2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

North Carolina schools offer an array of online learning options. Learn more about the top online colleges in North Carolina, admissions requirements, and costs.
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North Carolina earned the number one spot on the Forbes Best States for Business list three years in a row from 2017 to 2019. The state boasts relatively low business costs and regulatory policies. Large companies, including Microsoft, Carvana, and Pfizer, plan to expand in North Carolina due to the state's business-friendly environment and well-educated labor force — many of whom attended one of North Carolina's 53 colleges and universities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and finance, education, and healthcare are some of North Carolina's largest employment sectors. The average annual wage for professionals in these fields ranges from about $51,00-$76,000. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, although a graduate degree may qualify candidates for further advancement and better job opportunities.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

To help prospective students make informed decisions about their academic future, we ranked the best online colleges in North Carolina. Read on to learn more about top programs and admission requirements.

How We Rank Schools

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2022 Best Accredited Online Colleges in North Carolina

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#1 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Best Value

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

  • Raleigh, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $272
Undergrad, out of state | $1,138
Graduate, in state | $505
Graduate, out of state | $1,505

Part of the University of North Carolina system, NC State offers over 120 online programs. Learners can pursue certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and bachelor's degree-completion pathways. Most programs run entirely online. However, some include hybrid or site-based distance classes. 

Prospective students apply using the Common App or Coalition App. NC State admits students in the fall and spring. Applicants submit high school transcripts and complete an essay and short answers. The school makes SAT and ACT scores optional. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,535
Out-of-state
$26,654
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
36,304
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $204
Undergrad, out of state | $883
Graduate, in state | $289
Graduate, out of state | $1,020

One of the best colleges in North Carolina, ECU offers many degree and certificate programs. Students can pursue degree-completion options, post-master's and post-doctoral nursing certificates, and alternative or add-on teacher licensure. 

Over 6,000 ECU students pursue online offerings in fields like business, healthcare, and education. Each program establishes specific admission eligibility requirements. Online learners can access student service specialists using a toll-free number and a dedicated email address.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $185
Undergrad, out of state | $771
Graduate, in state | $262
Graduate, out of state | $1,030

Among the best online colleges in North Carolina, UNCW offers many in-demand programs. Some options include an accelerated RN-to-BSN degree and an executive MBA designed for working professionals. Distance learners take classes in fully online synchronous and asynchronous formats. Some programs use hybrid models that combine face-to-face meetings with online instruction.

First-year students must meet the minimum course requirements established by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System. These requirements align with most North Carolina public school graduation requirements. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

Appalachian State University

  • Boone, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $177
Undergrad, out of state | $827
Graduate, in state | $269
Graduate, out of state | $1,103

Established in 1899, Appalachian ranks among the top colleges in North Carolina. The school offers nearly 40 programs that run fully online or through a hybrid format of online and satellite campus learning. Students can pursue online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in education, healthcare, and professional studies. Most programs record and archive online courses. Learners can access lectures at their convenience. 

Prospective students can attend online information sessions to learn about entrance requirements and programs. Admission requirements vary by degree level. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,242
Out-of-state
$19,049
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
19,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $184
Undergrad, out of state | $369
Graduate, in state | $290
Graduate, out of state | $580

One of the three original schools in the University of North Carolina system, UNCG ranks among the best online colleges in North Carolina. The school offers over 125 areas of study. Students can enroll in online programs in fields like business, education, and social sciences. Online learners can access the same resources as on-campus students, including career development and placement services. 

Admission requirements vary by program and degree level. First-year college students can apply using SpartanLink, Common App, or College Foundation of North Carolina portals. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,422
Out-of-state
$19,581
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
20,196
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#6 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Best Value

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Charlotte, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $129
Undergrad, out of state | $318
Graduate, in state | $241
Graduate, out of state | $482

UNC Charlotte ranks among the best colleges in North Carolina. Learners can earn degrees fully online or via site-based locations throughout the state. Online enrollees can choose bachelor's-completion programs, graduate degrees and certificates, and teacher licensure programs.

Specific schools within UNC Charlotte establish their own entrance requirements. However, all first-year students must submit official high school transcripts and an essay. Online learners receive technical support and specialized services from program-specific distance education managers and librarians.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,812
Out-of-state
$17,246
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
29,615
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Best Value

Western Carolina University

  • Cullowhee, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $66
Undergrad, out of state | $232
Graduate, in state | $271
Graduate, out of state | $849

One of the best online colleges in North Carolina, WCU offers several nationally recognized online degree and certificate programs. Learners can enroll in programs in fields like nursing, education, and emergency management. Working students can continue their careers by pursuing part-time, online degree-completion programs. 

Individual programs set specific entrance requirements. Admission to online programs follows a two-stage process. Prospective students first apply for acceptance to the university. They can then apply to their program of interest. Online learners can access many resources, including 24-hour tutoring services. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,000
Out-of-state
$5,000
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
12,167
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

North Carolina A & T State University

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $120
Undergrad, out of state | $576
Graduate, in state | $233
Graduate, out of state | $860

North Carolina A&T State University, among the nation's largest historically black colleges and universities, offers over 90 degrees and certificates. Learners can study academic, agricultural, and technical fields. The school offers 10 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in online formats. Each online degree and certificate program provides a coordinator to help enrollees with remote registration, transfer credits, and academic support.

The university maintains a rolling admissions policy, accepting first-year students based on fulfillment of the University of North Carolina system minimum course requirements.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,540
Out-of-state
$17,050
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
12,556
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

Fayetteville State University

  • Fayetteville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $124
Undergrad, out of state | $608
Graduate, in state | $191
Graduate, out of state | $806

FSU, a historically black school affiliated with the University of North Carolina System, welcomes a diverse student body from all backgrounds. In addition to campus-based programs, students can enroll in online undergraduate degree-completion programs and graduate programs in fields like business, nursing, and psychology.

The degree-completion programs admit students who have fulfilled the university's college core curriculum or have dual-enrollment status with a partnering community college. Like many colleges in North Carolina, admission requirements for online graduate programs vary by department. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,982
Out-of-state
$14,590
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
6,551
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 2022 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina

Gardner-Webb University

  • Boiling Springs, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $375
Undergrad, out of state | $375
Graduate, in state | $51
Graduate, out of state | $515

Founded in 1905, Gardner-Webb is a private Christian-affiliated institution that offers over 80 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs. A leader in online education since 1999, the university awards degrees and certificates in several career-focused fields. Some options include education, nursing, and sports management. 

Transfer students with an associate degree or at least 24 credits from a regionally accredited school can apply to Gardner-Webb's online undergraduate degree-completion programs. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,220
Out-of-state
$31,220
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
3,518
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Top Degree Programs in North Carolina

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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