North Carolina’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in North Carolina offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

North Carolina’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.

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How do we determine North Carolina's best community colleges?

The best colleges pound for pound!

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call Concentrated Influence. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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There are 47 community colleges in North Carolina. The following list shows the 25 best community colleges in the state.


25 Best Community Colleges in North Carolina

  1. Mitchell Community College
    #1

    Mitchell Community College

    #9747 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Statesville, NC

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    What is Mitchell Community College known for?

    Mitchell Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Western Piedmont Community College
    #2

    Western Piedmont Community College

    #12799 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    1K

    Morganton, NC

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    What is Western Piedmont Community College known for?

    Western Piedmont Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Southwestern Community College
    #3

    Southwestern Community College

    #10716 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    2K

    Sylva, NC

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    What is Southwestern Community College known for?

    Southwestern Community College 's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
  4. Central Carolina Community College
    #4

    Central Carolina Community College

    #5910 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    3K

    Sanford, NC

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    What is Central Carolina Community College known for?

    Central Carolina Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
  5. Nash Community College
    #5

    Nash Community College

    #9515 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Rocky Mount, NC

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    What is Nash Community College known for?

    Nash Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
  6. Durham Technical Community College
    #6

    Durham Technical Community College

    #9517 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    4K

    Durham, NC

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    What is Durham Technical Community College known for?

    Durham Technical Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
  7. Central Piedmont Community College
    #7

    Central Piedmont Community College

    #4995 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    14K

    Charlotte, NC

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    What is Central Piedmont Community College known for?

    Central Piedmont Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
  8. Lenoir Community College
    #8

    Lenoir Community College

    #8447 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Kinston, NC

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    What is Lenoir Community College known for?

    Lenoir Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
  9. Louisburg College
    #9

    Louisburg College

    #3347 institution's overall influence
    #986 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    892/15

    Louisburg, NC

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    What is Louisburg College known for?

    Louisburg College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Guilford Technical Community College
    #10

    Guilford Technical Community College

    #7321 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    7K

    Jamestown, NC

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    What is Guilford Technical Community College known for?

    Guilford Technical Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
  11. Sandhills Community College
    #11

    Sandhills Community College

    #7278 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    3K

    Pinehurst, NC

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    What is Sandhills Community College known for?

    Sandhills Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
  12. Wilkes Community College
    #12

    Wilkes Community College

    #8023 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Wilkesboro, NC

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    What is Wilkes Community College known for?

    Wilkes Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
  13. Gaston College
    #13

    Gaston College

    #6376 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    4K

    Dallas, NC

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    What is Gaston College known for?

    Gaston College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
  14. Catawba Valley Community College
    #14

    Catawba Valley Community College

    #7870 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    3K

    Hickory, NC

    View profile

    What is Catawba Valley Community College known for?

    Catawba Valley Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
  15. Wayne Community College
    #15

    Wayne Community College

    #6065 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Goldsboro, NC

    View profile

    What is Wayne Community College known for?

    Wayne Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Piedmont Community College
    #16

    Piedmont Community College

    #8282 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    <1K

    Roxboro, NC

    View profile

    What is Piedmont Community College known for?

    Piedmont Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
  17. Isothermal Community College
    #17

    Isothermal Community College

    #8981 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    1K

    Spindale, NC

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    What is Isothermal Community College known for?

    Isothermal Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
  18. Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College
    #18

    Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College

    #16052 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    5K

    Asheville, NC

    View profile

    What is Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College known for?

    Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
  19. Johnston Community College
    #19

    Johnston Community College

    #7988 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    3K

    Smithfield, NC

    View profile

    What is Johnston Community College known for?

    Johnston Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
  20. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
    #20

    Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute

    #11119 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    2K

    Hudson, NC

    View profile

    What is Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute known for?

    Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
  21. Forsyth Technical Community College
    #21

    Forsyth Technical Community College

    #10339 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    6K

    Winston-Salem, NC

    View profile

    What is Forsyth Technical Community College known for?

    Forsyth Technical Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
  22. Vance–Granville Community College
    #22

    Vance–Granville Community College

    #18943 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    2K

    Henderson, NC

    View profile

    What is Vance–Granville Community College known for?

    Vance–Granville Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
  23. Pitt Community College
    #23

    Pitt Community College

    #4939 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    6K

    Winterville, NC

    View profile

    What is Pitt Community College known for?

    Pitt Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
  24. South Piedmont Community College
    #24

    South Piedmont Community College

    #9342 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    2K

    Polkton, NC

    View profile

    What is South Piedmont Community College known for?

    South Piedmont Community College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
  25. Southeastern Community College
    #25

    Southeastern Community College

    #12215 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    1K

    Whiteville, NC

    View profile

    What is Southeastern Community College known for?

    Southeastern Community College 's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science

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