institutions of higher education in North Carolina, and yet, fewer than half enroll at least 15% of students in online courses. Of those online-accessible schools, we're bringing you the 10 "best value." These top 10 colleges all earned at least 60 points (out of 100) in our ranking.
10. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
With its 24-hour help desk, a librarian specifically dedicated to distance learners, and program managers ready to support those learners, it's clear that UNC-Charlotte is ready to help online students graduate. The school offers a select number of accredited online degrees in North Carolina and is particularly well-suited for students who have already completed courses elsewhere. And since UNC-Charlotte partners with 16 other colleges in the UNC system, students have flexibility in completing courses that might not otherwise fit into their schedules. With degree-completion programs in respiratory therapy and sleep science, UNC-Charlotte is also a great fit for students who are interested in the medical field but can't pursue a full-time, on-site education.
In-State Tuition: $6,532/yr
9. Western Carolina University
Students interested in highly specific degrees that they can pursue online need look no further than Western Carolina. It's one of just 12 colleges in the U.S. that offers a B.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management, and its program was ranked the second-best of all online options nationwide. Western Carolina also has an online program in Business Administration and Law, where students learn about business theory, business law, and corporate ethics. This particular program gives students a foundation that will leave them well-prepared to apply to law school or pursue their MBA, helping Western Carolina stand out on this North Carolina best online colleges ranking.
In-State Tuition: $6,623/yr
8. North Carolina Central University
As an HBCU founded more than 100 years ago, North Carolina Central University has a century-long history as a top choice for students of color. But NCCU was also only the second HBCU to create an on-campus LGBTA Center - just one example of how the school has broadened its appeal as an institution committed to diversity across the board. This sense of inclusivity extends to virtual classrooms, where NCCU makes a point to support online learners who need a non-traditional approach to education. One of the top online schools in North Carolina, NCCU offers a handful of degree-completion programs alongside a fully online B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Administration, with online tutoring and a writing studio set up to help students succeed. As an additional perk, in-state students will benefit from one of the lowest tuition rates on this list.
In-State Tuition: $5,755/yr
7. Fayetteville State University
Alongside fairly common degrees like psychology and sociology, Fayetteville State also offers a unique B.S. in Fire and Emergency Services Administration. Students enrolling in this degree-completion program must have already earned a related associate's degree and want to pursue further study. The program prepares will prepare them to attain officer positions in the workforce, and graduates regularly receive professional commendations. It's also a great stepping-stone to graduate study in fields like public administration. One of the program's goals is to bring more women and minorities into the profession, and the faculty reflects that commitment to diversity. And although this is a highly specialized online degree in North Carolina, the tuition is extremely affordable for in-state learners.
In-State Tuition: $4,885/yr
6. University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Active-duty soldiers, veterans, the reserve, National Guard members, and their families should give UNC-Pembroke a close look when pursuing online college courses in North Carolina. As a designated military-friendly school, it has received numerous accolades from both military and veterans groups for its dedication to helping service members and their families. A specialized Military Outreach team is ready to help prospective students find a course of study that fits, and UNCP's close proximity to Fort Bragg could be an added bonus for students. Eight undergraduate degree-completion programs are available, including four bachelor's different degrees in interdisciplinary studies. The BIS gives students the opportunity to take a variety of classes as they select a more specific major.
In-State Tuition: $5,564/yr
5. Gardner Webb University
Boiling Springs, NC
As the only Baptist-related school on this top North Carolina online degrees ranking, Gardner-Webb is a great option for students seeking an education grounded in their Christian heritage. To that end, students can pursue a B.S. in Religious Studies as part of the school's degree-completion program, which provides an education focused on biblical interpretation, Christian theology, and ministry. Even Gardner Webb's secular degrees — like Nursing, Entrepreneurship, and Elementary Education — incorporate Christian values and emphasize ways to extend those values into the workplace. Students who have the flexibility to spend some time on campus will appreciate that most online degree-completion programs include face-to-face options, too.
In-State Tuition: $28,280/yr
4. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
It's tempting to assume that online classes can work for everyone, but the reality is that students must be dedicated and self-motivated to succeed. That's why it's heartening that UNC-Greensboro is committed to helping potential students check that they're a good fit for their online college courses in North Carolina. Specifically, Greensboro utilizes Ready to Learn modules — assessments in technology, lifestyle, and learning preferences — help students evaluate their preparedness level and adaptability to distance learning. Those ready to take the dive will find a great variety of undergraduate degrees at Greensboro, including a unique B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies that provides critical social justice skills suitable for many career paths.
In-State Tuition: $6,745/yr
3. East Carolina University
Of all the online degrees in North Carolina, East Carolina University is home to two of the most specialized: the B.S. in Industrial Technology Transfer and the B.S. in Industrial Distribution and Logistics. Both degrees offer a technology- and systems-focused program of study, but the BSIT is uniquely flexible in that students can choose from extremely specific concentrations (e.g., Bioprocess Manufacturing and Architectural Technology) to prepare themselves for specialized careers. For students less interested in technology, ECU also offers degree-completion programs in a wealth of more standard disciplines, from education to business to nursing. But no matter the subject, students at ECU will enjoy networking opportunities and professional associations to help them secure a job after graduation.
In-State Tuition: $6,580/yr
2. Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City, NC
With the lowest in-state tuition on this North Carolina top online colleges ranking and a high proportion of online learners, Elizabeth City State University easily earns its #2 spot. Before enrolling, ECSU encourages students to complete a survey to ensure that they are a good fit for online learning. Once enrolled, students will appreciate a one-stop-shop section of the website that includes detailed information about distance courses, including user guides for Blackboard and Echo360 (a digital hub for course materials and communication). Students can choose from dozens of online classes each semester - and if a class isn't available directly through ECSU, the school's relationship with the greater UNC system could allow students to access the course through another participating university in the state.
In-State Tuition: $4,657/yr
1. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
North Carolina State University at Raleigh boasts a 75% graduation rate — the highest rate among comparable top online schools in North Carolina. And this impressive statistic is no coincidence. For distance learners, the motivation to succeed begins with the opportunity to learn, which is exactly what they'll discover amidst the university's array of online certificate and degree-completion bachelor's programs. The B.A. in Leadership in the Public Sector, for example, is a great fit for students interested in nonprofit or public-sector work as well as those who intend to pursue graduate study. Another great motivating factor? NC State's expansive alumni network, which claims more than 195,000 members worldwide and offers valuable opportunities for recent grads to make professional connections.
In-State Tuition: $8,581/yr
What did you think of these top online degrees in North Carolina? If you are interested in more traditional college programs in North Carolina, check out our ranking of the best affordable colleges and universities in North Carolina