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 22 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-Knoxville

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    29,460

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13264

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $31664

    From its campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville educates students as a public institution. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. Students pay a per-credit fee of around 1313 at the school. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #2

    The University of Tennessee-Martin

    Martin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    7,280

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9748

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15788

    Located in Martin, Tennessee, The University of Tennessee-Martin operates as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a 47% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants 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.

    #3

    Tennessee Technological University

    Cookeville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    10,140

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8934

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24798

    Tennessee Technological University, a public institution in Cookeville, Tennessee, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to gain relevant knowledge and skills. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Tennessee Technological University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #4

    Motlow State Community College

    Tullahoma, TN

    Graduation Rate

    36%

    Enrollment

    6,992

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4344

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16920

    Motlow State Community College enrolls students at its Tullahoma, Tennessee campus as a public institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 36%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Motlow State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #5

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    11,651

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9656

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25774

    Located in Tennessee, The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga enrolls students in 85 programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-teacher ratio is currently unknown. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. The school reports a 48% graduation rate. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #6

    Walters State Community College

    Morristown, TN

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    6,279

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4327

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17198

    A public institution located in Morristown, Tennessee, Walters State Community College enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school's accredited programs prepare learners for the workforce. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Walters State Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #7

    Roane State Community College

    Harriman, TN

    Graduation Rate

    34%

    Enrollment

    5,861

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4652

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17758

    From its Harriman, Tennessee campus, Roane State Community College enrolls students in 45 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer students a challenging course of study. Information on the student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The public institution reports a 34% graduation rate. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #8

    Northeast State Community College

    Blountville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    32%

    Enrollment

    6,085

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4350

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16926

    Northeast State Community College, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Blountville, Tennessee. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for learners with a variety of professional goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help students complete the process. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. Northeast State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #9

    Middle Tennessee State University

    Murfreesboro, TN

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    21,721

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9070

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27742

    Located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University is a public institution that offers multiple programs. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Middle Tennessee State University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #10

    Columbia State Community College

    Columbia, TN

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    6,305

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4582

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17788

    From its campus in Columbia, Tennessee, Columbia State Community College awards degrees and certificates as a top school. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. Columbia State Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #11

    University of Memphis

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    21,685

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9912

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13752

    A public institution located in Memphis, Tennessee, University of Memphis offers a variety of programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #12

    Pellissippi State Community College

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    10,694

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4378

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16608

    Pellissippi State Community College, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, operates as a public institution. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 26%. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #13

    Dyersburg State Community College

    Dyersburg, TN

    Graduation Rate

    24%

    Enrollment

    2,840

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4338

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16914

    Dyersburg State Community College, located in Dyersburg, Tennessee, enrolls students as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The public school reports a 24% graduation rate. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #14

    East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    14,191

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9259

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27406

    East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, often ranks as one of the best schools. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. East Tennessee State University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #15

    Tennessee State University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    32%

    Enrollment

    8,081

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9012

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21732

    Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, offers 77 programs for degree-seekers. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-faculty ratio is unknown. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 32%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers stand out. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling.

    #16

    Cleveland State Community College

    Cleveland, TN

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    3,370

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4338

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16914

    Cleveland State Community College, located in Cleveland, Tennessee, offers 40 programs for degree-seekers. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-faculty ratio is currently unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded per student is not available. The public school reports a 30% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #17

    Volunteer State Community College

    Gallatin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    23%

    Enrollment

    9,144

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4332

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16908

    A public institution, Volunteer State Community College educates students on its campus in Gallatin, Tennessee. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares learners for a career in their field. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The cost per credit is unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Volunteer State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #18

    Southwest Tennessee Community College

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    13%

    Enrollment

    9,433

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4352

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16928

    Southwest Tennessee Community College, a public organization located in Memphis, Tennessee, offers multiple programs. Students complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. The institution offers academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Southwest Tennessee Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #19

    Jackson State Community College

    Jackson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    4,899

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4324

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16900

    Jackson State Community College ranks as a top school from its campus in Jackson, Tennessee. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Chattanooga State Community College

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    8,050

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4063

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15727

    Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga State Community College educates students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #21

    Nashville State Community College

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    19%

    Enrollment

    7,885

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4294

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16870

    A public institution located in Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville State Community College educates students through multiple programs. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Nashville State Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #22

    Austin Peay State University

    Clarksville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    11,048

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8303

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13847

    A top-ranked school, Austin Peay State University enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Clarksville, Tennessee. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.