Charlotte is one of the major cities of North Carolina, known for its rich heritage of the American Civil War. It is well-known for a number of sports teams and also houses the NASCAR Hall of Fame, so it’s a great destination for sports lovers and its universities have strong sports teams.

Charlotte has a mix of private and state universities, with the latter offering quite cheap tuition for in-state residents, but in all cases, you can apply for financial aid to support you in paying for your education. Below are some of the best ranked as well as cheapest universities in Charlotte and close nearby.


Cheapest Universities in Charlotte

1. University of Phoenix (Charlotte Campus)

The University of Phoenix has a few campus locations across the United States, including this one in Charlotte, NC. They are not actually enrolling students at the campus in Charlotte but you can still sign up for online degrees with them.

You can earn degrees in a wide range of fields including Business, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sciences, and Technology at this cheap university in Charlotte.

The University of Phoenix operates a tuition guarantee whereby one undergraduate credit costs $398 and they will keep tuition the same until you graduate from your degree program, even if you have to extend it. At 3 credits per course, this means one course would cost $1,194, and therefore depending on how many credits you need to graduate, you would typically have to pay around $10,000 per year. This is the same if you are from North Carolina or not.

2. Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary

This institution aims to educate with a strong Christian message, and they are committed to advancing the gospels through educational training. This means that the curriculum at this cheap university in Charlotte is more reduced and focused, unlike a liberal arts college where you would have a lot of choices. As a result, you can obtain an Associate of Arts or a Bachelor of Arts degree, and the departments are Biblical Studies, General Studies (such as English, Social Sciences, Church History, Mathematics, and Humanities), Pastoral Studies and Urban Studies (such as Counselling, Church Planting, Christian Education, etc.).

An undergraduate level, degree here would cost $10,500 per year and there is financial aid available depending on your situation.

3. Davidson College

Just under half an hour away from the center of Charlotte, NC, Davidson College is one of the best universities in North Carolina. It is ranked among the most selective and strongest liberal arts colleges in the US, having been founded in 1837 by Presbyterians. It has 8% international students and offers 29 majors for undergraduate study as well pre-professional programs such as Prelaw and Premedicine. It has an excellent student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 and offers programs of study abroad during the degree too.

In terms of curriculum, you can study Africana Studies, Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry, down to Latin American Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. There is indeed a wide breadth of departments to choose from.

The cost is relatively high as this is such a prestigious institution. As it is private, the student fees don’t differentiate between in- and out-of-state students and are c. $53,000 a year. You can, however, apply for financial aid.

4. University of North Carolina Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is focused on a large number of programs and also primarily on research, taking advantage of its urban location. They offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. As an undergraduate, you can study for a Bachelor’s degree in everything from Arts to Psychology and more. At this cheap university in Charlotte, there is also a multitude of minors you could declare to further round up your education with them. Student life is very vibrant and diverse with lots of activities and a small college feel despite being situated in a big city.

As a North Carolina resident, tuition and associated fees are $3,548 per semester from Fall 2019. Non-NC residents would have to pay $10,265 for a full-time semester.

5. Catawba College (Salisbury, NC)

Salisbury is only 45 minutes away from the center of Charlotte, NC. Catawba College is ideally located between the mountains and the seaside and has a small size which allows students a great experience. It is well known for its music and theatre programs, but you can also major in a multitude of other fields from biology to sport management.

As this is a private college, tuition costs the same for North Carolina residents or students from the rest of the US and the world. It is currently $30,520 per academic year, excluding on-campus room and board. You can have access to a large number of financial aid options here too.

6. Johnson C. Smith University

This is a private, historically black university with a very rich history. Founded in 1867, JCSU offers a liberal arts education which is ranked highly in the US.

You can earn a Bachelor’s degree at this cheap university in Charlotte in 22 majors, in the College of Arts and Letters, the College of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), or the College of Professional Studies. There are many interesting opportunities in interdisciplinary studies whereby you can also create your own field of study. At the graduate level, they offer a Master’s of Social Work.

For full-time on-campus tuition, the fee is $18,784 per year regardless of whether students are from in or out of state. A range of financial aid options is available.

7. Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University has the aim of delivering a personalized experience of a small college whilst making the most of being in a big city at the same time. It is a liberal arts college where you can study across 43 majors and also go abroad for a semester or year-long program.

The cost of tuition is the same for all undergraduate students – $34,438 per year. They offer on-campus housing which you can consider, and you can apply for financial aid from Queens directly, but also at the federal level if you are a US citizen. 98% of Queens students receive financial aid.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Charlotte was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.