Most Affordable Colleges in Tennessee 2024

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Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in Tennessee. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

10 Most Affordable Colleges in Tennessee 2024

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  1. University of Tennessee
  2. University of Memphis
  3. Middle Tennessee State University
  4. Tennessee State University
  5. East Tennessee State University
  6. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  7. Tennessee Tech
  8. University of Tennessee at Martin
  9. Austin Peay State University
  10. Lane College
  1. University of Tennessee
  2. University of Memphis
  3. Tennessee State University
  4. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  5. Middle Tennessee State University
  6. East Tennessee State University
  7. University of Tennessee at Martin
  8. Austin Peay State University
  9. Tennessee Tech
  10. University of Tennessee Southern
  1. LeMoyne–Owen College 98%
  2. University of Memphis 95%
  3. Austin Peay State University 93%
  4. University of Tennessee Southern 92%
  5. East Tennessee State University 87%
  6. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 86%
  7. Tennessee Tech 79%
  8. University of Tennessee 75%
  9. University of Tennessee at Martin 75%
  10. Middle Tennessee State University 68%
  1. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 18 to 1
  2. Tennessee Tech 18 to 1
  3. University of Tennessee 17 to 1
  4. Lane College 17 to 1
  5. Middle Tennessee State University 17 to 1
  6. East Tennessee State University 16 to 1
  7. University of Tennessee at Martin 16 to 1
  8. University of Memphis 16 to 1
  9. Austin Peay State University 16 to 1
  10. University of Tennessee Southern 13 to 1
  1. LeMoyne–Owen College $12,076
  2. Lane College $11,790
  3. University of Tennessee $11,332
  4. University of Tennessee Southern $10,200
  5. Tennessee Tech $8,520
  6. University of Tennessee at Martin $8,378
  7. University of Memphis $8,352
  8. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga $7,992
  9. East Tennessee State University $7,486
  10. Middle Tennessee State University $7,344
  1. University of Tennessee $11,468
  2. Tennessee Tech $10,480
  3. Tennessee State University $9,524
  4. Middle Tennessee State University $9,396
  5. University of Memphis $9,378
  6. University of Tennessee at Martin $9,278
  7. University of Tennessee Southern $8,910
  8. East Tennessee State University $8,784
  9. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga $8,618
  10. Austin Peay State University $8,226
  1. University of Tennessee Southern
  2. LeMoyne–Owen College
  3. Lane College
  4. Austin Peay State University
  5. University of Tennessee at Martin
  6. Tennessee Tech
  7. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  8. East Tennessee State University
  9. Tennessee State University
  10. Middle Tennessee State University
  1. LeMoyne–Owen College
  2. Lane College
  3. University of Tennessee Southern
  4. Tennessee Tech
  5. Austin Peay State University
  6. University of Tennessee at Martin
  7. East Tennessee State University
  8. Middle Tennessee State University
  9. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  10. Tennessee State University
  1. Middle Tennessee State University 68%
  2. University of Tennessee at Martin 75%
  3. University of Tennessee 75%
  4. Tennessee Tech 79%
  5. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 86%
  6. East Tennessee State University 87%
  7. University of Tennessee Southern 92%
  8. Austin Peay State University 93%
  9. University of Memphis 95%
  10. LeMoyne–Owen College 98%
  1. LeMoyne–Owen College 11 to 1
  2. Tennessee State University 12 to 1
  3. University of Tennessee Southern 13 to 1
  4. East Tennessee State University 16 to 1
  5. University of Tennessee at Martin 16 to 1
  6. University of Memphis 16 to 1
  7. Austin Peay State University 16 to 1
  8. University of Tennessee 17 to 1
  9. Lane College 17 to 1
  10. Middle Tennessee State University 17 to 1
  1. Austin Peay State University $6,816
  2. Tennessee State University $7,128
  3. Middle Tennessee State University $7,344
  4. East Tennessee State University $7,486
  5. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga $7,992
  6. University of Memphis $8,352
  7. University of Tennessee at Martin $8,378
  8. Tennessee Tech $8,520
  9. University of Tennessee Southern $10,200
  10. University of Tennessee $11,332
  1. Austin Peay State University $8,226
  2. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga $8,618
  3. East Tennessee State University $8,784
  4. University of Tennessee Southern $8,910
  5. University of Tennessee at Martin $9,278
  6. University of Memphis $9,378
  7. Middle Tennessee State University $9,396
  8. Tennessee State University $9,524
  9. Tennessee Tech $10,480
  10. University of Tennessee $11,468

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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

Tennessee's Most Affordable Colleges and Universities Badge
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There are 15 colleges and universities in Tennessee with stated tuitions and fees under $20,000/year. The following list of the most affordable colleges and universities in Tennessee is composed entirely of schools offering bachelor’s degree programs, have stated tuition and fees near or under the national average of $16,000/year, and are fully accredited colleges.

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Most Affordable Colleges in Tennessee 2023

These schools are ranked by academic excellence, and all under $20,000/year.

  1. #2

    University of Memphis

    Memphis , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Memphis

    Cost of Degree: $10,056
    Expenses: $18,080
    Starting Salary: $43,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    University of Memphis’s Online Degrees

    BA in African and African American Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    Degree Concentrations
    • African American Literature
    • Professional Writing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Sciences major in Healthcare Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Hospitality and Resort Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Information and Technology
    • Management
    • Marketing Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration in Business Information and Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration major in Finance
    Degree Concentrations
    • Real Estate
    • Finance
    • Insurance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Services
    • Child Life Specialist
    • Legal Studies
    • Early Care and Learning
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Information Technology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    Degree Concentrations
    • Applied Ethics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Middle Tennessee State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,232
    Expenses: $15,322
    Starting Salary: $44,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    8K

    Career Outlook for degree at Tennessee State University

    Cost of Degree: $8,336
    Expenses: $15,556
    Starting Salary: $39,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Tennessee State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Health Information Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Utilizing Technologies in Healthcare Organizations
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Administration
    • Information Technology
    • International Organizational Leadership
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/23

    Career Outlook for degree at East Tennessee State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,438
    Expenses: $17,323
    Starting Salary: $40,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    East Tennessee State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Administration
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in General Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Humanities
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Services
    • Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Dentistry
    Degree Concentrations
    • Dental Hygiene
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Medical
    Degree Concentrations
    • Allied Health Leadership
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Radiologic Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/23

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    Cost of Degree: $9,848
    Expenses: $14,950
    Starting Salary: $42,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  6. #7

    Tennessee Tech

    Cookeville , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Tennessee Tech

    Cost of Degree: $9,802
    Expenses: $17,182
    Starting Salary: $46,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Tennessee Tech’s Online Degrees

    BS in Medical Laboratory Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  7. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    8K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Tennessee at Martin

    Cost of Degree: $9,912
    Expenses: $12,260
    Starting Salary: $40,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Tennessee at Martin known for?

    University of Tennessee at Martin’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Tennessee at Martin’s Online Degrees

    BS in Agricultural Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Veterinary Technology and Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in History and Philosophy
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Law Enforcement
    • Corrections
    • Courts and Law
    • Forensics
    • Generalist
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Business Administration major in Agricultural Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Agricultural Business
    • Farm and Ranch Management
    • Veterinary Technology and Management
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration major in Information Systems
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management Information Systems
    • Business Communication and Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  8. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1053/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Austin Peay State University

    Cost of Degree: $8,431
    Expenses: $22,434
    Starting Salary: $38,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Austin Peay State University known for?

    Austin Peay State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Austin Peay State University’s Online Degrees

    BBA in Business
    Degree Concentrations
    • Hospitality Administration
    • Leadership Science
    • Organizational Administration
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cis: Systems Development
    • Cis: Information Assurance & Security
    • Cis: Database Administration
    • Cis: Internet & Web Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
    • Public Management
    • Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Political Science
    • Professional Communication - Information Specialist
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Medical
    Degree Concentrations
    • Medical Laboratory Science - Mlt To Mls
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #10

    Lane College

    Jackson , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Lane College

    Cost of Degree: $11,790
    Expenses: $11,890
    Starting Salary: $27,500
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Lane College known for?

    Lane College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    LeMoyne–Owen College

    Memphis , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at LeMoyne–Owen College

    Cost of Degree: $12,076
    Expenses: $8,100
    Starting Salary: $30,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is LeMoyne–Owen College known for?

    LeMoyne–Owen College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1017/20

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Tennessee Southern

    Cost of Degree: $10,200
    Expenses: $17,600
    Starting Salary: $36,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Tennessee Southern known for?

    University of Tennessee Southern’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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Tennessee’s Most Affordable Colleges in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive
  1. Austin Peay State University
  2. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  3. Tennessee Tech
  4. Tennessee State University
  5. Middle Tennessee State University
  6. East Tennessee State University
  7. University of Memphis
  8. University of Tennessee at Martin
  9. Bethel University
  10. LeMoyne–Owen College
  11. Lane College
  12. University of Tennessee
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