Best colleges in Tennessee

Written by:
March 6, 2023
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Best colleges in Tennessee

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions a person will make for their education, impacting everything from future earnings and employment to potential student loan debt and social circles.

While every student wants to get the best education they possibly can, there are myriad considerations to take into account: location, size, diversity, areas of focus, study abroad opportunities—the list goes on. While best college lists are often topped with the same handful of expensive Ivy League schools, the U.S. is home to more than 4,000 degree-granting schools spread out across all 50 states and several territories, with amazing education offerings for students to consider.

Stacker compiled a list of the best four-year colleges in Tennessee using rankings from Niche. Tuition, student-to-faculty ratio, acceptance rate, and graduation rate are factors considered in deciding these rankings. Location is also often a key factor in a school's appeal, whether it be a beachside location, one full of New England foliage, or proximity to tech hubs and companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Online and unspecified location schools were excluded from the rankings. Keep reading to see the best schools in your state.

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#25. Carson-Newman University

- Acceptance rate: 79%
- Net price: $19,172
- Enrollment: 1,592 (11:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B-
--- Safety grade: A
--- Diversity grade: A-
--- Athletics grade: B+

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#24. Freed-Hardeman University

- Acceptance rate: 81%
- Net price: $17,350
- Enrollment: 1,312 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B-
--- Safety grade: A
--- Dorms grade: A-
--- Value grade: B+

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#23. Tennessee Wesleyan University

- Acceptance rate: 61%
- Net price: $13,183
- Enrollment: 948 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B-
--- Value grade: A-
--- Diversity grade: A-
--- Safety grade: B+

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#22. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Net price: $14,888
- Enrollment: 8,958 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B-
--- Campus grade: A-
--- Location grade: A-
--- Diversity grade: B+

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#21. Middle Tennessee State University

- Acceptance rate: 94%
- Net price: $12,265
- Enrollment: 15,520 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B-
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Athletics grade: A-
--- Campus food grade: A-

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#20. Southern Adventist University

- Acceptance rate: 74%
- Net price: $24,491
- Enrollment: 2,103 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Campus grade: B+
--- Dorms grade: B+

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#19. Belmont University

- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Net price: $34,368
- Enrollment: 6,330 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Campus grade: A
--- Location grade: A
--- Dorms grade: A

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#18. Lee University

- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Net price: $17,629
- Enrollment: 3,459 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Campus grade: A
--- Dorms grade: A
--- Safety grade: A-

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#17. Maryville College

- Acceptance rate: 62%
- Net price: $19,548
- Enrollment: 985 (11:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Diversity grade: A-
--- Safety grade: A-
--- Campus grade: B+

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#16. King University - Tennessee

- Acceptance rate: 60%
- Net price: $22,020
- Enrollment: 1,252 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Value grade: B+
--- Diversity grade: B+
--- Academics grade: B

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#15. Trevecca Nazarene University

- Acceptance rate: 63%
- Net price: $16,508
- Enrollment: 1,679 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Value grade: B+
--- Safety grade: B+

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#14. Christian Brothers University

- Acceptance rate: 50%
- Net price: $17,830
- Enrollment: 1,311 (9:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Value grade: A-
--- Academics grade: B

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#13. Tennessee Technological University

- Acceptance rate: 80%
- Net price: $16,618
- Enrollment: 7,834 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Campus food grade: A-
--- Value grade: B+
--- Athletics grade: B+

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#12. Lincoln Memorial University

- Acceptance rate: 69%
- Net price: $22,251
- Enrollment: 1,305 (4:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Dorms grade: A+
--- Diversity grade: A-
--- Professors grade: A-

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#11. University of Tennessee at Martin

- Acceptance rate: 65%
- Net price: $11,895
- Enrollment: 4,668 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Campus grade: A
--- Dorms grade: A
--- Student life grade: A

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#10. East Tennessee State University

- Acceptance rate: 78%
- Net price: $13,661
- Enrollment: 8,812 (11:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B
--- Campus grade: A-
--- Athletics grade: A-
--- Student life grade: A-

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#9. University of Memphis

- Acceptance rate: 85%
- Net price: $13,777
- Enrollment: 12,063 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B+
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Athletics grade: A
--- Campus food grade: A

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#8. Milligan University

- Acceptance rate: 99%
- Net price: $21,003
- Enrollment: 786 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B+
--- Safety grade: A
--- Value grade: A-
--- Diversity grade: A-

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#7. Sewanee - The University of the South

- Acceptance rate: 56%
- Net price: $36,244
- Enrollment: 1,689 (9:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: B+
--- Academics grade: A
--- Professors grade: A
--- Value grade: A-

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#6. University of Tennessee

- Acceptance rate: 78%
- Net price: $21,133
- Enrollment: 22,914 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A-
--- Athletics grade: A+
--- Party grade: A+
--- Professors grade: A

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#5. Union University

- Acceptance rate: 58%
- Net price: $26,906
- Enrollment: 1,711 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A-
--- Dorms grade: A+
--- Campus grade: A
--- Value grade: A-

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#4. Lipscomb University

- Acceptance rate: 62%
- Net price: $26,421
- Enrollment: 2,798 (9:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A-
--- Location grade: A
--- Safety grade: A
--- Academics grade: A-

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#3. Johnson University

- Acceptance rate: 55%
- Net price: $18,292
- Enrollment: 631 (10:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A-
--- Campus grade: A+
--- Dorms grade: A+
--- Safety grade: A+

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#2. Rhodes College

- Acceptance rate: 51%
- Net price: $29,852
- Enrollment: 1,788 (9:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A-
--- Academics grade: A
--- Diversity grade: A
--- Professors grade: A

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#1. Vanderbilt University

- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Net price: $25,804
- Enrollment: 6,983 (5:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Overall Niche grade: A+
--- Academics grade: A+
--- Value grade: A+
--- Diversity grade: A+

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