Last Updated: September 06, 2021
North Carolina - The Tar Heel State
North Carolina is located in the southern Mid-Atlantic region. In the state, the climate of the coastal plains is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of North Carolina has a humid subtropical climate. However, over 300 miles from the coast, the western part of the state experiences subtropical highlands. With a population of more than 10 million people, this state prides itself on a diverse economy that is largely knowledge-based. According to recent reports by WBTV, North Carolina is ranked as the fifth-best state in America.
Major Cities in North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest and the most populous city in North Carolina. It is nicknamed the 'Queen City' as it got its name from Charlotte Sophia, a German princess who was the wife of King George III. It was established in the year 1768. It is also popularly known as the 'Tree City' because of the abundant tree canopies that surround the city. The city of charlotte is a commercial and financial hub and is home to the headquarters of the Bank of America. Popular attractions include The Charlotte Museum of History, Children's Theatre of Charlotte, Carowinds Amusement Park, The Charlotte Civic Orchestra, U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte Nature Museum, and more.
Raleigh is the state capital and the second-largest city in North Carolina. It was founded in the year 1792 and was named after the famous writer, soldier, and statesman, Sir Walter Raleigh. The 'City of Oaks' is a popular nickname for Raleigh because of the numerous oak trees surrounding the city.
The city is often called the 'Smithsonian of the South' because of the presence of numerous museums, cultural and educational sites throughout the city like the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State Capitol, North Carolina Museum of History, and most importantly, the Research Triangle Park. Raleigh is also home to one of the most esteemed universities in North Carolina, North Carolina State University at Raleigh. The headquarters of various well-known companies like Lenovo, Sony Ericsson, IBM, etc., are centered here.
Greensboro was founded in the year 1808 and is the third-largest city in North Carolina. The city, placed in Guilford County, was named after the commanding officer of the American Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene. The railroad transportation that connects major cities through Greensboro gave this city its nickname 'Gate City'. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is situated here.
With its growing job market, beautiful green spaces, and affordable cost of living, Greensboro is a flourishing city on its way to becoming one of the best-run cities in the nation. It is also an excellent place for hosting events related to sports, and with this, the city also gets another nickname the 'Tournament Town'. Popular attractions include the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro Science Center, Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, and so on.
Durham is a vibrant city surrounded by many beautiful forests and parks. It was established in the year 1869 and was named after Dr. Bartlett S. Durham who had gifted his property for the city. Tobacco used to be a flourishing industry in Durham and got its nickname the 'Bull City' because of the name of a widely selling tobacco product, the 'Bull Durham Tobacco'. Along with tobacco, health care is a flourishing sector in Durham, which is why it is also popularly known as the 'City of Medicine'. The city of Durham is home to the best university in the state, Duke University, and is also a major part of the Research Triangle. Durham is popular for its wide range of sites and attractions such as Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Duke Lemur Center, Museum of Life and Science, Nasher Museum of Art, and a lot more.
- Some of the key contributors to the economy of the state today are aerospace and defense, food processing and manufacturing, banking, pharmaceuticals, technology, furniture, tourism, and automotive machinery.
- The largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte, is the country's second-largest banking center and is also home to large financial institutions such as Wachovia and the Bank of America.
- The Research Triangle Park hosts more than 200 companies and is a major source of employment.
- The Charlotte Observer published an article stating that “North Carolina ended 2019 with a 3.7% jobless rate”, which is a bit higher than the 3.5% rate of the U.S. for 11 consecutive months.
- Charlotte and Raleigh remain the fastest-growing job markets in the state and among the fastest-growing job markets in the country, according to Wells Fargo's senior economist, Mark Vitner.
- Due to the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic last year, there were major swings in employment, from the professional and business services sector to the lower-wage leisure and hospitality sector.
- According to economist John Connaughton, the economy of North Carolina will continue to recover from the setbacks caused by the pandemic shutdown, and will substantially grow by 2022. Major sectors (except mining) like agriculture, education and health services, and hospitality are to flourish substantially.
- The unemployment rate is estimated to decline by 5% by the end of the year 2021. The most popular jobs are in the fields of leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation and utilities, then education and health services, information technology, professional and business services.
Tuition Fee and Living Cost in North Carolina
- The cost of living in North Carolina is less than the average cost of living in the US. Housing costs and transportation are pretty much affordable compared to the national average, whereas healthcare is expensive in this state.
- The average household income in the state is around $54,000, which is around $7,500 lower than the national average.
- According to recent reports, the state of North Carolina ranks 7th nationally in fiscal stability.
- The overall costs for education may vary based on the type of institution, major, or degree a student has chosen. Tuition fee amounts may also differ based on the residency of the candidate.
- In most states, public institutions charge double the amount from out-of-state students. This is not the case with private universities. For instance, the tuition fee for undergraduates in Duke University (private) is around $60,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students, whereas the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (public) charges around $10,000 for instate students and about $39,000 for outstate candidates. To know more about the differences in instate and outstate students, read In-state vs Out-of-state Students.
List of Few Major Universities/Colleges
The wide range of public as well as private colleges/universities, vocational schools, and community colleges makes it possible for the students to pursue their studies in the desired career interest in the state. The top universities and colleges in the state of North Carolina are:
- Duke University The best university in North Carolina is Duke University, which is a private university. It was established in the year 1868. It is ranked #12 in the 2021 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities. At this university, the ratio of the student to the faculty is 6:1, which is ideal for students to achieve high-quality education with the required care from the best scholars of the institute. Duke University is also generous with financial aid for all students but the admission to this university is very selective.
- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill is the nation’s first public university, established in the year 1789. The university is ranked #28 nationally, according to USNews, in 2021. It is acclaimed for its well-rounded educational system and best faculties. The university has approximately 19,000 undergraduate students and has over 150 academic programs. Popular majors include Social Sciences, Communication, Journalism, Business, and Psychology. The in-state tuition and fees are around $10,000 while the out-of-state tuition and fees are about $38,000 for the year 2020-2021. International students are not eligible to receive need-based financial aid and should be prepared to pay the full cost of attendance for non-resident students.
- North Carolina State University at Raleigh This is another one of the most prestigious public universities in the state. It was founded in the year 1887. The North Carolina State University is the state's largest university with around 40,000 students, and a student-faculty ratio of 14:1. It excels in the field of research, science, and technology, and boasts of over 9000 highly qualified scholars as faculty. The university is best known for its agricultural science program as well as its science research majors. In 2020-2021, the tuition fee for undergraduate students is around $11,000 (instate) and about $32,000 (out-of-state).
- Wake Forest University Wake Forest University is a private institution, situated in Winston-Salem, founded in 1834. The university’s tuition fee is around $59,000 for undergraduate students. The over 9,000 students of the university come from 49 states and 51 countries from around the world, 30% of them are international students. The university is popular for its high-quality education, as well as its vibrant, student-friendly atmosphere. The university ranks #28 in the 2021 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, and #1 nationally in the category of Fall Campus Beauty, according to USNews. The ratio between students and the faculty is 10:1. International students make up about 9.3% of the student body. Wake Forest University offers more than 50 merit-based scholarships, including full-tuition scholarships at $49,000/student.
Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students
There are several scholarship programs and grants offered by the state as well as universities to help students fulfill their educational goals without a lot of financial burdens. These are made available based on several categorical requirements such as academic merit and monetary needs, or both. To determine the eligibility of the candidates, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is to be filled by all students before applying for any kind of financial aid.
- Aubrey Lee Brooks Scholarships: Under this program, the scholarships (17 scholarships of $11,000 to $12,000) are provided for graduating seniors belonging to any one of the 14 counties in North Carolina - Alamance, Bertie, Caswell, Durham, Forsyth, Granville, Guilford, Orange, Person, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Swain, or Warren. This is a merit-based and need-based program, therefore, to be eligible for the program, the candidate must display financial need, and maintain a 2.7 GPA or higher while attending college. This is applicable for the residents of the state, and full-time students enrolled at North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, or the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Students also have the option to renew the scholarship.
- North Carolina League for Nursing Academic Scholarship Fund: This is a scholarship program for North Carolina residents who have applied for either a master's degree or a doctorate in nursing or a related field of study. The award amount may vary from $500 to $2000 per year, based on the student's financial need. To be eligible, students are required to produce transcripts of coursework of undergraduate or graduate programs, should secure a letter of recommendation from the faculty of the institution, and a two-page statement expressing the reasons to apply for the said scholarship program.
- Spirit Square Center For Arts and Education Scholarship Fund: This is a scholarship program for undergraduate students belonging to specific counties, who display exceptional talent and academic merit in the field of Arts. The student should be a resident of the state of North Carolina, and secure a minimum of 3.00 GPA.
The Tar Heel state's tourism sector is a major contributor to the state's economy because of its numerous museums and cultural attractions. From sunny beaches to cool, lofty mountains, North Carolina has it all. Popular tourist destinations include the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Aquarium, the Chimney Rock State Park, Grandfather Mountain, etc. When it comes to food, NC is not far behind and is popular for barbeque (one must definitely try it out on visiting NC). Other popular and mouth-watering cuisines include the Krispy Kreme Cheerwine Doughnut, deviled eggs, shrimp n' grits, and a lot more. It is best to visit North Carolina anytime between late September or early October to experience the vibrant colors of Fall, or in March and April to fully enjoy the new beginnings of Spring in the state.
Universities & Colleges in North Carolina
*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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