Best Private Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Best Private Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in North Carolina.

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.


What are North Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

North Carolina’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 34 private universities in North Carolina. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in North Carolina, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in North Carolina

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

  2. #3

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

  3. #4

    Campbell University

    Buies Creek , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    Campbell University’s Online Degrees

    BAS/BBA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS/BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Ministry
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Generalist
    • Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BAS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Pre-Law
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Security
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    Degree Concentrations
    • Humanities
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #10

    Catawba College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    Catawba College’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Information Systems
    • Professional Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAE in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #16

    Wingate University

    Wingate , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

  6. #17

    Greensboro College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/18

    What is Greensboro College known for?

    Greensboro College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Greensboro College’s Online Degrees

    BA/BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #19

    Mars Hill University

    Mars Hill , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

  8. #20

    University of Mount Olive

    Mount Olive , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    What is University of Mount Olive known for?

    University of Mount Olive’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Mount Olive’s Online Degrees

    BA in Agribusiness
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Agricultural Communication and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Management
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Finance
    • Healthcare Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Christian Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Computer Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education (B-K)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #22

    Montreat College

    Montreat , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1036/20

    What is Montreat College known for?

    Montreat College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Montreat College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Data Analytics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Kinesiology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/17

    What is North Carolina Wesleyan University known for?

    North Carolina Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  11. #24

    Barton College

    Wilson , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    Barton College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Justice Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #25

    Brevard College

    Brevard , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

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North Carolina’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Duke University
  2. Wake Forest University
  3. Davidson College
  4. Guilford College
  5. Warren Wilson College
  6. Queens University of Charlotte
  7. Catawba College
  8. Johnson C. Smith University
  9. Elon University
  10. Campbell University
  11. Salem College
  12. High Point University
  13. Meredith College
  14. Barton College
  15. Wingate University
  16. University of Mount Olive