Most Affordable Colleges in North Carolina 2023

Most Affordable Colleges in North Carolina 2023

Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in North Carolina. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

Key Takeaways

  • The most affordable colleges in North Carolina are among the cheapest in America and offer a high education caliber. North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill are two of the most prestigious schools in the University of North Carolina system.
  • The cheapest colleges in North Carolina still offer students several financial aid opportunities from state funding to lessen the financial burden.
  • In addition to cheap universities and financial aid packages, the North Carolina government offers public services that help students attain more affordable college living.

Exploring NC’s Top-Quality, Inexpensive Colleges

North Carolina is the perfect place for students pursuing higher education. As the site of the first public university in the US, North Carolina has a long history of supporting equal access to higher education for all citizens. As a result, students worldwide are flying to North Carolina to obtain a college degree to fulfill their academic and professional goals.

North Carolina might be the perfect study place for you if you’re seeking the best of both worlds: the laid-back pace of life, the subtropical environment, and a high caliber of education offered up in combination with booming, intellectual, and cultural cities that don’t fit any preconceptions at all.

Average Cost of College Education in North Carolina

The average cost of attending college in North Carolina for in-state students is $3,500 a semester. Tuition costs in North Carolina’s public institutions often fall in this range. Additionally, students attending college in North Carolina have access to many scholarships and financial aid programs.

A few of the schools with the largest financial aid packages include:

  • Western Carolina University, Cullowhee
  • North Carolina State University
  • Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City
  • East Carolina University, Greenville
  • North Carolina Central University, Durham
  • Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville
  • Appalachian State University, Boone
  • University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina, Wilmington

The total cost of attending college includes the price of books, transportation, and accommodation in addition to tuition and fees. The estimated annual cost of room and board is between $8,556 and $12,857, and the annual cost of books surpasses $958.

More Affordable College Living in North Carolina

With the inflation going on in the US even the cheapest college degree may be costly for many college students. North Carolina is one of the leading US states to offer more affordable college living. Some of the most important resources you should take note of include the following:

  • North Carolina Department of Health Human Services (DHHS):This is the go-to department if you’re having trouble paying your essential bills. This aid provides homelessness/housing assistance, temporary assistance for needy families, child care support, and more.
  • North Carolina Community Action Agency: Students can contact the NCAA for services and programs, including job training, youth development, Head Start, food pantries, etc., to help low-income residents. County-specific organizations are also featured in the city biographies that follow.

Students can also call 2-1-1 or go to the NC 211 website. 211 is a free, round-the-clock program that links citizens of North Carolina with social services and neighborhood groups. Counselors at 211 can direct callers to places that offer free or low-cost medical treatment, inexpensive child care services, free or low-cost food, clothing, housing, and more. They can assist with practically any difficulty.

The Fastest-Growing Jobs in North Carolina

Understanding employment growth for your particular professional path is vital as you continue to narrow down your alternatives for the best cheapest universities in North Carolina.

According to Zippia, here are the fastest-growing jobs in North Carolina:

  • Consultant And Sales Representative
  • Vice President, Product and Marketing
  • Revenue Officer
  • President and Chief Technology Officer
  • Executive Vice President Of Sales
  • Senior Director, Product Management
  • Senior Director, Operations
  • President Of Operations
  • Vice President, Product Management
  • Executive Vice President

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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

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There are 22 affordable colleges and universities in North Carolina with stated tuitions and fees under $20,000/year. The following list of the most affordable colleges and universities in North Carolina is composed entirely of schools offering bachelor’s degree programs, have stated tuition and fees near or under the national average of $16,000/year, and are fully accredited colleges.

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Most Affordable Colleges in North Carolina 2022

These schools are ranked by academic excellence, and all under $20,000/year.

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1385/30

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    North Carolina State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Leadership In The Public Sector
    • Required Credits: 12
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/24

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Online Degrees

    BA in Respiratory Therapy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Engineering Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Electrical
    • Fire Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    East Carolina University

    Greenville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/21

    East Carolina University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Interpersonal/Organizational
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Distribution And Logistics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management And General Business
    • Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Management Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth Through Kindergarten (B-K) Teacher Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Family And Consumer Sciences Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Special Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in University Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 125-133
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Online Degrees

    BA in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration (Business Studies)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Systems And Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Peace And Conflict Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BLS in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Appalachian State University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Management
    • Required Credits: 53
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Workforce Leadership & Development
    • Required Credits: 50-59
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child Development - Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 70
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 73
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    North Carolina A&T State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Economics
    • Required Credits: 179
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Electronics Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • African American Studies
    • Applied Cultural Thought
    • Applied Cultural Thought
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn Completion Option
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Agricultural Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • Agricultural Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Health And Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Western Carolina University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Innovation Leadership And Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration And Law
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Concentration In Administration Of Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency And Disaster Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Medical Care
    • Required Credits: 16
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

    University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Online Degrees

    BA in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 24
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Clinical Research
    • Required Credits: 83-84
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #13

    Fayetteville State University

    Fayetteville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/18

    Fayetteville State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire & Emergency Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Intelligence Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth Through Kindergarten (Non-Teaching)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Language And Literature
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn-Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #14

    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/18

    Winston-Salem State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Bachelor Of Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Birth To Kindergarten Education
    • Clinical Laboratory Science
    • Required Credits: 120-126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Bachelor Of Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Integrative Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn-Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Online Degrees

    BIS in Applied Professional Studies (Financial Administration)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Finance Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Marketing)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Office Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Management Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration (Economics Track)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Hospitality
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Public And Nonprofit Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General
    • Allied Health Administration
    • Public Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Management Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Criminal Justice Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Sociology
    • Substance Abuse
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in Applied Education Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Learning And Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BIS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #16

    Elizabeth City State University

    Elizabeth City , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/17

    Elizabeth City State University’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management & Entrepreneurship
    • Marketing & Mis
    • Economics & Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Global Studies
    • Community Services
    • Individualized
    • Security Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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North Carolina’s Most Affordable Colleges in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive
  1. Elizabeth City State University
  2. University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  3. Western Carolina University
  4. Fayetteville State University
  5. Winston-Salem State University
  6. North Carolina Central University
  7. North Carolina A&T State University
  8. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  9. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  10. University of North Carolina at Asheville
  11. East Carolina University
  12. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  13. Appalachian State University
  14. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  15. North Carolina State University
  16. Shaw University