2022 best colleges in Tennessee best-colleges

With close proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the largest government-funded laboratories nationwide, the University of Tennessee provides students with extensive research opportunities in energy, biology, security, and more. Vanderbilt University, one of the top schools in the country, also deserves recognition for its health and radiation effects research and its on-campus arboretum, featuring trees as old as the American Revolution. For students interested in hands-on learning, Belmont University, located in the vibrant and musical city of Nashville, boasts leading study abroad and service learning programs.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Tennessee

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 12%

Grad rate: 94%

Net cost: $19,432

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $79,872

Vs. state average: + $36,117

Economic score: 0.75

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#2 in Tennessee

Baptist Health Sciences University

Memphis, Tennessee

Admission rate: 70%

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $9,945

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $57,989

Vs. state average: + $14,234

Economic score: 1.06

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#3 in Tennessee

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, Tennessee

Admission rate: 50%

Grad rate: 55%

Net cost: $11,900

Payback: 1.7 Years

Earnings: $52,956

Vs. state average: + $9,201

Economic score: 1.40

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#4 in Tennessee

Rhodes College

Memphis, Tennessee

Admission rate: 52%

Grad rate: 85%

Net cost: $27,540

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $66,619

Vs. state average: + $22,864

Economic score: 1.63

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#5 in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 79%

Grad rate: 72%

Net cost: $18,825

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $52,676

Vs. state average: + $8,921

Economic score: 2.22

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#6 in Tennessee

Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Admission rate: 95%

Grad rate: 48%

Net cost: $12,464

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $44,811

Vs. state average: + $1,056

Economic score: 2.45

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#7 in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Admission rate: 84%

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $12,952

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $43,830

Vs. state average: + $75

Economic score: 2.66

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#8 in Tennessee

Bryan College-Dayton

Dayton, Tennessee

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 48%

Net cost: $16,409

Payback: 2.8 Years

Earnings: $46,301

Vs. state average: + $2,546

Economic score: 2.69

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#9 in Tennessee

The University of the South

Sewanee, Tennessee

Admission rate: 57%

Grad rate: 83%

Net cost: $30,474

Payback: 3.6 Years

Earnings: $56,404

Vs. state average: + $12,649

Economic score: 2.78

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#10 in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee-Martin

Martin, Tennessee

Admission rate: 65%

Grad rate: 50%

Net cost: $10,955

Payback: 2.6 Years

Earnings: $40,872

Vs. state average: - $2,883

Economic score: 2.78

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#11 in Tennessee

Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 63%

Grad rate: 56%

Net cost: $17,499

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $46,134

Vs. state average: + $2,379

Economic score: 2.83

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#12 in Tennessee

University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Admission rate: 86%

Grad rate: 52%

Net cost: $13,248

Payback: 2.9 Years

Earnings: $43,699

Vs. state average: - $56

Economic score: 2.93

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#13 in Tennessee

Tennessee Wesleyan University

Athens, Tennessee

Admission rate: 61%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $13,636

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $42,004

Vs. state average: - $1,751

Economic score: 3.08

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#14 in Tennessee

Maryville College

Maryville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 63%

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $19,886

Payback: 3.5 Years

Earnings: $45,957

Vs. state average: + $2,202

Economic score: 3.34

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#15 in Tennessee

Tennessee Technological University

Cookeville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $15,929

Payback: 3.4 Years

Earnings: $43,326

Vs. state average: - $429

Economic score: 3.43

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#16 in Tennessee

Freed-Hardeman University

Henderson, Tennessee

Admission rate: 81%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $16,703

Payback: 3.4 Years

Earnings: $42,036

Vs. state average: - $1,719

Economic score: 3.56

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#17 in Tennessee

Carson-Newman University

Jefferson City, Tennessee

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 53%

Net cost: $17,471

Payback: 3.5 Years

Earnings: $42,546

Vs. state average: - $1,209

Economic score: 3.59

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#18 in Tennessee

Southern Adventist University

Collegedale, Tennessee

Admission rate: 74%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $22,661

Payback: 4.0 Years

Earnings: $48,003

Vs. state average: + $4,248

Economic score: 3.62

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#19 in Tennessee

Lipscomb University

Nashville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 62%

Grad rate: 65%

Net cost: $24,749

Payback: 4.0 Years

Earnings: $47,554

Vs. state average: + $3,799

Economic score: 3.69

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#20 in Tennessee

East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, Tennessee

Admission rate: 79%

Grad rate: 53%

Net cost: $14,332

Payback: 3.5 Years

Earnings: $40,733

Vs. state average: - $3,022

Economic score: 3.76

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