Best Value Colleges in Tennessee

Seeking out the best value colleges in Tennessee? Take a look at the colleges with the best return on investment in the state.

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.  Read More

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16Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$173,000
Total 4 Year Cost$83,200
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,900
17University of Memphis (U of M)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$167,000
Total 4 Year Cost$147,000
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,300
18Bethel University - McKenzie, TN(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$146,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,100
19King College - Bristol, TN(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$145,000
Total 4 Year Cost$154,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,100
20University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$129,000
Total 4 Year Cost$147,000
Grad Rate40%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,100
21Austin Peay State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$120,000
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate37%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
22Bryan College - Dayton, TN(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$118,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,900
23Rhodes College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$114,000
Total 4 Year Cost$218,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,500
24Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$110,000
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,900
25East Tennessee State University (ETSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$109,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,200
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
26The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$105,000
Total 4 Year Cost$75,000
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,200
27Union University - Jackson, TN(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$103,000
Total 4 Year Cost$180,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,900
28Belmont University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$177,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
29Tusculum College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$99,000
Total 4 Year Cost$143,000
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
30Fisk University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$98,300
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate40%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$47,900

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

Whether you're hoping to attend 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. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, Vandy, as it's affectionately known, has graduated 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 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.

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. With more than 300 degree programs, this Knoxville 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.