Best Value Colleges in North Carolina

The College ROI Report ranks North Carolina colleges by their return on investment for your educational dollars.  Read More

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1Duke University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$619,200
Total 4 Year Cost$233,800
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,760
2North Carolina State University (NCSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$472,400
Total 4 Year Cost$80,600
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
3North Carolina State University (NCSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$420,400
Total 4 Year Cost$132,600
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
4Wake Forest University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
Total 4 Year Cost$228,900
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,640
5University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$399,900
Total 4 Year Cost$73,100
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,080
6University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$352,100
Total 4 Year Cost$120,900
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,080
7University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$304,300
Total 4 Year Cost$88,700
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,400
8North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$299,500
Total 4 Year Cost$143,500
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,320
9North Carolina A&T State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$264,000
Total 4 Year Cost$60,200
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,680
10High Point University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$229,300
Total 4 Year Cost$163,700
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$37,560
11 (tie)North Carolina A&T State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$223,300
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,680
11 (tie)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$223,300
Total 4 Year Cost$169,700
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,400
13Elon University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$218,000
Total 4 Year Cost$165,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,960
14Winston-Salem State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$209,000
Total 4 Year Cost$64,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,960
15Appalachian State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$194,700
Total 4 Year Cost$68,300
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,400

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

The Tar Heel State is home to the famous Research Triangle, hundreds of square miles of rolling hills and mountains and some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, as well as a wide selection high value colleges and universities. No matter why you'd like to attend college in this incredibly friendly state, consider using PayScale's information to more easily pinpoint the best value colleges in North Carolina before applying.

Easily earning the top slot in our North Carolina College ROI Report rankings is Duke University. This prestigious private university, which is located in Durham, is ranked 40th nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI. Founded in 1838, it sprawls across an immense, 8,600-acre campus that is lovingly referred to as the Gothic Wonderland due to its overwhelmingly Collegiate Gothic architecture. Don't let the fact that the average cost of a Duke education is $233,800 deter you. Alumni report a median return of investment of $619,200 in the two decades after they graduate. When financial aid is factored in, that number skyrockets to $780,900. Made up of two undergraduate schools, including the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke produces more Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater and Truman scholars than any other private university in the nation. Without question, it is one of the best value colleges North Carolina students can attend. And if you are a basketball fan, Duke's Blue Devils are one of the most successful college basketball teams in the country year after year.

As the largest university in the Carolinas, North Carolina State University stands apart from the crowd in many ways. Ranked 129th nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI, NC State is located in Raleigh and offers more than 100 bachelor's degrees, more than 100 master's degrees and more than 60 doctoral degrees. The average cost to earn a degree from the school is just $80,600, and the 20 Year Net ROI is $472,400, a figure that jumps to $510,400 with financial aid. Best known for its programs in engineering, agriculture, textiles and design and the life sciences, NC State offers the value of college education North Carolina residents can use to build strong careers. (Just don't wear archrival Duke University's colors at NC State -- their sports rivalry is one of the most heated in the country.)

With its location just north of downtown Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University provides a college return on investment North Carolina students and their families are sure to appreciate. The average cost of a Wake Forest education is $228,900, but the 20 Year Net ROI is $411,000 without financial aid and $507,800 with it. The university is made up of an undergraduate college, a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and four professional schools, and it's an optimal choice for students who want top-notch educations that deliver the best value for their educational investments.