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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Published on April 4, 2022

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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.

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

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.

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

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 Online College in North Carolina

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

School Information
Location Raleigh, North Carolina
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#2 Online College in North Carolina

East Carolina University

School Information
Location Greenville, North Carolina
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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.

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#3 Online College in North Carolina

University of North Carolina Wilmington

School Information
Location Wilmington, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#4 Online College in North Carolina

Appalachian State University

School Information
Location Boone, North Carolina
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#5 Online College in North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

School Information
Location Greensboro, North Carolina
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 59%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#6 Online College in North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

School Information
Location Charlotte, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 64%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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.

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#7 Online College in North Carolina

Western Carolina University

School Information
Location Cullowhee, North Carolina
Admission Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 62%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#8 Online College in North Carolina

North Carolina A & T State University

School Information
Location Greensboro, North Carolina
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 51%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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.

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#9 Online College in North Carolina

Fayetteville State University

School Information
Location Fayetteville, North Carolina
Admission Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 34%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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#10 Online College in North Carolina

Gardner-Webb University

School Information
Location Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 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. 

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Best Community Colleges in North Carolina

Top Degree Programs in North Carolina

Best Online Master's in Psychology Programs Best Online Master's in Counseling Programs Best Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs

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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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