Tennessee’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in Tennessee offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Tennessee’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

About one third of the higher learning institutes in Tennessee are public schools. Students who attend these schools can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 to $13,000 in tuition and have the option to pursue degrees in fields such as economics, history, nursing, literature, education, and criminal justice. Tennessee’s largest public school, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, boasts some impressive alumni, including Oprah Winfrey, Kurt Vonnegut, and Cormac McCarthy. The private school alumni are equally as notable. For example, author James Patterson and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus both attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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Tennessee also offers nearly 30 religiously affiliated schools, the largest being Belmont University in Nashville, located just blocks from the famous Music Row. Here, students can study a wide range of fields including Christian leadership, audio engineering technology, and biophysics. Additionally, Tennessee offers students several loan forgiveness programs. Math and science teachers, minority teachers, and registered nurses interested in becoming teachers or administrators who meet certain requirements may be eligible.

Tennessee is home to mouthwatering barbecues, electrified blues, and the sweeping majesty of the Smoky Mountains National Park. And with access to countless historic sites, unique museums, and lush green spaces, students attending one of the more than 60 colleges and universities in The Volunteer State will have plenty to do and see in their downtime.

Discover more about the top programs and higher education learning opportunities available in Tennessee.


What are Tennessee’s Colleges & Universities?

Tennessee’s Best Overall


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How do we determine Tennessee's best community colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

We’ve identified 13 community colleges in Tennessee. The following list shows the best community colleges in the state.

Best Community Colleges in Tennessee

  1. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Chattanooga State Community College known for?

    Chattanooga State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Cleveland State Community College known for?

    Cleveland State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Volunteer State Community College known for?

    Volunteer State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Northeast State Community College known for?

    Northeast State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    REQUEST INFO
  5. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Southwest Tennessee Community College known for?

    Southwest Tennessee Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  6. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Walters State Community College known for?

    Walters State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Pellissippi State Community College known for?

    Pellissippi State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    REQUEST INFO
  8. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Roane State Community College known for?

    Roane State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  9. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    17%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Nashville State Community College known for?

    Nashville State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    REQUEST INFO
  10. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Dyersburg State Community College known for?

    Dyersburg State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Columbia State Community College known for?

    Columbia State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    REQUEST INFO
  12. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Motlow State Community College known for?

    Motlow State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    REQUEST INFO
  13. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Jackson State Community College known for?

    Jackson State Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO

Resources for College-Bound Students

Photo By: Emelcher - took this photo on campus earlier this week, CC BY-SA 3.0