Best Colleges in North Carolina

Search Colleges

Close
Online or Campus

After deciding that the college route is for you, the next step is choosing which college or university will best meet your needs. North Carolina has 119 two- and four-year schools, a number that can seem daunting, but one that is easily lowered once you determine the type of school you want. Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in North Carolina, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

Higher education in North Carolina, according to a recent study, has a $63.5 billion impact on the state’s economy, the monetary equivalent of creating just over one million jobs. While higher education cost taxpayers an estimated $4.3 billion in 2012-13, the return to the economy was a whopping $17 billion.

Given this return, it’s unsurprising North Carolina has shown such strong support for its public universities. The state’s four-year schools have especially distinguished themselves, with institutions in the North Carolina Higher Education (NCHE) system responsible for $1.5 billion in added state income via start-ups begun by NCHE students and alumni. North Carolina’s breakout success with its 4-year universities is a sure sign of good things to come.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 94.26 3/5 89% Chapel Hill, NC

Since it was chartered in 1789, UNC at Chapel Hill has striven for excellence in academic programming, as a research center, and in student outcomes. The nation’s first public university, UNC Chapel Hill offers undergraduate and graduate programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Among its alumni are two Nobel laureates, 49 Rhodes Scholars, and more than 250 Fulbright students.

The school’s 18,000+ students can choose from 77 bachelor’s degree programs in a range of disciplines, including the arts, biological and health sciences, business, and education. Notable degree programs include the Asian studies bachelor of arts (BA) with several concentrations; and the bachelor of science (BS) in biomedical and health sciences engineering. The BA in peace, war, and defense is another unique multidisciplinary program among North Carolina colleges. More than 300 study abroad programs are offered in 70 countries.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 Davidson College 90.72 3/5 92% Davidson, NC

One of the strongest liberal arts colleges in North Carolina, Davidson College provides its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students with 26 majors, 17 minors, and an interdisciplinary studies program. The school touts small classes, in which renowned faculty work with students on research across several disciplines, including the arts, sciences, and humanities. Davidson College is the alma mater of 23 Rhodes scholars.

In addition to the 26 bachelor’s majors, the school offers interdisciplinary minors in areas such as genomics, health and human services, global literary theory, and human and health values. The baccalaureate interdisciplinary studies major allows students to complete a major not regularly offered by an academic department. The school offers dual degree engineering baccalaureate programs in partnership with Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis. Almost 80% of Davidson students study abroad and have more than 150 programs from which to choose.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 Duke University 89.66 4/5 95% Durham, NC

A prestigious research university located on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham, Duke is home to about 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Duke is known for its selectivity in admission and academic programming that is rigorous. Duke’s graduate and professional schools in business, engineering, law, and medicine are leaders in their fields.

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, the institution has two academic paths for undergraduate students: liberal arts and engineering. Freshmen in the engineering track can earn bachelor’s degrees in either the biomedical, civil/environmental, mechanical/materials, or computer/electrical fields. Students pursuing the liberal arts path can earn a BA or BS degree in nearly 100 different academic programs as diverse as art history and global cultural studies to mathematics and computer science. Duke’s other attractions include global learning opportunities and the Blue Devils’ athletic prowess.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 North Carolina State University at Raleigh 85.32 3/5 71% Raleigh, NC

A preeminent research institution, NC State at Raleigh is recognized for its excellence in areas such as science, engineering, math, the humanities and social sciences, and veterinary medicine. The school’s approximately 34,000 students engage in experiential learning through research, co-ops, and internships that ready them for the workforce. NC State, one of the best colleges in North Carolina, has led the way in reducing nuclear proliferation, helping farmers deal with climate change, and reinvigorating the manufacturing sector.

Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor’s degree in one of 100 majors. Bachelor’s degree programs of note include nuclear engineering, environmental technology & management, and interdisciplinary studies with three concentration areas -- Africana studies, self-design, and women and gender studies. Students interested in studying abroad have a choice of more than 400 programs in 60+ countries. Transfer students make up more than 25% of NC State’s student body.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 University of North Carolina School of the Arts 83.21 3/5 62% Winston-Salem, NC

The nation’s first arts conservatory, UNCSA has had 50 years of success developing a cadre of gifted artists in the performing and visual arts. This specialization makes UNCSA a unique institution among colleges in North Carolina. The Winston-Salem-based institution has five professional-caliber conservatories: the Schools of Dance; Design and Production; Drama; Filmmaking; and Music.

UNCSA awards two bachelor’s degrees: the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) and the bachelor of music. The institution’s curriculum gives students a well-rounded liberal arts education in addition to concentration in the arts. Learning is experienced on a small campus with studio sizes that facilitate close relationships between students and faculty. Of note is the university’s film school, in which students have seven areas of specialization, including animation, cinematography, and directing. Musicians at UNCSA have 10 areas of specialization, such as brass, composition, piano, and strings.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 Wake Forest University 79.09 4/5 87% Winston Salem, NC

WFU is highly ranked among the nation’s universities and among colleges in North Carolina. Approximately 8,000 students can immerse themselves in study at a rigorous research institution with small-college intimacy. Among notables are 15 Rhodes scholars and 62 Fulbright scholars, dozens of successful alumni in fields such as politics, law, and science, and a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Undergraduate students are awarded BA and BS degrees in more than 35 majors covering a range of disciplines. WFU highlights students’ outcomes: 98% of the Class of 2015 are employed or in grad school. WFU offers hundreds of study abroad opportunities. Its signature Wake Alternative Break is a weeklong time during which undergraduate students work to advance the school’s motto of Pro Humanitate (For Humanity), using their knowledge and skills for the betterment of others in cities across the U.S.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 Appalachian State University 74.79 3/5 66% Boone, NC

App State, located in Boone, began as a teacher’s college and is now home to 18,000 students, most of whom are undergraduates. The school has six undergraduate colleges administering a comprehensive catalog of bachelor’s degrees in various disciplines. The school has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio in which mentorship between students and faculty is facilitated and critical inquiry embraced. App’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains provides students, including undergraduates, with unique research opportunities.

App is notable among colleges in North Carolina for its signature "4+1" accelerated admissions program, in which undergraduate students save on tuition dollars by earning graduate credits while in their senior year; they can graduate from App with a bachelor’s and master’s in about five years. Among the school’s other notables are affordable tuition rates and a textbook rental program to save students money.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 University of North Carolina Wilmington 72.94 3/5 69% Wilmington, NC

Located in Wilmington, UNCW offers its approximately 15,000 students a curriculum that integrates teaching and mentoring with research and service. UNCW provides its undergraduate students with a catalog of 54 majors leading to bachelor’s degrees in disciplines as diverse as arts and sciences, and business and health and human services.

UNCW is one of the coastal North Carolina colleges offering baccalaureate degrees in coastal and marine sciences, such as the BS in oceanography. In the Three Plus Two Program, students can earn a BS in environmental science and a BS in environmental engineering in conjunction with North Carolina State University. UNCW has a strong emphasis in research and offers undergraduates numerous opportunities through the Center for Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. UNCW’s campus promotes the arts, with performances, artists in residence, workshops and master classes. UNCW’s Seahawks are NCAA's Division I members.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 University of North Carolina at Greensboro 70.42 3/5 54% Greensboro, NC

UNCG derives its success not just by the high-caliber students it attracts, but by their contributions. The school, with more than 19,000 students, offers a collegiate learning environment that is challenging and supportive on a campus that is picturesque. UNCG’s undergraduate students have more than 100 areas of study from which to choose, and the school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1.

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, the institution offers the UNCG in 3 program, in which ambitious undergraduates can earn a bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four. Participating majors range from accounting to entrepreneurship and information systems to social work. Campus life is diverse and engaging, ranging from 17 intercollegiate athletic teams, drama, and dance performance groups to concert and lecture series. Prospective transfer students must have a minimum of 24 semester hours from a regionally accredited institution.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 University of North Carolina at Charlotte 69.81 3/5 53% Charlotte, NC

Situated in a major metropolitan area, UNC at Charlotte is a large public institution with a student body of approximately 28,000 students. Among North Carolina colleges, UNC Charlotte is the state’s urban research institute. Among its three campuses is the Charlotte Research Institute -- which focuses on research areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, and opto-electronics.

The school offers 90 bachelor’s degree programs in a comprehensive range of fields, including engineering, psychology, art, education, communication, and child and family development. Unique bachelor’s degree programs include meteorology, fire safety engineering technology (with concentrations in fire safety and fire protection), neurodiagnostics and sleep science, and systems engineering. Known simply as Charlotte, the popular men and women’s basketball teams compete in the NCAA's Division I sports. Community engagement is an important part of life at the school, and includes volunteerism, internships, and service learning.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
11 Elon University 68.60 4/5 83% Elon, NC

Elon is a selective private institution renowned for its curriculum fostering engaged and experiential learning. At Elon, students are immersed in an academic experience rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. The school’s excellence is based on its five key tenets: student-centeredness, global engagement, experiential learning, an environment that promotes learning, and ambition. The school has about 6,000 undergraduates and 60 undergraduate majors from which to choose. The most popular disciplines for freshmen are arts and sciences, business, communications, and education.

Elon is notable among colleges in North Carolina for its engineering dual degree program, in which students earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a partnering engineering school, such as Penn State, Columbia, or Virginia Tech, and a bachelor’s degree from Elon in one of its supportive liberal arts concentrations. Elon’s undergraduate experience includes volunteer service, internships, and study abroad. The school has 17 intercollegiate sports teams in NCAA Division I.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
12 Western Carolina University 67.96 3/5 48% Cullowhee, NC

WCU is home to 10,800 students on a 600-acre campus located in the rural mountains of Cullowhee. WCU’s catalog of 115 undergraduate majors and concentrations is offered to about 9,000 undergraduates pursuing degrees in high-demand areas such as engineering, healthcare, education, the arts, humanities, and business.

Notable bachelor’s degree programs include the Chemistry Four + One Program, in which students earn a BS in chemistry and an MS in chemistry in five years. The BSBA in business administration and law is a unique program not offered at other North Carolina colleges. Campus life includes more than 170 student organizations, numerous arts performances, and the campus’s mountain location is a boon for outdoorsy students. WCU is designated as a Military Friendly School and offers several resources to veterans, such as financial aid counselling and peer support.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
13 Meredith College 67.32 4/5 59% Raleigh, NC

Established as a women’s college more than 100 years ago, Meredith College is now a coeducational institution offering its approximately 2,000 students a rigorous liberal arts education. Among the school’s notables is its women and gender research in areas such as earnings, education, and leadership development. Students seeking a bachelor’s degree program can choose from 80 majors, minors, and academic programs. The school’s engineering dual degree is a five-year program in which students graduate with a BA in chemistry or a BA in mathematics as well as an engineering degree from NC State University.

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, Meredith’s StrongPoints is a unique advising and personal coaching program designed to help students in the areas of academics, experiential learning, financial literacy, and career planning. Meredith’s lecture series includes esteemed speakers such as former leaders of the United States and Great Britain, U.S. Senators, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
14 East Carolina University 65.77 3/5 58% Greenville, NC

ECU has a catalog of offerings that includes 88 bachelor’s degree programs administered through 12 colleges and schools. An 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio helps facilitate learning centered on scholarship, leadership, service, and discovery.

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, ECU’s traditional and interdisciplinary baccalaureate majors range from art, education, and communication to computer science, economics, and geographic information sciences and technology. Notably, in fall 2016, 46% of degree-seeking students were enrolled in a STEM or healthcare program. In the BA or BS in multidisciplinary studies programs, students study specialized or new fields while pursuing research interests. A unique college path can also be pursued via the BS in university studies, in which students work with advisors to design an individualized course of study.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
15 University of North Carolina at Asheville 63.47 3/5 55% Asheville, NC

The only school in the UNC system dedicated to the liberal arts, UNC Asheville’s curriculum promotes academic rigor, critical thinking, and workforce preparation. For its 3,900 undergraduate students, learning happens inside and outside the classroom via faculty-mentored research projects, internships, study abroad, and service-learning projects. UNC Asheville’s notables include small class size and an undergraduate research program that is nationally acclaimed for its innovation.

Bachelor’s degree are offered in fields as diverse as economics, environmental studies, and philosophy to English, new media, and sociology. This North Carolina college’s Department of Education offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in addition to teaching licensure, with concentrations such as elementary education, mathematics, science, social studies, and art. Life on campus includes concerts, art exhibitions, career workshops, and outdoor trips, such as caving and kayaking.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
16 Salem College 63.40 3/5 63% Winston Salem, NC

Salem College is unique among colleges in North Carolina and the nation because it is the oldest educational institution for women that has remained a women’s college since its opening in 1772. A distinguished private liberal arts college, the school accommodates about 1,000 women from around the globe who engage in undergraduate and graduate learning in state-of-the-art facilities.

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in areas such as accounting, economics, biochemistry, business administration, and criminal studies. Unique programs include the BA in studio art with concentrations in painting, printmaking, or teaching licensure (grades K-12). Students interested in earning a teaching license can simultaneously take any major and coursework for elementary, middle, and secondary grades licensure. Bachelor’s degree concentrations are offered in fields such as international trade, international relations, finance, and computer science. Student activities include programs, clubs, organizations, poetry readings, movie nights, and battle of the bands.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
17 North Carolina A & T State University 60.00 3/5 43% Greensboro, NC

Students at NC A&T, known as Aggies, are part of an institution known for graduating more African-American engineers and accountants than any similar institution in the nation. Among the colleges in North Carolina designated an historically black institution, this one has a traditional focus on engineering and agriculture. However, it has expanded to areas such as biomedical research and the social and behavioral sciences. The new Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering includes research in nanobiology, nanomaterials, and computational nanotechnology.

Bachelor’s degrees can be earned in non-engineering areas such as English, liberal arts, music, political science, business, and accounting. BS degree offerings include specializations in civil, computer, and electrical engineering. BS degrees in agriculture cover areas such as agribusiness, environmental studies, and animal science. Each year large accounting firms and Fortune 500 service and industrial firms recruit Aggies with degrees in accounting.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
18 University of Mount Olive 59.28 3/5 44% Mount Olive, NC

Among the leading private Christian colleges in North Carolina, the University of Mount Olive offers its students a transformational education that cultivates students with a strong liberal arts background. Students learn in an environment shaped by Christian ideals in small classes at affordable tuition. Bachelor’s degrees can be earned in areas such as agricultural production, chemistry, mathematics, and graphic design.

The school has a strong business administration curriculum with several areas of emphasis, including agribusiness, business analytics, and business management. The school’s teacher education program provides a comprehensive catalog of offerings, including BS licensure and non-licensure degrees in elementary education, social studies, math, and agricultural education. Adult evening programs are offered for busy professionals in fields such as business administration (several concentrations), criminal justice, and general studies. The Campus Activities Board plans social events, including musician, poet, and campus nights.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
19 Winston-Salem State University 55.70 3/5 40% Winston-Salem, NC

Founded in 1892, WSSU is among colleges in North Carolina designated as a historically black institution. Bachelor’s degree programs are offered to about 6,000 undergraduates in fields including art, communication, history, gerontology studies, health-care management, and interdisciplinary studies. Among its unique programs is the only BS in motorsports management offered by a four-year public university. The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling offers one-of-a-kind programming to the deaf and hard-of-hearing. WSSU’s physical therapy and occupational therapy programs have 100% licensure pass rates.

Campus life includes activities such as the Outdoor Adventure Series, in which students go skiing, white water rafting, horseback riding, and deep sea fishing; group exercises; Greek Life; and an assortment of clubs and organizations. WSSU has a full intercollegiate athletic program fielding teams in track and field, football, and tennis in NCAA Division II.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
20 Elizabeth City State University 53.89 1/5 43% Elizabeth City, NC

ECSU, part of the University of North Carolina, employs an education model that incorporates rigorous liberal arts programming and innovative and technology-based instruction. The school is among the colleges in North Carolina designated as a historically black institution. It infuses its three core values -- accountability, diversity, excellence -- into all curriculum. Bachelor’s degree programming covers a wide range of disciplines, from social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, and computer science to business and economics.

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, ECSU offers special programs to appeal to students’ varied interests, including military science, Viking Fellows for education majors, an honors program, and study abroad opportunities. Academic support includes the writing, reading, and math labs. Student life includes a number of clubs and organizations in areas such as poetry and sustainability to LGBTQ and women in aviation.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
21 Pfeiffer University 53.70 3/5 41% Misenheimer, NC

Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Pfeiffer University is a private liberal arts university with campuses in Misenheimer, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and online. Approximately 1,200 students engage in transformational undergraduate learning and professional and graduate studies that foster leadership. BA or BS degrees can be earned in fields such as biology, communication, environmental studies, sports management, and religion and practical theology. The school’s two 3/2 programs allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years in elementary education BA/MS and business management and leadership (BMAL)/MBA.

Pfeiffer is one of the colleges in North Carolina offering bachelor’s degree completion options for students returning to school, including the BS in health administration, the BA in human relations, and the BA in interdisciplinary studies. Campus clubs and organizations address several interests, including Christian formation, gaming, history, servant leadership, and flag football.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
22 Catawba College 52.15 4/5 50% Salisbury, NC

A small liberal arts college located in Salisbury, Catawba College enrolls approximately 1,300 students from 35 states and 21 countries. The school offers more than 70 academic programs of study in traditional fields such as biology, history, nursing, politics, business, and teacher education. Bachelor’s programs lead to BA, BS, and BFA degrees; undergraduates also have the choice to create their own individualized plan of study.

Catawba, one of the best colleges in North Carolina, has strong science programming, such as the BS in environment & sustainability with four areas of concentration and the BA & BS in chemistry. Pre-medicine & related health professions include programs in dentistry, optometry, and veterinary medicine. Special programs for undergrads include the First-Year Experience, a set of programs designed to integrate students into campus life; the Alpha Club, in which students help freshmen during their first week on the campus; academic support; and various social organizations.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
23 Fayetteville State University 52.04 2/5 31% Fayetteville, NC

FSU, one of the North Carolina colleges to be designated as an HBCU, is a comprehensive regional university offering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students can pursue programs through the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business & Economics, or the School of Education. Programs include the BS in biotechnology, the EdD in educational leadership, an MS in sociology, a BA in visual arts, and much more. Students can also earn a BS in engineering by pursuing the “3+2” dual degree program, offered through FSU and North Carolina State University.

The school touts a diverse student population while still retaining its HBCU status. Support services include the Center for Promoting STEM Education and Research, the Office of Civic Engagement & Service Learning, and an honors program, among other resources. Students can join in over 78 student organizations and cheer on the school’s 10 NCAA Division II sports teams. Notable alumni include a handful of professional athletes, including Darrel Armstrong, a former NBA player and the current assistant for the Dallas Mavericks.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
24 North Carolina Central University 51.77 3/5 43% Durham, NC

Founded in 1909, NCCU became the first public liberal arts institution in the U.S. for African Americans. It is now a master’s comprehensive university, offering a variety of undergraduate degrees, a doctorate degree in integrated biosciences, and juris doctor degrees through its nationally renowned law school.

Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in areas ranging from aerospace studies to theater and dance. Dozens of master’s degrees are on offer, including an MBA in business administration/law, and MPharm in pharmaceutical sciences, and an MPA degree, among others. On campus, students can participate in several activities and organizations, including the theater and dance department, the student government association, and a thriving fraternity and sorority life. Students have access to the men’s and women’s achievement centers, the LGBTA resource center, the spiritual development & dialogue center, and more.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
25 Warren Wilson College 50.42 4/5 57% Swannanoa, NC

Warren Wilson is a liberal arts college near Asheville in the Swannanoa Valley. The school is one of the only colleges in North Carolina to combine work and service programs, providing students with a strong liberal arts education and lifelong leadership skills. Students can pursue a variety of majors, minors, and concentrations.

Bachelor’s programs include studies in arts, history & political science, modern languages, sociology, theater, and much more. Popular disciplines include environmental studies and creative writing. All students are encouraged to complete an independent capstone research project to present their work to faculty. Warren Wilson is a known leader in practicing sustainability, and students can partake in the Green Walkabout -- an experiential sustainability education program that teaches best practices for green buildings, landscaping, waste management, and more. Notably, students at Warren Wilson have received more grants and awards from the North Carolina Academy of Science for their research than any other school in the nation.

Tweet this Share this School Profile

Two-year colleges in North Carolina offer flexible learning opportunities, reasonable class sizes and a track record of either advancing students on to their bachelor’s or to stable careers. North Carolina is a great place to start your higher learning journey; the state’s major metropolitan areas are among the fastest growing in the country. A recent report on how North Carolina’s education system has helped its economy points out that 40% of NC wage earners “received education or training at a North Carolina community college during the last 10 years.” This 40% is responsible for a $19.6 billion boost to state income, or, as the report states, an amount equal to 322,000 new jobs.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Pamlico Community College 95.13 1/5 60% Grantsboro, NC

Since its beginnings as an industrial education center in 1962, Pamlico Community College has stayed true to its mission of providing accessible and affordable quality education to its students. Over the years, PCC has expanded its program offerings and program capabilities. PCC has launched an online course program and now helps students transfer into four-year bachelor's degrees through a contract program with East Carolina University. But amidst all this growth, PCC has managed to maintain a personalized approach to education with a nine-to-one student-teacher ratio. In addition to many of the more traditional associate degrees available at most community colleges in North Carolina, PCC offers two-year degrees in scientific fields like electroneurodiagnostic technology (the study of electrical activity in the brain and nervous system) and environmental science with majors available in environmental management technology and environmental science technology. PCC also provides a number of continuing education programs for working professionals, including several options for service professionals in law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency medical services. Many of these classes are offered during nights and weekends to accommodate enrollee work schedules.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 Brunswick Community College 82.73 2/5 60% Bolivia, NC

Established in 1979, Brunswick Community College is surrounded by the lush wetlands and forests of Brunswick County. BCC features one of the most celebrated campuses of all North Carolina community colleges and, in an effort to maintain the beauty and integrity of its natural surroundings, BCC has instituted an on-campus sustainability plan. This plan seeks to promote awareness, renew sustainability goals year after year, and excel in sustainability through on-campus initiatives. Students at BCC choose from a wealth of associate degree options, particularly in applied sciences, where BCC offers programs in aquaculture, aquaponics, a new ecotourism program, and the only two-year marine biotechnology program in the U.S. In addition to the many educational facilities on BCC's campus, students and residents of Brunswick County enjoy access to the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center, a state of the art 55,000 square foot wellness facility. The center features a 4,500 square foot lap pool, a shallow water pool, and a full gymnasium and fitness center. A variety of classes and lessons are available to students at the facility’s fitness and aquatic center.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 Cleveland Community College 80.00 1/5 56% Shelby, NC

Established in 1965, Cleveland Community College provides its diverse student body with two types of program options: first, college credit courses that can be applied toward degree, diploma, and certificate programs; and, second, continuing education noncredit courses for continued learning. Numerous associate degree options offered by CCC make it one of the best community colleges in North Carolina, with programs ranging from traditional options, like business and accounting, to more technical programs, such as a degree in automation technology or broadcasting and production technology. One of the more popular departments at CCC is the school’s expansive computer information technology department. This department offers degrees, diplomas, and certificates in data management, systems security, web administration and design, and more. For students looking for noncredit courses, CCC offers the Brown Emergency Training Center for emergency professional courses, as well as business training courses and several online courses. In terms of student assistance, the Student Success Center at CCC offers some of the most unique services in the state, such as counseling, mentorship programs, and health and fitness programs, all in addition to more standard tutoring, academic advising, and career services.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 Piedmont Community College 79.80 2/5 65% Roxboro, NC

Piedmont Community College was founded in 1970 to fill a void in higher education and provide job training in the Person County region of North Carolina. Today, PCC has campuses in Roxboro and Yanceyville and is one of the top two-year colleges in North Carolina. PCC continues to address the needs of its communities by offering associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates, as well as programs designed to transfer into four-year bachelor's degree programs and personal enrichment courses for working professionals. At PCC, students looking for associate degrees can choose from programs within five major fields: applied sciences, arts, fine arts, general education, and science. In addition to offering programs available at most accredited institutions across the nation, PCC also provides unique programs at all levels, including an associate of applied science degree in digital effects and animation, a gunsmithing diploma, and a phlebotomy certificate. In keeping with its career-focused traditions, nearly all programs at PCC have built-in work components such as internships or hands-on clinical experience.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 South Piedmont Community College 79.60 2/5 58% Polkton, NC

While it only began operating under its current name in 1999, South Piedmont Community College traces its roots back to 1962, when it was the Ansonville Industrial Education Center. Today, SPCC is among the best community colleges in North Carolina. The school hosts more than 2,500 students and strives to offer courses that meet the needs of every one of them, from general programs to highly technical education degrees to four-year transfer programs and workforce development courses. For students looking for career-focused associate degrees, SPCC offers programs in the business, technology, and medical fields. Since many of the degree options involve advanced technologies like sonography, engineering technologies, and computer and graphic design programs, students can expect a significant amount of hands-on experience in class. Due to the highly technical nature of many of the associate degrees available from SPCC, most credits are available for transfer into four-year degree programs at accredited institutions across the country, opening avenues for further study for many graduates.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 Surry Community College 77.00 2/5 71% Dobson, NC

Located among the Blue Ridge Mountains’ scenic foothills in Dobson, North Carolina, Surry Community College was founded in 1964. Today it has grown into an institution with over 18,000 students and educational centers throughout NC, including Elkin, Pilot Mountain, Yadkinville, Mount Airy, and Dobson. With focus on emerging technologies, SCC provides programs in 48 different fields, including 32 associate degree options, making it one of the best North Carolina community colleges. While SCC offers many of the standard associate degree programs, many of the school’s offerings involve the latest in technology, preparing graduates for both current and future practices. Some of the school’s more nontraditional degree options include automotive systems technology, viticulture and enology, and criminal justice technology with a concentration in latent evidence. In order to provide career-focused education and opportunities for its students, SCC has developed working and training relationships with various organizations across the state. Programs are designed and developed in partnership with these organizations to respond to industry and workforce demands. Additionally, SCC has created a number of training programs for NC's general workforce aimed at enhancing the community’s skills as a whole.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 Vance-Granville Community College 75.67 2/5 78% Henderson, NC

Servicing Vance, Granville, Franklin, and Warren counties in North Carolina, Vance-Granville Community College operates a campus in each of those regions. VGCC offers more than 40 programs in the arts and sciences, business and applied technologies, and health sciences. VGCC provides associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates, as well as noncredit and online courses in a variety of fields, which exemplifies why it has become one of the best community colleges in North Carolina. Though the institution has grown substantially since its founding in 1969 (now hosting around 11,000 students each year) VGCC still offers its students small classes and individual support from instructors. Among the three educational divisions available at VGCC, students can pursue degrees in highly specialized fields, such as bioprocess technology, mechatronics engineering technology, and computed tomography or radiography. VGCC offer flexible scheduling as a component of many of its programs and the flexibility allows students to work while completing their degree. VGCC students are encouraged to support the school’s athletic programs as they pursue National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) titles in men's basketball and women's volleyball.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 McDowell Technical Community College 74.80 1/5 56% Marion, NC

Established as Marion-McDowell Industrial Education Center in 1964, McDowell Technical Community College changed its name in 1988 to reflect the comprehensive nature of its programs. As a member of the North Carolina Community College System, MTCC has an open-door admissions policy, which means any qualified student has the right to take any of the programs it offers. Since its founding, MTCC has been driven by the mission of providing lifelong learning opportunities to the communities it serves, and, by delivering on this mission, it has become one of the top two-year colleges in North Carolina. MTCC offers associate degrees in applied science, arts, science, and general education, as well as many other diploma and certificate options. In the programs offered by MTCC, students will develop an understanding of the theoretical, technical, and business-related components of their chosen field. For instance, in addition to digital imaging, design, and business practices, students enrolled in the school’s photographic technology program take courses on the fundamentals of camera systems, lighting, and photographic processes. To adequately recognize the unique experiences gained from military service, MTCC grants transfer credits for appropriate military training and experience (including automatic physical education credits and flexible residency requirements).

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 Halifax Community College 71.40 1/5 53% Weldon, NC

One of the oldest members of the North Carolina Community College System, Halifax Community College of Halifax County was first established in 1967. Guided by the school's ambition to become an engine for educational, cultural, and economic progress in Roanoke Valley—and to become one of the leading community colleges in North Carolina—HCC offers associate degrees in fields that position its graduates not only for student success but to also serve North Carolina's thriving community. Associate degrees are available in several fields, including business, early childhood education, criminal justice technology, and more. The school also provide options for students who complete their associate degree and plan to transfer into four-year degree programs. Each of HCC’s associate degree programs are 60-61 semester hour programs and can be completed in two years. To fulfill requirements for certain programs, students may need to complete certificates in addition to their associate degree. For HCC’s criminal justice technology and medical office administration degrees, students can complete all requirements at HCC, whereas the school’s paralegal technology program will need to be completed through a qualified program approved by the NC State Bar.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 College of the Albemarle 70.80 2/5 55% Elizabeth City, NC

As first among comprehensive community colleges in North Carolina, College of The Albemarle has provided the state with quality, career-focused education since 1961. Over the last 55 years, COA has expanded both its programs and service area and developed into one of the leading North Carolina community colleges. Today, COA has four campuses across seven counties and offers associate degrees in nursing, arts, engineering, fine arts, science, applied science, and general education. In applied science, students have a wealth of options from which to choose, ranging from broad fields to specializations, including professional crafts such as jewelry, surgical technology, and biotechnology. Some programs options available at COA require students to complete certain requirements—such as lab work—at other institutions (such as nearby Pitt Community College). Other programs, like engineering, participate in partnerships with the University of North Carolina to facilitate seamless transitions from a two-year associate degree into a bachelor's degree program. Some programs, such as COA’s nursing program, require students to take additional credits to transfer. To better assist students, COA has developed helpful programs that allow students to track and acquire necessary prerequisites.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
11 Coastal Carolina Community College 70.73 2/5 59% Jacksonville, NC

With roots reaching back to the Onslow Industrial Education Center of 1965, Coastal Carolina Community College was founded to address a community need for technical education opportunities and technically trained graduates. At CCCC, students may choose between 13 associate degrees in applied science, including dental hygiene, architectural technology, and electronics engineering technology. Each associate degree takes between 64 to 76 semester credit hours to complete and may be completed in two years or less. All applied CCCC science degree programs provide practical technical training from experts in the field. Recognized as one of the best community colleges in North Carolina, CCCC offers a number of associate degrees designed to transfer students into four-year bachelor degrees at approved institutions. Additionally, the college is also a proud supporter of the United States military and offers on-site courses and training at both the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps Air Station New River. In total, almost half of the student body is composed of military personnel or their families.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
12 Roanoke-Chowan Community College 70.07 1/5 61% Ahoskie, NC

Located just outside of Ahoskie, North Carolina, Roanoke-Chowan Community College is an institution dedicated to the occupational training and support of its community. Surrounded by sprawling, 41-acre campus grounds, R-CCC provides several associate degrees tailored for transfer within the 16-member University of North Carolina System. Additionally, the school offers 13 separate associate degree options in applied science, including some of the very best among all two-year colleges in North Carolina. Standout programs include industrial systems technology and human services technology (mental health concentration). Students are asked to satisfy practical experience and fieldwork requirements for every applied science program at R-CCC prior to graduation. In recent years, R-CCC has made available a number of online programs to students. These programs are ideal for students who wish to pursue courses while, for example, working full-time. R-CCC’s campus notably features a seven-acre Arboretum/Environmental Science Outdoor Laboratory. The facility offers students and community members alike impressive sightseeing opportunities.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
13 Richmond Community College 69.87 1/5 60% Hamlet, NC

For over 50 years, Richmond Community College has provided its students and community members with valuable, career-focused tools and training. Today, with approximately 10,000 students and campuses in both Richmond and Scotland counties, RCC strives to support the communities that have supported it. To help solve the location’s unemployment rates—some of the highest in the country— RCC dedicates time and resources to work with local businesses. RCC offers training opportunities for employees, establishes programs, and produces professionals. As one of the leading community colleges in North Carolina, RCC offers more than 60 degrees, diplomas, and certificates. This includes more than 25 associate degrees, many of which are geared toward fields with local application, such as RCC’s electric utility substation and relay technology program, a product of a partnership with NC's Duke Energy. RCC offers a number of university pathway programs that provide students with two years of transfer-ready credits to put toward a bachelor's degree in areas such as agricultural science and poultry science. RCC also provides entertainment for both residents and students, regularly hosting events and shows at its 1,000-seat Robert L. and Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium and Community Center.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
14 Gaston College 69.60 3/5 72% Dallas, NC

Serving more than 16,000 students from three campuses in Gaston and Lincoln counties, Gaston College is one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina. GC offers more than 100 programs of study. Each program is designed to help students enter the workforce immediately after graduation. GC is dedicated to providing students with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience necessary for new graduates to find successful careers. Gaston College offers associate degree options in the fields of arts and sciences, business and information technology, engineering and industrial technologies, and public safety. GC’s programs range from broad and widely applicable to very specific, like its civil engineering technology associate degree and the first accredited fire protection technology program in the South. The college's hands-on approach is aided by fully functioning facilities and state of the art equipment, including a full recording studio and radio station used daily by students enrolled in the school’s broadcasting and production technology program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
15 Johnston Community College 67.93 2/5 67% Smithfield, NC

Since 1969, Johnston Community College has been considered one of the best community colleges in North Carolina, providing students with associate degree options and occupational and technical training. Despite its more than 15,000 students and the presence of its campuses throughout the state, JCC employs a small college mentality. JCC focuses on individual student needs and works with its surrounding community as much as possible. Students and community members alike enjoy the school’s lushly forested, 175-acre main campus in Smithfield, NC. In addition to JCC’s transfer-ready associate degrees, the school offers career-focused technical associate degree options in fields such as business, construction, health, public service, and transportation. Some JCC programs, particularly those in health sciences, have prerequisites that must be completed prior to an applicant's acceptance into a program. Some programs, such as computed tomography and medical sonography, are offered in collaboration with other facilities and educational institutions.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
16 Wilkes Community College 67.20 1/5 57% Wilkesboro, NC

Nestled at the feet of both the Blue Ridge and Brushy Mountains ranges, Wilkes Community College has experienced significant growth since its founding in 1965. From a 75-acre campus with only 68 students to today’s 1,400-square mile service area of Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties, WCC is now one of the leading two-year colleges in North Carolina. Offering more than 35 programs in the arts and in fields such as engineering, science, and general education, WCC has options for the needs of every student. Many of WCC’s associate degree programs function as pathway programs. These pathway programs allow students to earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree. WCC’s associate degree in engineering, for example, is governed by an agreement with the University of North Carolina that allows WCC students to transfer into any of five engineering schools in North Carolina. Designed to increase the likelihood of graduates finding work and going on to support their local communities, the school offers students applied career technology programs in a variety of community-oriented fields. Students and residents that visit WCC enjoy the picturesque walking trails and gardens on campus, gardens tended and managed by the WCC’s horticulture technology program students.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
17 Mayland Community College 64.73 2/5 65% Spruce Pine, NC

Surrounded by the gentle roll of western North Carolina’s celebrated Appalachian Mountains, Mayland Community College has grown immensely since its humble origins in 1970. While the school had only a few students during its first semester, today MCC hosts more than 10,000 students per year. Extending from MCC’s main campus in picturesque Spruce Pine, MCC now has two additional learning centers in Newland and Burnsville, and the school has become one of the top community colleges in North Carolina. Twin values of community and career opportunity guide MCC's program creation criteria, yielding courses built around community needs and employment opportunities. The college offers 15 associate degrees, including several designed to provide students hands-on experience on-site. For example, MCC’s associate degree in cosmetology provides students with the opportunity to operate an on-campus salon and the school’s horticulture program allows students to manage the school’s campus gardens and plant sales. MCC also hosts a number of student-run organizations, including those that are founded and maintained by students with common personal and/or academic interests.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
18 Davidson County Community College 62.93 2/5 60% Thomasville, NC

Originally founded to assist the region’s workforce during its transition from agriculture to a manufacturing-based economy, Davidson County Community College continues to prepare its graduates for a changing and ever-evolving world more than half a century later. DCCC has two campuses and three satellite education centers, educates more than 16,000 students in over 50 programs, and today ranks among the best of North Carolina community colleges. DCCC’s 97-acre Davidson campus is home to two emergency services training facilities, as well as the school’s new Technology and Conference Center and Transportation Technology Center, and the school’s Davie campus features a state-of-the-art library. For students pursuing the school’s fire protection technology associate degree in applied science, DCCC offers a choice between specializing in fire protection administration or public safety communication, as well as the latest in hands-on equipment and modern facilities. For students interested in athletics, DCCC's women's volleyball and men's basketball teams are part of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and games have become community-wide events.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
19 James Sprunt Community College 61.80 2/5 57% Kenansville, NC

Standing just outside of the town of Kenansville, NC in Duplin County, James Sprunt Community College is a service-oriented college, and the school is committed to supporting and assisting its surrounding community. As a result, many of the school’s programs—especially its associate degree programs—are tailored to meet community needs. Students are provided with extensive hands-on training in every course. For example, JSCC’s diesel and heavy equipment technology associate degree allows students to work directly with specialized equipment on a daily basis. Some programs, such as the the school’s agribusiness technology associate degree, give students a blend of theoretical knowledge—including marketing and law—and practical experience, including on-site experience with materials. Programs designed in this manner allow graduates to demonstrate a working understanding of both concept and practice in their respective industries. These programs have also gone a long way in making JSCC one of the best community colleges in North Carolina. At JSCC, several educational assistance programs are available for military veterans and their families, including programs that provide financial assistance, transfer credits, and counseling and rehabilitation services.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
20 Catawba Valley Community College 60.33 2/5 71% Hickory, NC

In 1958, when Catawba Valley Community College was first established, the school was only the ninth of its kind. Today, there are many more two-year colleges in North Carolina yet CVCC remains one-of-a-kind in its approach to program delivery and education. With over 60 programs of study in the schools of business, industry, and technology; academics, education, and fine arts; health and public services, and access, development, and success, CVCC is committed to delivering career-focused education in fields that matter and provide true career potential. CVCC offers several in-demand associate degree programs and the school’s medical field options are some of the best in the state. CVCC’s most popular programs include its cutting edge electroneurodiagnostics program, which prepares students for a career studying electrical brain and nervous system activity, and its associate degree in polysomnography, which prepares students to become polysomnographic technologists performing sleep diagnostics. Many of its medical field programs make use of CVCC's ValleySim hospital, a high-tech, realistic healthcare facility for research and educational purposes. Other on-campus attractions include the Tarlton complex, a facility that offers conference rooms and recreational playing fields for student and community use.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
21 Wayne Community College 59.93 1/5 62% Goldsboro, NC

Wayne Community College's 175-acre main campus is set on the coastal plains of North Carolina, one of the state’s leading agricultural areas. For more than 50 years, WCC has provided its surrounding communities with first-rate options for higher education and career-focused training. In turn, WCC has long been considered one of the top community colleges in North Carolina. The school has more than 15,000 students studying in over 100 degree, diploma, certificate, and continuing education programs every year. Several available associate degrees prepare students to work and thrive within local industries, including associate degrees in sustainable agriculture and forest management technology. WCC also offers highly technical associate degrees like simulation game development, which trains students in complex 3D modeling and software engineering. WCC’s aviation systems technology associate degree has long been a focal point, educating students in the art of aviation manufacturing and maintenance for almost 50 years. Students get their hands dirty in classroom and hanger settings at WCC's own Wayne Executive Jetport. WCC classes take frequent trips to nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for additional experience.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
22 Randolph Community College 59.53 2/5 73% Asheboro, NC

Located beside the ancient Uwharrie Mountains, Randolph Community College has experienced considerable growth since its opening in 1962. While the school has expanded its facilities tenfold, increased its student body exponentially, and changed its name three times, its focus on community workforce development has always remained the same. In line with the very best of North Carolina community colleges, RCC offers a range of associate degrees in five different fields. Many of RCC’s associate degree programs offer full access to pertinent on-site training facilities. The school’s health sciences program, for example, enjoys access to the Archdale Center and its state of the art biology lab. This facility is used primarily by the school’s medical assisting associate degree students. Additionally, RCC’s criminal justice program uses the 60-acre Emergency Services Training Center facility. This building is equipped with a five-story drill tower, a live burn building, firing ranges, emergency vehicle driving courses, and a tactical facility. RCC also hosts several training certificate programs on these grounds for law enforcement, emergency services, and firefighting.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
23 Wake Technical Community College 59.20 2/5 72% Raleigh, NC

Educating more than 70,000 students a year across five campuses and multiple training facilities, Wake Technical Community College is the largest community college in North Carolina. Wake Tech offers more than 200 associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates, including both transfer-ready and career-ready associate degrees. Students looking to enter the workforce with their degrees have options in the fields of applied engineering and technologies, business and public services technologies, computer technologies, and health sciences. Each field of study at Wake Tech provides specialized degree opportunities for students. Examples include biopharmaceutical technology, baking and pastry arts, mobile application development, and health and fitness science. In addition to degree tracks, Wake Tech also provides several certificates and diploma options, many of which are available online. Wake Tech also hosts several National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) sports teams, including the school’s men's basketball team, named regional champions in 2013-2014.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
24 Carteret Community College 57.40 3/5 59% Morehead City, NC

Located in Morehead City, North Carolina among the scenic shores of Bogue Sound and founded in 1963, Carteret Community College has been dedicated to serving its community for over 50 years. In addition to offering associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates for a wide range of fields, CCC is also a proud contributor to the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP). C-STEP works in conjunction with the University of North Carolina to provide transfer-ready associate degrees students can put toward bachelor's degrees at UNC. CCC offers many choices for students looking for career-ready degrees. Examples include the school’s popular respiratory therapy degree, which prepares students to take the field’s national exam, and an aquaculture program unique among North Carolina community colleges. This program uses a 5,000-square foot facility equipped with a state of the art aquatic hatchery and cutting edge marine science technology and equipment. CCC supports the U.S. military by offering educational assistance above and beyond the financial and academic support available to military veterans and their families. Veterans at CCC also enjoy access to the Veterans Student Success Center, a CCC facility that features a lounge, kitchenette, and quiet workstations.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
25 Pitt Community College 57.13 1/5 53% Winterville, NC

Pitt Community College has long focused on the development of future leaders for the communities it serves. PCC offers programs designed to continually adapt and respond to the demands of today’s ever-changing economic environment. The school’s community-focused approach creates and maintains a dynamic learning opportunity for students throughout the region and beyond: PCC’s approach to eLearning provides busy students with the flexibility they need to get ahead. In addition to the associate degree programs available at most community colleges in North Carolina, PCC offers many specialized degree options, including several in its acclaimed health sciences division. With 10 associate degree programs available in medical fields, including emergency medical science, occupational therapy assistance, and advanced medical coding, students interested in healthcare will find what they're looking for at PCC. Most healthcare programs at PCC utilize cutting edge simulated healthcare environments and many healthcare programs at the school allow students to take classes online.

Tweet this Share this School Profile

If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in North Carolina, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Old North State.

Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina has a terrain and locale for everyone. The temperate winters and warm summers make it the perfect state for hikers and surfers alike, and the rich history provides diversions for those less inclined to be outdoorsy in the form of history museums, art galleries and brewery tours. Though the state boasts an estimated population of nearly 10 million, there are still places, such as the Appalachian trails, where it’s possible to find solitude.

The cost of living for most towns and cities in North Carolina is lower than the national average, and, according to the Census Bureau, the median household income for 2013 was $46,334. Below, we call your attention to the three sections of this state: the Mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. There are fewer areas considered “cities,” according to the Census Bureau, in the mountainous areas of NC, but this is where you will find the hiking trails that lead into the Appalachians. The Piedmont, a plateau between the mountains and the ocean, makes up the center section of the state and is home to more of the larger cities, including the state’s capital. The Coastal Plain is where visitors and residents will find the beaches and swamps of North Carolina.

Regional Spotlight: Mountains

  • Major City: Asheville
  • Attractions: Amazing PubCycle, Treetops Adventure Park, Appalachian Mountain Trails
  • Cost of Living: Asheville
  • Popular Schools: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, UNC-Asheville
  • Population: 87,236 (2013 estimate)
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
  • Climate: Humid Subtropical

Regional Spotlight: Piedmont

  • Major Cities: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh
  • Attractions: Videri Chocolate Factory, Greensboro Science Center, Andy Griffith Playhouse, Bunker Hill Covered Bridge
  • Cost of Living: Charlotte, Durham, Raleigh
  • Popular Schools: Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, NCSU-Raleigh
  • Population: Charlotte – 87,236; Greensboro – 279,639; Raleigh – 431,746
  • Unemployment: Charlotte – 5.5%; Greensboro – 5.7%; Raleigh – 4.6%
  • Climate: Humid Subtropical

Regional Spotlight: Coastal Plain

  • Major Cities: Jacksonville, Wilmington
  • Attractions: Brunswick Islands, Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, Burgwin-Wright House & Gardens
  • Cost of Living: Jacksonville, Wilmington
  • Popular Schools: UNC-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina Community College
  • Population: Jacksonville – 69,079; Wilmington – 112,067
  • Unemployment: Jacksonville – 5.6%; Wilmington – 5.5%
  • Climate: Humid Subtropical

Residency

Future and current college students who are considering attending school in a different state are likely already aware that tuition will be higher for them as out-of-state students. In fact, average in-state tuition and fees at four-year, public schools for the 2014-15 school year were nearly $15,000 less than for out-of-state students in North Carolina.

Students who wish to reduce the price of their college education may want to consider becoming state residents. This is not something that occurs overnight. It takes at least 12 months to attain residential status for tuition purposes, the steps to do so, however, are pretty straightforward.

Step One: Establish Residency

This should be done at least one year before you intend to apply for in-state tuition.

  • Apply for a NC driver’s license
  • Register your vehicle and obtain NC license plates
  • Register to vote in NC

Step Two: Proof

Students are required to prove:

  • They were full-time residents of the state for 12 continuous months
  • They always intended to make North Carolina their state of residence and weren’t merely there to attend school.

There are several factors that are taken into consideration in order to prove intent, including, but not limited to: permanent employment, filing state income taxes, where students live when school is not in session and where they serve jury duty. These requirements are universal across the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University campuses.

Additional Resources for North Carolina College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links

Best Colleges in North Carolina of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Duke University Durham, NC
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
3 Davidson College Davidson, NC
4 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
5 Wake Forest University Winston Salem, NC
6 Elon Uiversity Elon, NC
7 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
8 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
9 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
10 Meredith College Raleigh, NC
11 University of North Carolina at Asheville Asheville, NC
12 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
13 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
14 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
15 High Point University High Point, NC
16 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
17 Catawba College Salisbury, NC
18 University of Mount Olive Mount Olive, NC
19 North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC
20 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
21 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
22 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
23 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Charlotte, NC
24 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem, NC
25 Guilford College Greensboro, NC
Best Community Colleges
1 Maryland Community College Spruce Pine, NC
2 Piedmont Community College Roxboro, NC
3 Haywood Community College Clyde, NC
4 Brunswick Community College Bolivia, NC
5 Vance-Granville Community College Henderson, NC
6 Randolph Community College Asheboro, NC
7 Johnston Community College Smithfield, NC
8 Catawba Valley Community College Hickory, NC
9 Central Carolina Community College Sanford, NC
10 Gaston College Dallas, NC
11 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC
12 Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville, NC
13 Stanly Community College Albermarle, NC
14 Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC
15 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville, NC
16 Davidson County Community College Thomasville, NC
17 Wilson Community College Wilson, NC
18 Tri-County Community College Murphy, NC
19 College of the Albemarle Elizabeth City, NC
20 Wilkes Community College Wilkesboro, NC
21 Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Salisbury, NC
22 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, NC
23 Richmond Community College Hamlet, NC
24 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC
25 Forsyth Technical Community College Winston Salem, NC