Online Colleges in Tennessee

Most Affordable Online Colleges

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1% of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources:

  • 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
  • Fast Facts About APSU, Austin Peay State University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.apsu.edu/about-apsu/fast-facts-about-apsu.php
  • Online Programs, Austin Peay State University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.apsu.edu/online/prospective-students/online-programs.php
  • Sources of Assistance, Austin Peay State University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.apsu.edu/online/current-students/sources-assistance.php
  • Accreditation, Austin Peay State University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.apsu.edu/about-apsu/accreditation.php
  • Prospective Students, Bethel University, Accessed April 2018, http://bethelsuccess.net/prospective-students/
  • Career Services Center, Bethel University, Accessed April 2018, http://bethelsuccess.net/careercenter/
  • About Bethel, Bethel University, Accessed April 2018, http://bethelsuccess.net/about/
  • C-N Facts, Carson-Newman University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.cn.edu/about-c-n/c-n-facts
  • Online Degrees, Carson-Newman University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.cn.edu/online-degrees
  • Apps for Success, Carson-Newman University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.cn.edu/adult-graduate-studies/online-learning/welcome/apps-for-success
  • Tennessee Transfer Pathways, Carson-Newman University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.cn.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/admission-requirements/transfer-admission/tennessee-transfer-pathways
  • Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness, Carson-Newman University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.cn.edu/administration/accreditation-and-institutional-effectiveness
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Tennessee is well known for its natural beauty, with its sprawling Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its countless rivers and streams. But, the state is also brimming with nightlife and opportunities for music lovers. As the home of the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, Beale Street and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee is a place where music fans can kick back, listen to their favorite tunes and be part of music's history.

Still, there's more to Tennessee than meets the eye. Beyond the rolling mountains and country music, the state offers an array of educational opportunities that help workers get ahead. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the state hosts 179 institutions of higher education. That number includes 10 public, four-year colleges; 38 public, two-year schools; 52 private, nonprofit institutions; and 77 for-profit schools.

Some of the most prominent schools in the state belong in the University of Tennessee System, which boasts four main locations across the state. Many schools in the state also offer online or hybrid education, which can make earning a degree more convenient for those with work, home or family obligations.

According to the Tennessee Board of Regents eCampus, which is an online learning platform sponsored by the state, online colleges in Tennessee offer 500+ web-based degree programs. This includes:

  • 91 fully-online associate programs
  • 65 fully-online bachelor's programs
  • 95-fully online master's programs

In addition to these programs, the state's institutes boast numerous online certificates and hybrid degree programs.

Best Online Colleges in Tennessee for 2018-19

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Students considering online education from anywhere in the U.S. should not overlook the many affordable online universities in Tennessee. Not only do they offer a diverse selection of degree programs, but they make it easy to pursue higher education in a flexible, online format.

To make finding the right school easier for potential students, we embarked on a search for the best online colleges in Tennessee based on factors such as affordability, accessibility and the number of programs available. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and our own unique methodology (details at the bottom of this page,) we have come up with this ranking of the 10 best online colleges in Tennessee. More rankings can be made just for you here, with our Top Colleges Tool.

1

University of Memphis

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,125
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
35%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

It is more or less a given that an accredited online college wants its students to succeed. Few online colleges go quite so far to help their students achieve their goals, however, as the University of Memphis. Through their online platform, UofM Global, the university offers students dozens of program options from undergraduate to graduate: accounting, real estate, public relations, English, African and African American studies and more.

However, it is all the resources UofM makes available to its students that really stand out. The university goes out of its way to encourage returning students in their education: adult learners can use the SmartStart initiative to assess and improve their comfort level with online learning, while students who used to attend UofM but never finished might be able to benefit from the school's Finish Line Program. On top of this, students can earn credit for work experience and prior skills by taking a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), helping working professionals to get their online degree program off to a strong start.

2

East Tennessee State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,341
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23
School Type
4-year
East Tennessee State University's online learning platform, ETSU Online, offers online degree and certificate programs for students within and outside the state. Subjects range from dental hygiene, radiologic science, and nursing to educational leadership, human services, and archival studies. However, the options don't end there. If students are able to attend ETSU campus part-time, they can partake of ETSU's many "Mostly Online" hybrid programs, almost doubling their program options with choices such as economics, early childhood development and reading.

Perhaps the most arresting aspect of ETSU, however, are their three "ETSU OpenBUCS" courses. These courses — Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Music and U.S. History since 1877 — are open to anyone, anywhere… and there is no cost for the coursework, nor any textbooks to purchase. This is the ideal way to try out online learning before plunging into an online program: at no charge!

3

Johnson University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,950
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
4-year

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, Johnson University was founded in 1893. Initially it was known as the School of Evangelists, and later as Johnson Bible College, until it settled on the title of Johnson University. Whether online or on-campus, Johnson University degree programs combine study of the arts and sciences with biblical instruction and affirmation.

The university's online programs tackle degree levels from associate all the way up to doctoral, with a number of graduate and undergraduate certificate programs supplementing students' options. Many of the areas of study available at Johnson are religious in subject, such as ministry leadership or Christian ministries, but some are not, such as intercultural studies or nonprofit administration. Johnson also features "partnership programs" -- one with Forge and one with Pioneer Bible Translators -- to offer special programs and concentrations relevant to these organizations.

4

Austin Peay State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,689
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19
School Type
4-year

At Austin Peay (pronounced like the letter "P") State University, you can cheer on the Governors, aptly named because Peay himself was once governor of Tennessee. APSU offers a multitude of online associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in fields from communication arts to nursing, so that students may govern their studies from near or far.

Distance learners at APSU benefit from online resources such as peer tutoring, career services, library resources, a military student center and the ability to email or meet with their advisors as often as needed. APSU also provides specific transfer equivalency information for many schools in- and out-of-state so students can find out how many credits they should expect to transfer.

Accreditation:

  • Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Location:

601 College Street, Clarksville,
TN 37044
 
5

Tennessee Technological University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,203
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
58%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
5
School Type
4-year

Tennessee Technological University believes that education doesn't need to be confined to a classroom. The university encourages its students to learn by engaging with the intellectual community of Tennessee Tech and its home of Cookeville: connecting with faculty, attending concerts, volunteering their aid, and more. For a school that already does so much to take education outside the norm, it's no surprise to learn that Tennessee Tech also has an interest in online education -- and taking that to the next level as well.

While Tennessee Tech's list of online programs is small, its distance learning extends beyond its degree programs. The university features a long list of Lifelong Learning courses through ed2go, in six-week formats that start monthly. There are also Self-Paced Courses and Career Training Programs (CTP), similarly available through ed2go. While these courses are non-credit and don't count towards completion of a degree program, they can be excellent for helping students to build skills and plan their career paths with the help of instructors, counselors and working professionals.

6

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$12,724
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
20
School Type
4-year

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville was founded in 1794, and was in fact the first public university to be chartered west of the Appalachian Divide. A goal-oriented university, UT Knoxville's vision focuses on three parts -- value creation, original ideas, and leadership -- and strong online education is just one of the ways they are facilitating their presence and reputation.

UT Knoxville offers students an online RN-to-BSN nursing degree program and an interesting spread of online graduate degree programs. Available master's degree programs at UT Knoxville include mathematics, information sciences, educational administration, social work and engineering. In fact, the university's mechanical, aerospace & biomedical engineering and industrial engineering/ engineering management programs are offered jointly with the UT Space Institute (UTSI), presenting an intriguing opportunity for students interested in those fields.

7

Bethel University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$15,764
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
97%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
15
School Type
4-year

Bethel University offers students a learning experience that is much different than its early days, when it was established in 1842. Over a century and a half later, students can benefit from the flexibility of a 100% online class format, with the option to attend one night class per week at one of the school's 10 physical campuses.

Undergraduate degree programs at Bethel University are offered in several fields, including business, criminal justice and emergency services management. Those looking to build upon a prior degree may be interested in the school's accelerated master of business administration program, which has four concentration options: academic practitioner, executive, healthcare administration and human resource management.

To support distance learners' academic and future success, this university provides an online library, an online career services center where students may browse and apply for jobs, and 24/7 support for any issues encountered in the online classroom.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

325 Cherry Ave, McKenzie,
TN 38201
 
8

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,544
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
39%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
6
School Type
4-year

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has its own definitions for online and hybrid courses. By UTC's metric, an online course is one that "replaces 80% or more of face-to-face seat time with technology enhanced instruction," and a hybrid course "replaces 30% - 79% of face-to-face seat time with technology enhanced instruction." As a result, students should confirm with the school whether a particular course or program may require campus attendance or in-person examinations.

That being said, UTC offers multiple graduate and undergraduate degree programs, some with further options for specializations or electives. A few of the options include a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, a Master of Science in engineering management, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Professional Master of Business Administration (PMBA). The university uses Blackboard as its online learning platform of choice, and it also offers multiple avenues of assistance for online learners, including advising, library access and technical support.

9

King University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$27,276
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
55%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
14
School Type
4-year

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated Christian school that was founded in 1867, on 135 panoramic acres of land in Bristol, Tennessee. Bristol, Tennessee is one half of the Bristol community -- as the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, separated by State Street -- and is officially recognized as the Birthplace of Country Music.

In addition to online bachelor's and master's degree programs in subjects such as business administration, health care administration, history and psychology, King University has many perks for its online students. Online programs at King University enroll year-round with multiple starts per year, allowing students to start school at a time that is convenient for them. Furthermore, King University accepts up to 76 approved credits for bachelor's degree programs and features reverse articulation agreements with several community colleges, helping students to complete degree requirements at King while still earning credit at their community college.

10

Carson-Newman University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$26,360
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

With a student body that hails from more than 25 countries and most states, Carson-Newman University appears to be committed to providing accessible education worldwide. The school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in the fields of education, business administration, social entrepreneurship and nursing.

On top of the school's own online resources, they have also partnered with several companies so that their students can access word processing software, educational tutorials and online tutoring at no additional cost. For students hoping to transfer to Carson-Newman University, the school has established transfer pathways in several programs to make it easier for students who have already completed an associate degree from a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

1646 S Russell Ave, Jefferson City,
TN 37760
 

Affordable Online Colleges in Tennessee for 2018-19

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.

  • School Type - 2 Years
  • School Type - 4 Years
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    DISTANCE EDUCATION PARTICIPATION
    Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL TYPE
    Nashville State Community College$3,96932%12-year
    Columbia State Community College$4,01540%42-year
    Walters State Community College$4,03244%62-year
    Volunteer State Community College$4,03739%102-year
    Cleveland State Community College$4,04326%32-year
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    DISTANCE EDUCATION PARTICIPATION
    Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL TYPE
    Huntington College of Health Sciences$6,155100%44-year
    Tennessee State University$7,25620%114-year
    Austin Peay State University$7,68948%194-year
    Tennessee Technological University$8,20358%54-year
    East Tennessee State University$8,34141%234-year

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)

The SACSCOC accredits colleges and universities in 11 southern states and Latin America. If students have concerns about accreditation for their college or university, they can check with the Department of Education to see how their school is accredited.

School Interviews

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.

Heather N. Laurendeau
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.

Heather N. Laurendeau

Director of Marketing for Online Programs

East Tennessee State University

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 Resources in Tennessee

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.

Tennessee Gift Aid: Grants & Scholarships

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 some of the state-funded grants and scholarships in Tennessee that students may want to consider:

1.Tennessee Student Assistance Award
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Tennessee resident and United States citizen who is an undergraduate student pursuing their first degree and who is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible Tennessee post-secondary institution. Financial need is determined by FAFSA.
Award Amount
$4,644
Application Deadline
March 1
Renewable
Recipient must maintain institutional satisfactory progress at least half-time enrollment.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Ned McWherter Scholars
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a United States citizen who is a Tennessee resident entering as a freshman student at an eligible Tennessee post-secondary institution as a full-time student. Applicant must have a minimum composite ACT score of 29 (combined SAT Reasoning score of 1280) on a national test date with a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA.Extra credit for honors or advanced placement courses and leadership in extracurricular activities. Award is highly competitive.
Award Amount
$6,000
Application Deadline
February 15
Renewable
Recipient must maintain a 3.2 GPA and full-time enrollment.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Dependent Children Scholarship
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Tennessee resident and United States citizen who is the dependent child of a law enforcement officer, fireman, or emergency medical technical who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty while employed in Tennessee. Applicant must be enrolled full-time as an undergraduate student at an eligible Tennessee postsecondary institution. Financial need as determined by FAFSA.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
July 15
Renewable
Recipient must maintain institutional satisfactory progress and full-time enrollment.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
4.Tennessee Academic Scholars
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and standardized test scores in at least the 95th percentile nationally and be a Tennessee resident.
Award Amount
$5,000
Application Deadline
January 15
Renewable
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL

For more on grants, check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants. Our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships can cover your scholarship questions.

Tennessee Loans

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
This program provides assistance for public school teachers seeking an advanced degree in math and science. Recipients must be employed for two years at a Tennessee public school for every year of loan funding.

  • Application deadline:  September 1st (for fall semester)
  • Award amount:  Maximum $10,000
Registered nurses living in Tennessee who are considering becoming teachers and administrators in nursing education programs should consider applying for loan forgiveness. Applicants must already be enrolled in a master's or post-master's degree program in nursing education, and they must commit to four years of teaching at a college or university in Tennessee. If this requirement is not met, the loan must be paid back in full.

  • Application deadline:  March 1st
  • Award amount:  Depends on loan amount

Get more information on student loans by reading our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

 
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