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Charlotte, North Carolina (NC) Colleges and Universities

There are about seven not-for-profit colleges and universities within 25 miles of Charlotte, North Carolina (NC). Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

Knowing what type of programs and degrees a college offers can be very important to students trying to choose a college. Charlotte has several colleges and universities that offer various programs; two Charlotte colleges have more than 100 programs each. Listed below are the three schools that rank the highest in terms of program variety.

1 - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Located on a 1,000-acre campus within a couple hours of either the mountains or the Atlantic Ocean, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte offers more than 150 academic programs through seven professional colleges, the Honors College and the Graduate School. UNC offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates, continuing education, and distance learning; UNC has students from 80 countries.

According to the National Center for Academic Statistics (NCES), UNC awarded 3,964 bachelor's degrees, 1,212 master's degrees, 118 doctoral degrees, and 240 postgraduate certificates in 2011-2012. The most popular bachelor's degrees were in psychology, finance, speech communication and rhetoric, and registered nursing. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC 201st among national universities and 117th among top public schools in 2014. Several of UNC's schools and programs were also ranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best Grad School rankings in 2013.

2 - Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), which is located in Charlotte, is a six-campus college that ranks second in program variety, with more than 140 programs available within various academic divisions. CPCC awarded 911 certificates and 1,634 associate's degrees in 2011-2012, according to the NCES. The most popular associate's degree topics that year were in liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities, and registered nursing. In addition to certificate and associate degree programs, CPCC also offers continuing education programs for job and career enhancement, business resources, and personal enrichment.

3 - Gaston College

Queens University of Dallas is a public school that offers about 120 programs through five divisions. Students can choose from certificates and associate's degree programs. According to an NCES report, the school awarded 618 certificates and 550 degrees in 2011-2012. Of the associate's degrees number, over 150 were in liberal arts and sciences.

Lowest Net Price

Aspiring students may wish to know how much it's going to cost to earn a degree. The NCES determines a college's cost by subtracting the amount of government of institutional financial aid a student receives from the total cost of attending the college. The net prices of Charlotte colleges range from over $6,000 to more than $22,000. The three schools listed below had the lowest 2011-2012 prices among traditional not-for-profit colleges and universities, all around $11,000 or less.

1 - Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College had the lowest 2011-2012 net price at $8,588. During that same year, 54% of students received grants or scholarship aid and received an average award amount of $4,072; the eight percent who received federal student loans received $6,049 on average, according to the NCES. For the 2012-2013 academic year, in-state students paid estimated tuition and fees of $2,481, reported the NCES, while out-of-students paid a much higher amount at $8,625.

2 - Gaston College

Gaston College had a 2011-2012 net price of $9,965. For 2012-2013, in-state tuition and fees were $2,480, while out-of-state students paid about $8,237, reported the NCES. Off-campus room and board added an additional $4,717. For 2011-2012, 48% of Gaston students received grants or scholarship aid and received an average amount of $3,843, according to the NCES.

3 - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC at Charlotte is the third most affordable option in Charlotte, with a 2011-2012 net price of $11,002. For 2012-2013, the estimated tuition and fees were $5,873 for in-state students and $18,402 for out-of-state students, according to the NCES. The NCES also reported that 57% of UNC students received grants or scholarship aid in 2011-2012, while 58% were recipients of federal student loans. The average amounts received were $5,713 for grants/scholarships and $6,797 for federal student loans.

Highest Graduation Rate

The success of a college is often determined by its graduation rate, which the NCES determines by the number of students who complete their studies in 150% of the 'normal time' it should take to complete the program. Outlined below are the three traditional, not-for-profit Charlotte colleges with the highest graduation rates, all 52% or higher.

1 - Davidson College

With an overall graduation rate of 92% for the 2006 entering class, Davidson College in Davidson ranked first in terms of its graduation rate. The 4-year graduation rate for students who began their studies in 2006 and completed within normal time was 89%, according to the NCES. Davidson College also boasts a high 2011-2012 retention rate, which the NCES stated was 97% for full-time, beginning bachelor's degree students.

2 - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC at Charlotte ranks second in terms of overall graduation rate, with 53% of students who began their studies in 2006 completing their programs within 150% of normal time; 20% transferred to other colleges, according to the NCES. The 4-year graduation rate for bachelor's students who began in 2006 was 26%. U.S. News & World Report reported that 27.4% of UNC classes in 2012 had fewer than 20 students, a factor that may contribute to the success of the students. The NCES also reported that UNC had a 2011-2012 retention rate of 77% for full-time students and 67% for part-time students.

3 - Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte had the third highest graduation rate, with 52% of students who began their studies in 2006 completing their programs within six years, according to the NCES. The 4-year rate for bachelor's degree students was 45%. The NCES also reported that the university had a 2011-2012 retention rate of 70% for full-time students.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students may search for schools with small classes and low student-faculty ratios so they'll have better teacher/student interaction. The three schools below offer the lowest student-faculty ratios among traditional 2- and 4-year not-for-profit colleges in Charlotte, NC.

1 - Davidson College

Davidson College had about 1,700 students and a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 in 2012, the lowest among schools of this type. NCES reported that Gaston College had 169 full-time and 7 part-time faculty members as of Fall 2012. According to the school's website, 70% of classes at Davidson have fewer than 20 students; however, average class size is 15 students. The school also reported that 96% of the faculty members have the highest degree in their fields.

2 - Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte had about 2,400 students and a student-faculty ratio of 12:1 in Fall 2012. According to the NCES, the university had 158 full-time and 123 part-time faculty members at that time. Among the faculty members are five North Carolina 'Professors of the Year', a Fulbright Scholar, North Carolina's Poet Laureate, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. U.S. News & World Report stated that 68.3% of classes at Queens University had fewer than 20 students as of 2012. According to the school's website, class sizes range from five to 23 students; however, average size is 14 students.

3 - Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University, a private liberal arts university located in Charlotte, had about 1,700 students in Fall 2012 and a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. During that academic year, the university had 101 full-time and 52 part-time faculty members. According to the school's website, 81% of the faculty have doctorates or terminal degrees.

Charlotte Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1-year but less than 2-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price,
2nd Most Program Variety
Davidson College Davidson, NC (18.8 miles from downtown Charlotte) 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Gaston College Dallas, NC (20.2 miles from downtown Charlotte) 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1-year but less than 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Most Program Variety
Johnson C. Smith University Charlotte, NC 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees 3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC 4-year, private not-for-profit Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Net Price
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