The term Division III refers to a level of athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Unlike Division I schools, Division III colleges do not offer athletic scholarships or financial aid related to sports. According to the NCAA's website, 447 colleges or universities compete on the Division III level. These include seven academic institutions in North Carolina.
Located in the northern part of the state and near the downtown part of Greensboro, Greensboro College has 18 men's and women's athletic teams that compete on the Division III level. The 18-acre school dates back to 1838 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has one professor for every 16 students and a total enrollment of approximately 1,200 students who come from 27 states and 24 countries. Its emphasis is a strong liberal arts program with 39 majors and more than 1,000 different courses. Many of its athletic teams compete in the Patriot League. Its men's soccer team has made 14 NCAA tournament appearances as of February 2011.
Methodist University is a coed college of liberal arts and sciences in the city of Fayetteville. It draws students from 41 states and 30 countries. Academically, the school has 70 undergraduate majors and concentrations as well as three graduate programs. This private university, which is affiliated with the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, has 60 clubs and student organizations. On the athletic front, Methodist University has 19 NCAA Division III teams that have achieved an impressive amount of success. Nicknamed the Monarchs, the teams have won nearly 120 conference championships as of 2011 and produced 286 athletes who have achieved NCAA All-American Division III status.
Peace College in Raleigh, which is a member of the USA South Athletic Conference, competes on the Division III level in women's basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. An all-women's school that was founded in 1857, Peace is a private college with approximately 700 students. The school has one teacher for every 11 students. Over 90 percent of its students graduate within four years. Peace offers 17 majors, a wide range of minors and a teacher education program. One of the oldest liberal arts colleges for women in the country, Peace has twice hosted the NCAA Division III softball championships as of 2011 since becoming an official NCAA member in 2002.
Salem College in Winston-Salem is is a four-year liberal arts school for women. Founded in 1772, it is the 13th-oldest college in the country and the oldest college for women. Salem offers four undergraduate degrees, two graduate degrees and also has a teacher certification program. The total enrollment is approximately 1,100 with 11 students for each teacher. Nearly 90 percent of the faculty has Ph.D. or terminal degrees. Money magazine named Salem one of the top 10 best buys among women's colleges seven years in a row. Nicknamed the Salem Spirits, its sports teams compete on the NCAA Division III level in basketball, cross country, volleyball, soccer, track and field, and tennis. These teams are a member of the the Great South Athletic Conference.