Best Value Colleges in Tennessee

The Tennessee College ROI Report is a useful resource for students and parents who are seeking out the best value colleges in Tennessee.  Read More

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1Vanderbilt University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$556,800
Total 4 Year Cost$236,200
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,680
2Tennessee Technological University (TTU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$439,400
Total 4 Year Cost$83,600
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,960
3Tennessee Technological University (TTU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$384,100
Total 4 Year Cost$138,900
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,960
4University of Tennessee(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$325,200
Total 4 Year Cost$97,800
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,560
5University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$294,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,000
Grad Rate37%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,600
6University of Tennessee(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$255,700
Total 4 Year Cost$167,300
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,560
7University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$238,600
Total 4 Year Cost$134,400
Grad Rate37%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,600
8Tennessee State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$205,600
Total 4 Year Cost$67,400
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,640
9East Tennessee State University (ETSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$202,600
Total 4 Year Cost$90,400
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
10University of Memphis (U of M)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$194,300
Total 4 Year Cost$88,700
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
11Tennessee State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$155,300
Total 4 Year Cost$117,700
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,640
12Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$147,800
Total 4 Year Cost$85,200
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,160
13East Tennessee State University (ETSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$146,600
Total 4 Year Cost$146,400
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
14Trevecca Nazarene University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$137,500
Total 4 Year Cost$126,200
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,160
15University of Memphis (U of M)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$136,800
Total 4 Year Cost$146,200
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,440

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

From the soaring peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the incredible musical traditions of Nashville, the Volunteer State is a fun and interesting place to attend school. Whether you're interesting in attending college in Tennessee because of the state's eclectic array of attractions or simply because it's home to so many great value schools, consider using PayScale's data to more capably research the universities that will give you the greatest return on investment for your educational dollars.

As one of the most highly ranked research institutions in the nation, Vanderbilt University attracts some of the most talented and driven students from around the state, country and world. Ranked 68th nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI, the school tops our Tennessee College ROI Report rankings with ease. An education from this prestigious school costs an average of $236,200. With alumni reporting a median return of investment of $556,800 without financial aid and $714,200 with it, however, it is easily among the best value colleges Tennessee students earn their degrees from. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, Vandy, as it's affectionately known, offers 70 undergraduate majors across four undergraduate schools, and it also offers six graduate and professional schools. Its list of alumni is a veritable who's who of prestigious public figures, including two U.S. Vice Presidents, 25 Rhodes Scholars, seven Nobel Prize laureates and several Fields Medal recipients.

Better known as Tennessee Tech, Tennessee Technological University is ranked 166th nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI. Located in Cookeville, which is about 70 miles east of Nashville, the school's undergraduate offerings largely revolve around engineering and technology, but other disciplines are offered too. The school is famous for offering a solid array of degrees in the STEM field, which largely explains why its 20 Year Net ROI is $439,400 -- a figure that soars to $470,400 with financial aid. Tennessee Tech delivers a college return on investment Tennessee residents benefit from enormously.

Home to the official collections of papers of all three Tennessee-born U.S. presidents, the University of Tennessee has long been a highly regarded institute of higher learning. The average cost of an education from this Knoxville-based school is $97,800. UTK alumni report a median return of investment of $325,200 without financial aid and $359,400 with it, however. With more than 300 degree programs, the school appeals to a broad range of students while delivering the value of college education Tennessee families need. More than 450 student-run organizations and clubs are available, so there's never a dull moment on campus.