Police arrested David Polley, of Cary Friday. Officials said he had been downloading sexually explicit photos and videos of children as young as 8 years old.
Police said they had monitored Polley's computer activity from November 2009 to December 2011before they found the porn.
Polley is a junior at N.C. State majoring in computer science, according an arrest report.
He is charged with second-degree sex exploitation of a minor and is being held on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.