5 High-Value Colleges And Universities In North Carolina

Getting an education is important, but not everyone wants to go into massive amounts of debt to do it. Luckily, there are plenty of schools offering affordable degree programs and financial aid, all located in the state of North Carolina. In no particular order, here are some institutions providing students with a valuable education.

Starting off the list at #1 is Guilford Technical Community College. One of the largest institutions in the North Carolina Community College System, it serves more than 35,000 students annually, with campuses located in Jamestown, High Point, Colfax, and Greensboro, as well as a Small Business Center that serves entrepreneurs and business owners through face-to-face and online start-up and management seminars and confidential counseling.

Open since 1958, GTCC offers more than 80 programs of study, including associate degrees, diplomas and certificates as well as noncredit courses in professional development, personal enrichment, job training, career development and basic education. Students can pursue fields like Accounting, Political Science, Physics, Aviation Management, or Cosmetology, among many others.

Coming in at #2 is Elon University, located in the town of Elon, about a half-hour from Greensboro and an hour's drive from Raleigh. The school boasts more than 400 full-time faculty members and more than 60 undergraduate majors, along with master's programs in business administration, management, accounting, education, higher education, interactive media and physician assistant studies. There is also the School of Law, which is located on a campus in downtown Greensboro.

Global engagement is a major part of education at Elon, earning it a #1 national ranking for study abroad programs from the Institute of International Education for 15 straight years. More than 75% of students have at least one international experience, and the Study USA program includes opportunities in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Alaska and other locations. It has also earned high praise from publications like The Princeton Review and Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

In the #3 spot is Greensboro College. Founded in 1838, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and strives to offer a liberal arts education in an independent learning atmosphere. With only around 1,000 students and fewer than 50 full-time faculty, the school prides itself on one-on-one contact between faculty and students, with no graduate assistants or teaching assistants teaching courses. Its 17-sport athletics program is NCAA Division III and includes sports like volleyball, soccer, and lacrosse.

Undergraduates can pursue degrees at the School of Sciences & Mathematics, School of the Arts, School of Humanities, and others, as well as the George Center for Honors Studies. Greensboro College also offers online programs, teacher licensure, and certificate paths. It is committed to diversity and inclusion, with students from more than two dozen states and more than 20 countries.

At #4 we have the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The first public university in the United States, it opened its doors in 1795. Famous alumni of the school include actor Andy Griffith, President James K. Polk, basketball legend Michael Jordan, comedians Ken Jeong and Lewis Black, and Caleb Bradham, the inventor of Pepsi-Cola.

UNC Chapel Hill boasts an impressive roster of more than 3,000 faculty members and over 100 master's degree programs available. A leading research university, it spends more than $1 billion annually in research expenditures. The institution is also famous for the Carolina Covenant, which promises a debt-free education to low-income students.

Finishing things up at #5 is Craven Community College, with locations in New Bern and Havelock. With its open-door admissions policy, the school is welcoming of students from all backgrounds, and many types of financial aid are available. Several programs are also eligible for VA benefits, including plumbing, truck driving, HVAC, barbering, and Aviation Maintenance Technician.

Students who wish to eventually pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university can take part in the Liberal Arts & University Transfer program, offering studies in fields such as art, engineering, science, and general education. There are also online and distance-learning options available that allow participants to fit classes into their busy schedules.