State-of-the-art James B. Hunt Jr. Library at NC State Centennial Campus


K-12 Schools

The City of Raleigh is part of the Wake County Public School System, one of the top performing large systems in the nation. Within Raleigh, there are 52 elementary schools (Grades K-5), 16 middle schools (Grades 6-8) and 9 high schools (grades 9-12). Wake County public schools offer both a traditional and year-round calendar, as well as magnet programs that offer various additional innovative approaches to learning.

Charter schools are public schools that aren’t affiliated with the local public school system. Accredited and supervised by the State of North Carolina, these schools are designed to be flexible and encourage innovation in education. There are currently nine charter schools within Raleigh’s city limits.

With more than 30 private schools in Raleigh alone, parents that don’t want to go the public education route have plenty of great options. Ranging in size from 12 to 1200, and including some of the top performing schools in the nation, finding the one that’s exactly right for your student may be your most difficult task.


17% of residents have a graduate or professional degree.

Wake County Public Schools Enrollment is over 159,500. 48% of Raleigh residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Research Universities

There’s a reason the area around Raleigh is called the Research Triangle. It’s actually due to the Research Triangle Park, which is an incredible story in and of itself, but the Research Triangle Park was created and named as a direct result of the three tier-one research universities that create a triangle around it.

North Carolina State University (Raleigh) is home to more than 34,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. A land grant institute known for its focus on applied research, State is an impressive generator of new technologies, successful startups and rock-solid employees. The university is the nation’s 3rd largest recipient of industry-sponsored research among public universities without a medical school.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, N.C. State University conferred over 2,000 engineering degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees combined) in 2012. This includes degrees in bioengineering, computer engineering, environmental engineering, aerospace engineering, and mechanical engineering among others.


N.C. State’s Centennial Campus simply couldn’t be replicated today. The reason why is simple. The campus sits on 1,100 acres—think Central Park, but larger—immediately adjacent to a nationally ranked research university in one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Yet, thanks to tremendous forethought by state leaders almost 30 years ago, industry easily interacts with students, faculty, government agencies and other businesses to develop new commercially viable technologies.

Duke University (Durham) — just 25 miles from N.C. State, is one of the finest private universities in the nation. With an enrollment of approximately 14,000 students, this academic and athletic powerhouse has annual research expenditures that exceed $650 million. While this university is well known as a legitimate national contender in basketball year in and year out, it’s the Schools of Medicine, Law, Business, Engineering and Divinity that reap the most acclaim.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is just a short drive from N.C. State and only 8 miles from Duke. Ask most people what they think of when they think of UNC-Chapel Hill and any number of images may pop into their heads. But what most people don’t think of, and what the university can be incredibly proud of, is that it was the very first public university in the nation. Needless to say a lot has changed since it was founded in 1789. Most notably, the university now educates close to 30,000 students and recently eclipsed the $800 million mark in research grants and contracts.


Four-Year Colleges & Universities

In addition to the often discussed tier-one research universities, there are several other excellent options for higher education in Raleigh.

  • Meredith College is an independent private women’s college located on a beautiful tree-filled campus in West Raleigh. With an enrollment of 2,300 students, it is the largest women’s college in the Southeastern U.S.

  • Saint Augustine’s University, founded in 1867, is a historically black college located just 10 blocks east of the state capitol building. Its annual enrollment is approximately 1,500 students.

  • Shaw University is a historically black private liberal arts institution located in downtown Raleigh. Established in 1865, Shaw has an annual enrollment of 2,800 students.

  • William Peace University is a 154-year old institution located on the northern edge of downtown Raleigh. WPU enrolls 700 students per year, which allows it to have an enviable student to teacher ratio of 11:1.

  • Campbell University may have its main campus in Buies Creek, N.C. (about 45 minutes away) but it recently made a huge investment by relocating its Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law to downtown Raleigh. The move has resulted in increased application rates and allows students easy access to state and federal courtrooms, plus many of the state’s largest law offices.


Technical Schools

Wake Technical Community College is part of the 56-institution North Carolina Community College System. It’s a 2-year public college with an annual enrollment of more than 65,000 students. This impressive statistics makes it the second largest in the State. Wake Tech has several campuses across the region, with its main campus just minutes south of downtown Raleigh, and a large and impressive new cluster of academic buildings in North Raleigh just off Interstate 540 (referred to locally as the outer loop).

In addition to offering 2-year associates degrees in a number of fields of study, Wake Tech also excels in continuing education programs in hundreds of areas and is one of the major contributors to the local business recruitment and retention efforts. In fact, for eligible new and expanding businesses that meet a certain criteria on job creation, Wake Tech is able to offer customized training at absolutely no cost to the company.

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