2022 Top Public Universities in Tennessee

Public universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public universities also rank highly among the best universities in many states, Tennessee included.

Public universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 23 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    3,181

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9390

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21474

    Located in Memphis, Tennessee, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center offers multiple programs as a public institution. The school offers accredited degrees that prepare students for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the institution. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #2

    The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    30,559

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11332

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $28522

    The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers programs from its campus in Knoxville, Tennessee. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #3

    The University of Tennessee-Martin

    Martin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    7,117

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8214

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14254

    The University of Tennessee-Martin is a public institution located in Martin, Tennessee. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 99% of learners receive financial aid, while 41% take out loans. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 54%. The admission rate is 65% for incoming students. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The University of Tennessee-Martin has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #4

    Tennessee Technological University

    Cookeville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    10,177

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8358

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18390

    Tennessee Technological University ranks as a top college from its campus in Cookeville, Tennessee. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Degree-seekers typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Tennessee Technological University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Motlow State Community College

    Tullahoma, TN

    Graduation Rate

    32%

    Enrollment

    6,616

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, Motlow State Community College educates students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares learners for a career in their field. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Motlow State Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #6

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    11,728

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7836

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23954

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga ranks as a top college from its campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #7

    Walters State Community College

    Morristown, TN

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    5,742

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16903

    From its Morristown, Tennessee campus, Walters State Community College enrolls students in 40 programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. According to the school, the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 17-to-1. The school reports that 99% of students receive financial aid. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 30%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #8

    Roane State Community College

    Harriman, TN

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    5,172

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4242

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17448

    Roane State Community College, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Harriman, Tennessee. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #9

    Northeast State Community College

    Blountville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    5,397

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Northeast State Community College, located in Blountville, Tennessee, welcomes students with 40 program options. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The student-to-faculty ratio at the institution is 19-to-1. The school reports that 98% of students receive financial aid. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 31%. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #10

    Middle Tennessee State University

    Murfreesboro, TN

    Graduation Rate

    51%

    Enrollment

    22,080

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25872

    From its campus in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University enrolls students in 166 programs. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. At the institution, 98% of the students receive some form of financial aid. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 51%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The admission rate for prospective students is 94%. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores.

    #11

    Columbia State Community College

    Columbia, TN

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    5,931

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4242

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17448

    Columbia State Community College ranks as a top school from its campus in Columbia, Tennessee. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #12

    University of Memphis

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    52%

    Enrollment

    22,205

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8208

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12048

    University of Memphis ranks as a top college from its campus in Memphis, Tennessee. The college offers a variety of degree-granting programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Degree-seekers can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Pellissippi State Community College

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    28%

    Enrollment

    9,334

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Pellissippi State Community College offers programs from its campus in Knoxville, Tennessee. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. Pellissippi State Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #14

    Dyersburg State Community College

    Dyersburg, TN

    Graduation Rate

    24%

    Enrollment

    2,650

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Dyersburg State Community College, which offers programs from its Dyersburg, Tennessee campus, often ranks among the top schools. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Academic and technical programs help students reach their professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Dyersburg State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #15

    East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    13,713

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7340

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25487

    East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, welcomes students with 179 program options. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. The institution reports that 100% of students receive some form of financial aid. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 50%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The school offers experiential learning in the form of internships, research opportunities, and practicums. The admission rate is 78%. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies.

    #16

    Tennessee State University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    7,615

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7854

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20574

    Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, welcomes students with 88 program options. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school holds a student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1. The institution reports that 96% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The public school reports a 26% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The school offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores.

    #17

    Cleveland State Community College

    Cleveland, TN

    Graduation Rate

    28%

    Enrollment

    3,074

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Located in Cleveland, Tennessee, Cleveland State Community College grants college degrees as a public institution. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare to contribute to their field by completing courses. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Cleveland State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #18

    Volunteer State Community College

    Gallatin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    25%

    Enrollment

    8,832

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    A public institution, Volunteer State Community College enrolls students from its campus in Gallatin, Tennessee. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. Students who complete a technical or academic program may enter the workforce. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. According to the institution, 96% of students receive aid and 8% receive loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 25%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Volunteer State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #19

    Southwest Tennessee Community College

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    12%

    Enrollment

    7,371

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    From its Tennessee campus, Southwest Tennessee Community College offers 55 academic programs. Students choose from rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The school holds a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. According to the institution, 95% of enrollees receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a 12% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates become more competitive in the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #20

    Jackson State Community College

    Jackson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    4,203

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12576

    From its campus in Jackson, Tennessee, Jackson State Community College educates students as a public institution. The school offers accredited programs that prepare students for a successful career. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students receive $6216 in aid on average, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $8429. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take essential courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #21

    Chattanooga State Community College

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    7,452

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    A public institution located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga State Community College enrolls students in several programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers affordable programs that do not sacrifice academic rigor. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $6103, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $6479. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Chattanooga State Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #22

    Nashville State Community College

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    17%

    Enrollment

    7,064

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4032

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville State Community College often ranks among the best schools. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    Austin Peay State University

    Clarksville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    10,272

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6720

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12264

    Austin Peay State University, located in Clarksville, Tennessee, grants degrees as a public institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 99% of learners receive financial aid, while 44% take out loans. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 48%. The admission rate is 91% for hopeful students. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.