Top 10 Nonprofit Online Colleges in North Carolina

For students who are looking for a nonprofit university or college with a strong online curriculum based out of North Carolina, we have compiled a list of some of our top picks from the state. This list was compiled by assessing tuition cost, as well as amount and type of programs available.

#1. Western Carolina University

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The fifth oldest institution within the University of North Carolina system, Western Carolina University first opened its doors to students in 1889. Founded in the town of Cullowhee, North Carolina, Western Carolina University was initially established out of a desire to create a school that would serve their local community. In 1888, the people of the town of Cullowhee came together to Cullowhee Academy, the precursor to Western Carolina University. The school’s purpose was shifted in 1893 to the training of teachers leading to Western Carolina University to become the first publicly-funded normal school within the entire state. In 1905, the state assumed full control over the school and the name was changed to Cullowhee Normal & Industrial School. Operating under this name for nearly two decades, the school was renamed in 1925 to Cullowhee State Normal School and then to Western Carolina Teachers College in 1929. As the demand for graduate-level programs grew, the school added Master’s degrees to its curriculum in 1951 prompting a name change to Western Carolina College. Finally, the school was renamed to Western Carolina University in 1967. Today, Western Carolina University is home to a student body of over 11,000 students.

Students at Western Carolina University are able to enroll in a wide variety of academic programs offered at the university. Currently, students at Western Carolina University can enroll in eight different undergraduate programs as well as over a dozen different graduate programs. These programs are offered to students entirely online helping Western Carolina University to earn its place among our top online universities in North Carolina. Western Carolina University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Western Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $189/credit

Click here for a list of Western Carolina University’s online programs.

#2. Gardner-Webb University

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Founded in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University is a private Christian university. Established in 1905, Gardner-Webb University was originally established as the Boiling Springs High School. Sponsored by the King Mountain Baptist Association, the Boiling Springs High School was created in order to provide the young people in the area with a Christian education. Operating solely as a high school for over fifteen years, Boiling Springs High School was then rechartered in 1928 as a junior college. Renamed Boiling Springs Junior College, the school continued to provide eager students with the higher education that they needed. Struggling through the Great Depression, Boiling Springs Junior College came out the other side of this time period a stronger institution. In 1942, Governor O. Max Gardner began working with the school in order to help it grow into a modern educational institution. That year, the school was renamed to Gardner-Webb Junior College after himself and his wife Fay Webb-Gardner. In 1993, the school was rechartered as Gardner-Webb University after greatly expanding its curriculum. Home of the Runnin’ Bulldogs, Gardner-Webb University enrolls over 4,500 students at its Boiling Spring campus.

Currently, students at Gardner-Webb University are able to choose from many academic programs offered at the school. In total, students can choose from over sixty different fields of study at the university. Of these sixty different areas of study, over a dozen of these programs are offered to students entirely online. By offering these programs online, Gardner-Webb University has ranked among our top online universities in North Carolina. Gardner-Webb University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Gardner-Webb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $435/credit

Click here for a list of Gardner-Webb University’s online programs.

#3. North Carolina A&T State University

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Established in 1891, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a historically black university. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T State University was founded through the Second Morrill Act. Created as an annex of the private Shaw University, North Carolina A&T University was established as the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race. The school was established in order to provide African Americans with an opportunity to earn a degree in engineering or agriculture. Initially admitting both male and female students, the school switched to only enrolling males in 1901. By 1915, it was decided that the school would be renamed to the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina. During the coming decades, the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina would undergo substantial growth as its enrollment and curriculum expanded. In 1957, the school was renamed to the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina. That year, the school accepted its first white student. Throughout the 1960s, the school played an integral role in the Civil Rights Movement, helping to advance the cause for equal rights. In 1967, the school was renamed to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Today, North Carolina A&T State University is home to a student body of just over 12,000 students.

North Carolina A&T State University offers students many different academic programs from which to choose from. Currently, students at North Carolina A&T State University can choose from over 170 different undergraduate programs as well as thirty Master’s degrees and nine doctoral programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online helping place North Carolina A&T State University among our top online universities in North Carolina. North Carolina A&T State University is a public institution.

Accreditation: North Carolina A&T State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $576/credit

Click here for a list of North Carolina A&T State University’s online programs.

#4. Appalachian State University

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Located in the mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University is a comprehensive public university. Founded in 1899, Appalachian State University was founded by a group of citizens located in Watauga County. Citing a lack of teachers to serve the northwestern part of North Carolina, the people of Watauga County called for the establishment of a teachers college. Led by Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty, the people of Watauga County amassed resources and land to help found Watauga Academy in the fall of 1899. Needing more money to help fund the growth of the newly formed Watauga Academy, D.D. Dougherty traveled to the capital in Raleigh, North Carolina, in order to lobby for a bill that would call for the state to provide funding for teacher training colleges. Successfully passing this piece of legislation, D.D. Dougherty secured funding for the school and the school was renamed to the Appalachian Training School for Teachers. In 1925, the school was renamed to Appalachian State Normal School. Four years later, the school was renamed to Appalachian State Teachers College and then finally to Appalachian State University in 1967. Today, Appalachian State University is home to a student body of approximately 19,000 students.

Students at Appalachian State University are able to enroll in a large selection of academic programs offered at the school. Currently, Appalachian State University offers over 170 different undergraduate programs from which to enroll in as well as over forty different graduate programs. Of these programs, Appalachian State University offers forty of these programs entirely online for students. By offering these programs online, Appalachian State University has earned a spot among our top online universities in North Carolina. Appalachian State University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $643/credit

Click here for a list of Appalachian State University’s online programs.

#5. East Carolina University

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The third largest university in North Carolina, East Carolina University was established in 1907. With the motto “To Serve”, East Carolina University was established as the East Carolina Teachers Training School. Formed as part of a series of bills that provided funding for teachers training schools across the state, East Carolina University was established in order to help create a more educated teaching workforce within North Carolina. In 1920, the school was renamed to East Carolina Teachers College. It was at this point that the school had begun to offer students Bachelor’s degree programs to enroll in. With the addition of undergraduate programs, East Carolina University began to grow at an accelerated pace. As the school worked to add more academic programs to its curriculum, the school was renamed to East Carolina College in 1951 in order to mirror this ambition. In 1967, the school was renamed once more to East Carolina University and was later added to the University of North Carolina System in 1972. Today, East Carolina University enrolls a student body of almost 30,000 students at its campus in Greenville, North Carolina.

East Carolina University offers its students a big selection of academic programs from which to enroll. As of today, students at East Carolina University can choose to enroll in over 100 different undergraduate programs, over seventy-five Master’s degree programs, and sixteen different doctoral programs. Of these programs, over three dozen of them are made available to students online. By offering these programs online, East Carolina University has earned its place among our top online universities and colleges in North Carolina. East Carolina University is a public institution.

Accreditation: East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $700/credit

Click here for a list of East Carolina University’s online programs.

#6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The flagship of the University of North Carolina System, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a comprehensive public university. Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of three schools in the entire United States that can make a claim the title of the oldest public university in the country. Of those three schools, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes in the eighteenth century. Chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill began enrolling its first class of students in 1795. Since then, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill led to a long history of academic excellence. Originally named North Carolina University, the school was renamed in 1963 to its current name, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Founded with the motto “Light and Liberty”, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to the Tarheels. Today, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill enrolls a student body of just under 30,000 students.

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can choose from many different academic programs offered at the school. Currently, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers over seventy Bachelor’s programs, over 100 different Master’s programs, and over seventy different doctoral programs. Of these programs, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a dozen of these programs online earning it a place among our top online universities in North Carolina. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public institution.

Accreditation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $877/credit

Click here for a list of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s online programs.

#7. North Carolina State University

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A public research university, North Carolina State University is a member of the University of North Carolina System of schools. Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University was established by the North Carolina General Assembly as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In the beginning, students at North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts could take courses in military tactics, agriculture, and mechanical arts. After opening enrollment, the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts experienced a surge in enrollment forcing the school to expand the scope of the academic programs offered. In 1918, the school was renamed to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering. It was at this point that the school had gained the moniker “North Carolina State”. Over the coming decades, the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering continued to add more and more programs into its curriculum. In 1962, the school was renamed to the University of North Carolina at Raleigh. This change prompted protest from the students and the school was renamed to its current name of North Carolina State University. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina State University is home to a student body of over 32,000 students.

North Carolina State University offers students many different academic programs from which to enroll in. As of today, students at North Carolina State University can choose to enroll in over 100 different bachelor’s programs as well as over 100 different Master’s programs and over sixty different doctoral degrees. Of these programs, North Carolina State University offers almost two dozen of these programs online. By offering these programs online, North Carolina State University has earned a place among our top online universities and colleges in North Carolina. North Carolina State University is a public institution.

Accreditation: North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $889/credit

Click here for a list of North Carolina State University’s online programs.

#8. Wake Forest University

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Established in 1834, Wake Forest University is a private research university.  Following the Baptist State Convention of 1833, Wake Forest University was created out of a call for a Baptist institution of higher education. Named the Wake Forest Institute, Wake Forest University was to be located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. By the time the school was officially opened, the school was renamed to the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. Students at the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute were required to spend half of each day doing manual labor on the nearby plantation. By 1838, the school was renamed to Wake Forest College and the manual labor system was abolished from the curriculum. As Wake Forest College grew so did the town around it. However, Wake Forest College was eventually relocated to Winston-Salem. Following a large donation from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Wake Forest College began planning for its transition to move to Winston-Salem. Completing the move in 1956, the school was soon renamed to Wake Forest University. Today, Wake Forest University is home to a student body of just under 8,000 students.

Students at Wake Forest University are able to choose from a wide selection of academic programs offered at the school. Currently, Wake Forest University offers students the ability to enroll in over forty different undergraduate majors and almost sixty minors. Wake Forest Univerity also offers its student body nearly two dozen different graduate programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online helping Wake Forest University to place among our top online universities and colleges in North Carolina. Wake Forest University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Wake Forest University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $900/credit

Click here for a list of Wake Forest University’s online programs.

#9. Duke University

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Highly-regarded as one of the most prestigious universities, Duke University was founded in 1838. A private research university, Duke University was originally established as the Brown School. A subscription school located in Randolph County, Brown’s Schoolhouse was operated by a group of Methodists and Quakers. After receiving a charter from the state, the school was renamed to the Union Institute Academy in 1841. However, this name was soon changed to Normal College in 1851 and then to Trinity College in 1859. Receiving support from the Methodist Church, it was decided that the school was to be relocated into Durham, North Carolina in 1892. This move was funded largely in part by Julian S. Carr and Washington Duke. Julian S. Carr donated the land that is now Duke University’s east campus, and Washington Duke provided large amounts of funding to the school under the stipulation that women would be admitted to the school and treated as equals. In 1924, the Duke Endowment was created by Washington Duke’s son, James B. Duke. Providing the school with an immense amount of wealth to fuel the institution’s growth, the school was renamed in their honor in 1924 to Duke University. Currently, Duke University is home to a student body of just under 15,000 students.

Duke University offers students a large selection of academic programs from which to enroll in. Presently, Duke University offers over forty-five different arts and sciences majors as well as fifty-two minors. Duke University also offers a large selection of graduate programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online helping Duke University to earn a place among our top online universities and colleges in North Carolina. Duke University is a private institution.

Accreditation: Duke University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $1,493/credit

Click here for a list of Duke University’s online programs.

#10. Winston-Salem State University

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A Member of the University of North Carolina System, Winston-Salem State University is a historically black research university. Established in 1892, Winston-Salem State University was originally founded as Winston-Salem Teachers College. Founded by Dr. Simon Green Atkins, Winston-Salem State Teachers College was born out of Atkins’ program for helping African American students to gain the skills needed to become teachers within the state. From the outset, Winston-Salem State Teachers College proved to be very popular. As more and more students sought enrollment at the institution, the school was forced to grow to accommodate the surge in students. Winston-Salem State Teachers College grew its curriculum eventually prompting the school to be renamed to its current name Winston-Salem State University. Today, Winston-Salem State University is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Winston-Salem State University is home to a student body of just under 6,700 students.

Students at Winston-Salem State University are able to choose from a large selection of academic programs at the university. Currently, Winston-Salem State University offers over forty different undergraduate majors as well as ten different graduate degree programs. Many of these programs are also offered to students entirely online helping Winston-Salem State University to secure a place among our top online universities and colleges in North Carolina. Winston-Salem State University is a public institution.

Accreditation: Winston-Salem State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $1,680/credit

Click here for a list of Winston-Salem University’s online programs.