- About Nashville, Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, http://www.nashville.gov/Work/About-Nashville.aspx
- About the UT System, University of Tennessee System, http://tennessee.edu/about/
- City of Knoxville, http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/visitors/knoxville_info/demographics/
- Community Facts and Figures, Knoxville Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, http://www.knoxvilleoakridge.com/data/
- Community Facts, Tennessee, U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2015, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
- Employment by industry, Memphis Metro Area, Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, http://www.memphischamber.com/Articles/DoBusiness/pdfMetroIndustryEmployment.aspx
- Enrollment Form, Mid-South Christian College, http://www.midsouthcc.org/documents/schedules/online_enrollment_Form_fall_2013.pdf
- Fun Facts, City of Knoxville, http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/visitors/knoxville_info/fun_facts_about_knoxville/
- Internet Online Courses, Volunteer State Community College, http://catalog.volstate.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=9&poid=352&returnto=177
- Knoxville Area Economic Summary, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2016, http://www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/summary/blssummary_knoxville.pdf
- Logistics, Greater Memphis Chamber, http://www.memphischamber.com/Economic-Development/Industry/Logistics
- Nashville Area Economic Summary, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2016, http://www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/summary/blssummary_nashville.pdf
- Nashville demographics, Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, http://www.nashville.gov/Work/Demographics.aspx
- Nashville Employers, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, http://www.nashvilleareainfo.com/homepage/relocation-expansion/major-employers
- Online and Hybrid Program Summary, Middle Tennessee State University, http://www.mtsu.edu/university-college/distance/graduate-programs.php
- Online Classes, Mid-South Christian College, http://www.midsouthcc.org/index.php/schedules-top-menubar
- Online Classes, Roanne State Community College, https://www.roanestate.edu/?9857-Online-Classes
- Online Courses, Walters State Community College, http://www.ws.edu/academics/distance-ed/online-courses/
- Online Degree and Certificate Programs, University of Tennessee System, http://academicaffairs.tennessee.edu/online-education/programs/
- Online Learning/TN eCampus, Tennessee Board of Regents, https://www.tbr.edu/initiatives/online-learning-tn-ecampus
- Online Programs, Austin Peay State University, http://www.apsu.edu/online/online-programs
- Online Programs, Pellissippi State Community College, http://www.pstcc.edu/online/
- Online Programs, Tennessee Technological University, https://www.tntech.edu/academics/onlineprograms
- QuickFacts-Knoxville, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00
- QuickFacts-Memphis, Tenn., U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/4748000
- Regents Online Degree Programs, Chattanooga State Community College, http://catalog.chattanoogastate.edu/content.php?catoid=16&navoid=1870
- Selected Economic Characteristics-Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, http://www.sacscoc.org/
- State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates-Tennessee, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tn.htm#00-0000
- TSU Online, Tennessee State University, http://www.tnstate.edu/online/
- "Welcome to the Matrix: At FedEx's Sorting Hub, 1 Night, 1.5 million packages, CNET, July 2014, http://www.cnet.com/news/at-fedex-sorting-packages-1-5-million-at-a-time/
- Aspire Award, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/aspire-award
- Dual Enrollment Grant, Accessed August 2016, www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/dual-enrollment-grant
- General Assembly Merit Scholarship, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/general-assembly-merit-scholarship
- Loan Administration Contact Information, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/loan-administration-contact-information
- Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant, Accessed August 2016, www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/dual-enrollment-grant
- Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/graduate-nursing-loan-forgiveness-program
- Tennessee HOPE Access Grant, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/tennessee-hope-access-grant1
- Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/tennessee-hope-scholarship
- Tennessee Lottery, Accessed August 2016, https://www.tnlottery.com/wheremoneygoes/where_benefits.aspx
- Tennessee Math and Science Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/tennessee-math-and-science-teacher-loan-forgiveness-program
- Tennessee Student Assistance Award, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/tennessee-student-assistance-award
- Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program, Accessed August 2016, http://www.tn.gov/collegepays/article/tennessee-teaching-scholars-program
Tennessee is the birthplace of country music, and the state capital city of Nashville is billed as the "Country Music Capital of the World." Tennessee also is a great place to get a world-class — and affordable — education. Vanderbilt University in Nashville may be the state's most prestigious college, but students have a wealth of choices to attend affordable colleges in Tennessee. The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system includes six premier universities, 13 community colleges and 27 technical colleges and boasts an enrollment of more than 200,000 students, the TBR system reports.
The TBR system revamped its online educational portal in 2016. Formerly known as Regents Online Degree Program, TN eCampus delivers online courses and degree programs to Tennessee students throughout the state via an easy-to-use web portal. Online students can choose from more than 400 courses and 500 online degree program options, the Tennessee Board of Regents reports. Students have the option of taking fully online classes, hybrid classes that mix online learning with on-campus instruction, or accelerated learning options.
Students in Tennessee can also attend college through the University of Tennessee (UT) system. The system has main campuses located in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin, as well as a campus in Memphis and extension campuses throughout the state. Enrollment in 2014 was more than 49,000 students. The UT system offers a wide range of online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs through its various campuses.
Below is a chart detailing the number of degree-granting institutions for students attending online schools in the Volunteer State:
|Degree Level||Number of Online Programs||Number of Colleges|
Tennessee had a population of just over 6.6 million in 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Just under a quarter of the state's total population had attained a bachelor's degree or higher in 2014, the bureau adds. In 2014, Tennessee residents who held bachelor's degrees took home median annual salaries just over $44,000, the Census Bureau reports, while residents with graduate or professional degrees earned a median annual salary just over $56,000. Statewide, the median hourly wage in Tennessee in May of 2015 was $15.30, or $31,824 annually, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Affordable Online Colleges in Tennessee
The two lists below present two- and four-year schools in Tennessee who boast some of the lowest in-state tuition costs for degrees. The data was sourced from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, part of the National Center for Education Statistics.
To see a complete ranking of the top online colleges in Tennessee according to quality, rather than low-cost tuition, visit our Top Colleges tool.
Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Tennessee
Here are five of the most affordable two-year colleges in Tennessee.
Volunteer State Community College
Chattanooga State Community College
Pellissippi State Community College
Roane State Community College
Walters State Community College
Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Tennessee
The following four-year schools had among the most affordable tuition rates for online students in Tennessee.
Mid-South Christian College
Tennessee State University
Austin Peay State University
Tennessee Technological University
Middle Tennessee State University
College Accreditation in Tennessee
Students must be careful when selecting a college because they need to make sure they choose one that's properly accredited. Accreditation means students' degrees are valid because they adhere to a common set of educational standards.
In Tennessee there is one main accrediting body for the state's major educational systems, from Tennessee State University to the many smaller community and technical colleges across the state:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Below is an interview with a leading educator in the Volunteer State who shares her insight about attending online college in Tennessee. Not only does she share details about her school’s online program, but she shares her opinion of how distance education is growing and evolving.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at ETSU?
ETSU offers 26 fully online degree programs, some with several concentration options, at the graduate and undergraduate levels. At the undergraduate level we offer a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, Allied Health Bachelors of Science completion degrees (for students who have completed an A.S. degree) in Dental Hygiene Allied Health fields, which include Allied Health Leadership, Cardiopulmonary Science and Radiography, and a Nursing R.N. to B.S.N program. A Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies are also available at ETSU through the Tennessee Board of Regents as part of the Regents Online Degree Program partnership. We also have several undergraduate programs that are available mostly online, which means that a limited number of on campus courses or meetings may be required.
At the graduate level, we offer full and mostly online masters and doctoral degree programs and graduate certificate programs in the areas of education, health and nursing and digital marketing.
Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?
ETSU is dedicated to providing access to education by providing high-quality, flexible courses in online formats. We recognize that many students work full time, have family responsibilities and may not be able to pursue a degree, whether graduate or undergraduate, in a traditional, on-campus way. Our online courses have the same student outcomes as our on-campus courses, which we believe is due to having the same faculty teaching in our classrooms leading our online courses as well.
Our advice to students interested in online courses or an online degree program is that online courses involve the same investment of time as on-ground courses for success. Online courses are rigorous and require self-discipline, organization and time-management skills. We also encourage online students to take advantage of the resources available to them. Our library system, for example, makes research easily accessible to online students through our online databases. Tutoring is also available to online students through the ETSU Center for Academic Achievement.
Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?
Continuous advancements in technology will impact online learning as higher education institutions look for ways to innovate the learning experience. The population of online students continues to grow nationwide, which seems to signal a need or a desire among students to have flexibility in how they go about meeting their educational goals. Online learning offers a tremendous opportunity for students to match learning opportunities to their specific needs, whether in terms of scheduling or in terms of selecting a school or university to attend.
ETSU uses a variety of online learning options from asynchronous assignments to live streaming lectures, bringing the classroom to the student in an interactive way wherever he or she may be. We anticipate that online learning will continue to become more student-focused over the next few years and that students will become empowered to direct their educational experience because of the increase in options and availability. As digital natives begin to enter the collegiate environment, we also anticipate that they’ll be looking for rich and robust online learning experiences, and it seems likely that the virtual classrooms of tomorrow will become more interactive and integrated to meet those demands.
Colleges and universities that aren’t prepared or able to innovate the learning experience will be at a disadvantage in a market environment in which potential students are less tied to options within a specific geographic area and are more likely to value flexibility and options that meet their individual needs and preferences.
Financial Aid in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee is heavily committed to increasing the amount of residents with degrees. The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), in collaboration with state-wide nonprofits, offers two years of tuition-free attendance at a technical or community college. The program also offers mentors to assist with college applications. Read on for more information on scholarships, grants and loans in the state of Tennessee.
Most of Tennessee's biggest scholarships are funded by the Tennessee lottery and are administered by TSAC. According to the Tennessee lottery website, more than 100,000 students receive lottery-funded awards and programs annually. Here are three lottery-funded scholarships to consider:
For more scholarship application support, read through our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.
There is a wealth of information about grant opportunities within the state of Tennessee on the TSAC website. There they list six main grants. However, some of them, such as the Helping Heroes Grant for members of the military, are not relevant for the general population. Here are three that are:
- Application deadline: Complete the FAFSA by September 1st for fall semesters
- Award amount: Up to $1,250 for four-year institutions and up to $875 for two-year institutions (for first time students)
This strictly need-based award for Tennessee residents requires applicants have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $2,100 or less. Students must be enrolled at a Tennessee post-secondary institution at least half-time.
- Application deadline: Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st
- Award amount: Four-year/two-year private $4,000; four-year public $2,000; two-year public $1,300; career schools $2,000
This grant is intended for high school students in grade 10 and above who are taking college courses while finishing their diploma. Students must be Tennessee residents.
- Application deadline: September 15th (for fall semester)
- Award amount: Award amounts vary based on the number of courses completed. For example, students can receive $500 for the first course.
For more on grants, check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants.
Prior to July 1st, 2016, TSAC granted loans to Tennessee students – $13 billion in student loans to be exact. However, TSAC turned that program over to the nonprofit Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC). TSAC will continue to offer resources to prospective students on its web site. Listed on the site are three subject-specific loan forgiveness programs that include the following:
This forgiveness program encourages Tennesseans to enter the field of teaching. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher and commit to teaching at a pre-K through 12th grade public school in Tennessee for at least one year after graduation. If that commitment is not met, the award becomes a loan which must be paid back at an interest rate of 9 percent.
- Application deadline: April 15th
- Award amount: Depends on loan amount
- Application deadline: September 1st (for fall semester)
- Award amount: Maximum $10,000
- Application deadline: March 1st
- Award amount: Depends on loan amount
Get more information on student loans by reading our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.
Featured Cities in Tennessee
Students who successfully complete their degrees from online colleges in Tennessee have many different options when it comes to where they live and work. Here are three of the top cities in Tennessee, along with their population, median wages for residents with high school diplomas or bachelor's degrees, average rent and total student population, as sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).
Memphis is the world headquarters of FedEx. Each night, a workforce of more than 7,000 sort between 1.3 million and 1.5 million packages at FedEx's global SuperHub.
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Rolling Stone magazine in 2011 ranked Nashville as the nation's best music scene. There are more than 180 recording studies in the city. Nashville also has two major sports teams, the Tennessee Titans of the NFL and the Nashville Predators of the NHL.
Knoxville, TN Metro Area
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Home improvement station HGTV is headquartered in Knoxville. Author Kurt Vonnegut is a graduate of University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In 1948, a new flavor of soda named Mountain Dew was trademarked by Hartman Beverage Co. of Knoxville.