Welcome to our annual guide to the state’s higher education sector. North Carolina has 16 public universities, with its largest, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, enrolling nearly 37,000 students. The smallest is UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, which has about 1,100 students. Also, the state is home to 58 private institutions and 58 community colleges, for a total of 132 different institutions.
This list, compiled from data from the UNC System and the National Center for Education Statistics, looks beyond enrollment figures. It also lists overall costs, including tuition, fees and room and board, where applicable, based on the 2021-2022 school year, plus the average financial aid awarded at each institution (based on 2020-2021 school year). For public universities, N.C. State tops the list at $24,986 for in-state students and $45,771 for students out of state. The state’s public universities haven’t raised in-state tuition for seven consecutive years, though other costs have increased.
Duke University and Davidson top the private schools with estimated costs of $79,860 and $73,200, respectively. Both campuses provide average financial aid awards of about $42,000, making them accessible to more students.
This list also describes acceptance rates; student-faculty ratios; gender ratio for full-time undergraduate students; and the percentage of diverse students, based on non-white students enrolled in the fall of 2021.
The overall retention rates refer to full-time students who began in the fall of 2020 and returned in 2021. Graduation rates track the progress of full-time students who entered school in fall 2015 to see if they completed a degree within 150% of “normal time,” typically six years. Community college statistics are for 2021-2022.
The list also provides information on the 32 colleges and universities offering MBA programs, including online options.
Click here to see the full directory of North Carolina higher education for 2023.
* N.C. Promise Tuition Plan ** no on-campus housing.
Enrollment for 2021-22 school year.