2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, North Carolina included.

Public Public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

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

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.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Graduation Rate

    91%

    Enrollment

    30,092

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7019

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $34198

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, welcomes students with 274 program options. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school reports a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Most students, approximately 64 %, use some form of financial aid to pay for their education at the school. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 91%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The admission rate is 25% for incoming students. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission.

    #2

    University of North Carolina School of the Arts

    Winston Salem, NC

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    1,070

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6497

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23040

    Located in Winston Salem, North Carolina, University of North Carolina School of the Arts offers multiple programs as a public institution. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution reports that students receive an average aid award of $9843, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $11940. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the institution. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. University of North Carolina School of the Arts has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    Raleigh, NC

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    36,042

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6535

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $26654

    From its campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina State University at Raleigh grants degrees as a public institution. The school's accredited degrees help graduates launch or advance professional careers. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $ 9595, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $ 14600. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. North Carolina State University at Raleigh holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #4

    Pamlico Community College

    Grantsboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    362

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1824

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6432

    A public institution, Pamlico Community College enrolls students on its campus in Grantsboro, North Carolina. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Pamlico Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Appalachian State University

    Boone, NC

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    20,023

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4242

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19049

    Located in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University enrolls students as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports that 68% of students receive financial aid and 45% take out loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 73%. The admission rate is 80% for new students. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying. Appalachian State University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #6

    University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Wilmington, NC

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    17,915

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4443

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18508

    A public institution located in Wilmington, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Wilmington grants degrees through multiple programs. Students earn an accredited degree that prepares them for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that students receive an average aid award of $ 6801, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $ 17946. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #7

    Carolinas College of Health Sciences

    Charlotte, NC

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    514

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13752

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13752

    Located in North Carolina, Carolinas College of Health Sciences offers 9 academic programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 7-to-1. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The public school reports a graduation rate of 50%. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. Prospective learners can expect admission rates of 32%. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #8

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Charlotte, NC

    Graduation Rate

    65%

    Enrollment

    30,146

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3812

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17246

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers 242 programs for degree-seekers. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20-to-1. At the institution, 74% of the students receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 65%. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. Applicants can expect admission rates of 80%. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option.

    #9

    East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC

    Graduation Rate

    65%

    Enrollment

    28,798

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4452

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20729

    Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University often ranks among the best schools. The college enrolls students in high-value programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for learners with a variety of professional goals. Learners can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #10

    North Carolina A & T State University

    Greensboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    52%

    Enrollment

    12,753

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3540

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17050

    Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, North Carolina A & T State University grants degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps students reach their professional goals. Undergraduates complete lower-division and upper-division coursework to earn a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's programs also incorporate general education coursework. Upper-division classes emphasize advanced concepts within the major. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. North Carolina A & T State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #11

    Western Carolina University

    Cullowhee, NC

    Graduation Rate

    64%

    Enrollment

    12,243

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5000

    Western Carolina University, which operates a campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina, often ranks as one of the best colleges. The college offers a variety of degree-granting programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Enrollees typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help students complete the application process. Degree-seekers also use financial aid to cover their educational costs. Western Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #12

    Montgomery Community College

    Troy, NC

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    679

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    A public institution, Montgomery Community College enrolls students on its campus in Troy, North Carolina. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. These policies make it easier to apply. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Montgomery Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Brunswick Community College

    Bolivia, NC

    Graduation Rate

    37%

    Enrollment

    1,553

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    From its campus in Bolivia, North Carolina, Brunswick Community College grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Students study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #14

    Randolph Community College

    Asheboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    36%

    Enrollment

    2,548

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2280

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8040

    Randolph Community College, located in Asheboro, North Carolina, grants degrees and certificates as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. A total of 74% of students receive financial aid and 0% take out loans at the institution. The public institution reports a 36% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Randolph Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #15

    Southwestern Community College

    Sylva, NC

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    2,259

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2128

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7504

    From its campus in Sylva, North Carolina, Southwestern Community College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. According to the institution, 85% of students receive aid and 6% receive loans. The school reports a 45% graduation rate. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #16

    Mayland Community College

    Spruce Pine, NC

    Graduation Rate

    28%

    Enrollment

    441

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Mayland Community College, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    19,764

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4422

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19581

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro grants degrees as a public institution from its location in Greensboro, North Carolina. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. Students who complete a technical or academic program may enter the workforce. The school's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. At the institution, 87% of students receive financial aid and 56% take out loans. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 59%. The admission rate is 88%. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling. University of North Carolina at Greensboro holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #18

    Wilkes Community College

    Wilkesboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    38%

    Enrollment

    2,435

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Wilkes Community College, a public institution in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Wilkes Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #19

    Sampson Community College

    Clinton, NC

    Graduation Rate

    49%

    Enrollment

    1,492

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3116

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10988

    A public institution, Sampson Community College educates students on its campus in Clinton, North Carolina. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school often fund their education with federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Sampson Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #20

    Wayne Community College

    Goldsboro, NC

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    2,701

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Wayne Community College is a public institution located in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. A total of 73% of students receive financial aid and 0% take out loans at the institution. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 48%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #21

    Haywood Community College

    Clyde, NC

    Graduation Rate

    49%

    Enrollment

    1,440

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    A public institution located in Clyde, North Carolina, Haywood Community College enrolls students in several programs. The school offers programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Current students receive an average aid award of $7490, making the average tuition cost after aid $6300. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Haywood Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #22

    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem, NC

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    5,169

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3401

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13648

    Winston-Salem State University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps students reach their educational goals. Undergraduates complete lower-division and upper-division coursework to earn a bachelor's degree. The school's 120-credit bachelor's programs also include general education credits. Upper-division credits emphasize advanced concepts in the major. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #23

    Western Piedmont Community College

    Morganton, NC

    Graduation Rate

    41%

    Enrollment

    1,792

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    From its campus in Morganton, North Carolina, Western Piedmont Community College enrolls learners in 72 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school provides a student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-1. Approximately 82% of students at this institution fund their education, at least in part, with financial aid. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 41%. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #24

    Elizabeth City State University

    Elizabeth City, NC

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    2,002

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5000

    From its campus in North Carolina, Elizabeth City State University administers 35 total programs. The institution's many rigorous academic programs rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. The institution reports that of its total enrollees, 96% receive financial aid. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 43%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school reports an 75% admission rate. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #25

    Cleveland Community College

    Shelby, NC

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    2,269

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Located in Shelby, North Carolina, Cleveland Community College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 83% of students receive financial aid and 0% take out loans. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 33%. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Cleveland Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #26

    Halifax Community College

    Weldon, NC

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    988

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    From its campus in Weldon, North Carolina, Halifax Community College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. At the institution, 71% of students receive aid and 0% receive loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 50%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #27

    James Sprunt Community College

    Kenansville, NC

    Graduation Rate

    35%

    Enrollment

    1,202

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Located in Kenansville, North Carolina, James Sprunt Community College is a public institution that offers multiple programs. The school offers programs that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $8347, making the average tuition cost after aid $3464. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #28

    Richmond Community College

    Hamlet, NC

    Graduation Rate

    40%

    Enrollment

    2,226

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Located in Hamlet, North Carolina, Richmond Community College operates as a public institution. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited institution, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 97% of students receive aid, and 0% receive loans. The public school reports a 40% graduation rate. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. Richmond Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #29

    College of the Albemarle

    Elizabeth City, NC

    Graduation Rate

    40%

    Enrollment

    2,508

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2080

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6705

    College of the Albemarle, located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, offers 65 programs for students. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school reports a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. According to the institution, 64% of students receive some form of financial aid. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 40%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling.

    #30

    Blue Ridge Community College

    Flat Rock, NC

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    2,399

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2432

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8576

    Blue Ridge Community College grants degrees as a public institution from its location in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. At the accredited school, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. At the institution, 86% of students receive financial aid and 9% take out loans. The public school reports a graduation rate of 53%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Blue Ridge Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    Why Choose a Public College or University in North Carolina?

    North Carolina has the best of both worlds for outdoorsy folks: mountains and beaches. Coupled with its agreeable weather, this makes North Carolina a favorable place to live. North Carolina also offers a booming economy with major cities as well as a relatively low cost of living.

    North Carolina has a competitive university system that includesover 70 public Public colleges and universities. Carolina provides many options for you tochoose the best college for you. Although North Carolina is well known for the private Duke University, there are many top-ranking public institutions as well.

    When considering pursuing a degree at aprivate or a public college, you should factor in the pros and cons of each type of college. Public colleges and universities are typically larger, state-funded schools. Private colleges and universities are either for-profit or nonprofit educational institutions.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in North Carolina

    Pros

    • Check Circle
      Class options: Because public institutions tend to be larger, there are more majors and programs to choose from. They also have more course offerings than private institutions.
    • Check Circle
      Location: North Carolina has mountains, oceans, large cities, and small towns. The state experiences mostly mild temperatures and has an overall low cost of living.
    • Check Circle
      Sports: Many North Carolina schools have top-performing sports teams. Whether you play sports or simply enjoy watching basketball games, North Carolina has many competitive teams to follow.

    Cons

    • X Circle
      Larger class sizes: Public colleges and universities have a larger student population than private institutions, leading to larger class sizes.
    • X Circle
      Professor availability: Because public colleges and universities have more students and larger class sizes than private colleges, you may have difficulty connecting with your professors.
    • X Circle
      Hurricanes: Although the weather is mostly mild and temperate, North Carolina does experience hurricanes. Hurricanes can disrupt your school year, create damage, and can even be deadly.

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

    When researching colleges and universities in North Carolina, you should know whether the college or university is anonprofit or for-profit college. All public colleges and universities are nonprofit colleges. Private institutions can be either nonprofit or for-profit. There are pros and cons to attending a for-profit college.

    For-profit colleges and universities are private schools whose bottom line is to turn a profit. For-profit schools are funded by student tuition, which typically results in a higher tuition cost for students. On the other hand, nonprofit colleges receive funding from state governments, donations, and tuition.

    Investors and shareholders make decisions at for-profit colleges and universities, whereas private or public nonprofit colleges are governed by a board of trustees and are focused on the quality of education.

    Many graduates of for-profit schools struggle to find work in their fields upon graduating, and many lawsuits against for-profit colleges and universities have sprung up over the years for predatory practices.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in North Carolina?

    North Carolina is well-known for having affordable public postsecondary education. The average cost of tuition for public colleges and universities in North Carolina is lower than the national average cost of tuition for public institutions.

    For the 2019-20 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees for public institutions in North Carolina was $7,230 for in-state residents, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The national average cost for tuition and fees that same year was $9,350.

    In-state residents and out-of-state residents pay different tuition and fee costs. However, out-of-state tuition in North Carolina is still lower than the national average for out-of-state tuition and fees. According to the NCES, the average cost of tuition and fees for North Carolina colleges and universities was $23,360 for out-of-state residents, whereas the national average cost was $27,020.

    There are many misconceptions about paying for college. For instance, tuition and fees are not the only cost of attending a college or university. You should also consider the cost of room and board. The average cost of room and board for public colleges and universities in North Carolina was $10,340 during the 2019-20 academic year.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

    How many public colleges and universities are there in North Carolina?

    North Carolina has over 70 public colleges and universities. According to the NCES, as of 2019-20 North Carolina had 75 public colleges and universities and 60 private institutions. Of the 60 private schools, 50 were nonprofit colleges.

    Public colleges and universities with the highest enrollment include the University of North Carolina’s multiple campuses, North Carolina State University, and East Carolina University.

    What is the most expensive public college or university in North Carolina?

    The most expensive public college or university in North Carolina is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The average cost of tuition and fees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the 2021-22 academic year was $9,040 for in-state residents and $36,900 for out-of-state residents.

    Because of expensive tuition, cost may be a huge factor in determining where you attend college. Many aspects contribute to the high cost of colleges. Although colleges and universities in North Carolina are cheaper than the national average, the colleges vary in cost.

    What is the least expensive public college or university in North Carolina?

    There are several public colleges and universities in North Carolina with exceptionally inexpensive tuition and fees. Elizabeth City State University is one of the least expensive public institutions in North Carolina.

    Elizabeth City State University is very affordable, with a flat-rate yearly tuition of $1,000 for full-time in-state residents and $5,000 for full-time out-of-state residents. Including tuition and fees, the in-state tuition for the 2020-21 academic year was $6,600, and out-of-state tuition was $10,600.

    What is the biggest public college or university in North Carolina?

    There are several large public colleges and universities in North Carolina. The biggest public institution in North Carolina in terms of student population is North Carolina State University. In the 2021-22 academic year, North Carolina State University had over 36,000 enrolled students.

    The University of North Carolina has the largest university system in North Carolina. The university has 17 institutions and affiliate schools within the state. Several of these colleges, like the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have some of the largest student populations.

    Is a public college or university right for me?

    Whether or not to choose to study at a public college or university is a personal decision. Create a list of what is most important for your college experience. When deciding, consider how important factors like majors and programs, location, and cost are for you.

    You should also think about the size of the college. You may also want to consider a school’s alumni network, internship opportunities, student clubs and activities, and student support services while deciding.