Online Colleges in Tennessee
More than just Bluegrass and barbecue, Tennessee is making a name for itself in higher education.
Governor Haslam’s initiative “Drive to 55” challenges the state to increase the number of Tennesseans with an associates or bachelor’s degree to 55% by 2025. The goal is to expand college access and prepare students for the workforce, thereby improving economic development state-wide.
The state’s dedication to education is also evident in its excellent catalog of colleges, outstanding online learning opportunities and generous financial aid packages.
Overview of Higher Education in Tennessee
Tennessee is home to 105 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 23 are public schools, 48 are non-profit private schools and 34 are for-profit private schools.
Tuition in the state is right in line with the national average, according to a 2016-2017 report by Collegeboard.org. In-state residents can expect to pay around $9520 to attend one of the 4-year public institutions. Out-of-state students will pay closer to $25,520.
Tennesseans who are unable to find their degree at an in-state institution, may benefit from a reciprocity agreement through the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). The SREB is a 15-state collaboration aimed at improving higher education. Through the SREB, residents of participating states may pursue degrees at schools in other participating states while paying in-state tuition.
About Online Colleges in Tennessee
A 2012 report by the NCES stated that 6.1% of college students in Tennessee were enrolled exclusively in online courses. An additional 16.8% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.
These numbers have risen as schools have increased their online offerings.
Today, University of Memphis offers 60 undergraduate degree programs taught fully online, in areas such as business, health, humanities and social science. Graduate degree and certificate programs are also available online. At King University, a Presbyterian-affiliated private university, students can consider an Associate of Arts, 11 bachelor’s programs and 3 graduate programs, all online.
Even small schools have online learning opportunities. Welch College, a private school that enrolls only about 367 students per year, offers 4 undergraduate degree programs online.
One of the best resources for online learning in Tennessee is TN eCampus, an easy-to-use portal that provides a comprehensive look at online programs offered by 40 institutions across the state. In all, potential students can research and consider more than 500 online degree program and certification options and 400+ online courses!
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Tennessee
If you are interested in earning a college degree in Tennesee, you will first need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will provide access to federal, state and private financial aid.
Since most financial aid is awarded on a first come, first served basis, it’s important to fill it out as soon as possible. You can access the FAFSA starting on October 1st.
Filling out the FAFSA is simple. You will need to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you are considered “independent”). Your answers will be used to determine how much and what type of financial assistance you are offered.
The ideal forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships, because these do not have to be repaid.
The state of Tennessee offers a number of grant and scholarship programs to help make college more affordable. Here are just a few examples:
- Tennessee Student Assistance Award – For students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $2100 or less; Must maintain satisfactory academic progress; $1000-4000 depending on school
- Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant – For students enrolled at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology who maintain satisfactory academic progress; $2000
- Tennessee HOPE Access Grant – For entering freshmen with a GPA of 2.75 or higher and an ACT score of 18-20 or an SAT score of 940-1050; Parents’ or independent student’s and spouse’s adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less; Up to $875 at a 2-year institution, $1375 at a 4-year institution
- Tenessee HOPE Scholarship – For entering freshmen with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an ACT score of 21 or higher or an SAT score of 1060 or higher; Up to $1500 at a 2-year institution, $2250 at a 4-year institution
- Tennessee Promise Scholarship – For high school seniors who plan to attend community or technical college; Must attend mentoring sessions and perform community service; Amount varies but is intended to cover balance after all other aid is applied
- Ned McWherter Scholars Program – For high school seniors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an ACT score of 29 or higher; $6000 per year
You can also find assistance programs to help if you have been in the foster care system, in the military, if you plan to pursue teaching or nursing, and for many other circumstances, by clicking here.
Students can also search for private scholarships, which may be awarded based on need, merit, intended major or other unique factors. Here are a few examples:
|Jack Diller Education Award||High school senior from Nashville or Middle Tennessee; Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher; Must demonstrate value of education, worth ethic and community outreach; Must be nominated||
|MaryEllen Locher Scholarship||High school senior whose parent has/had breast cancer (survivor, in treatment, or deceased); Must live within 50 miles of Chattanooga; Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher||
|Constance Butler Goforth Education Fund||High school senior planning to attend a non-profit school; Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher; Must have volunteer or work experience||
|James A. Hyter Vocal Music Scholarship||For students planning to pursue a major in vocal studies; Must reside or attend college in the Memphis area; Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher||
|Ruby Holmes Hefley Scholarship||For students whose parent or legal guardian is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher||
More scholarships can be found using search sites such as Fastweb.com, where you can enter information about yourself and be matched with scholarship opportunities.
Finally, be sure to check with the financial aid office at the institution you have chosen. Many schools offer exclusive financial aid programs, and they can help you determine what you may qualify for and how to apply.
List of Online Colleges in Tennessee
|Online Colleges in Tennessee||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|King University||Bristol, Tennessee||$27,276||Regional||$50|
|University of Tennessee – Chattanooga||Chattanooga, Tennessee||$8,544||Regional||$30|
|Tennessee Tech University||Cookeville, Tennessee||$8,203||Regional||$25|
|Union University||Jackson, Tennessee||$30,330||Regional||$35|
|East Tennessee State University||Johnson City, Tennessee||$8,341||Regional||$0|
|University of Tennessee – Knoxville||Knoxville, Tennessee||$12,724||Regional||$50|
|University of Tennessee – Martin||Martin, Tennessee||$9,088||Regional||$30|
|University of Memphis||Memphis, Tennessee||$9,125||Regional||$25|
|Trevecca Nazarene University||Nashville, Tennessee||$24,624||Regional||$25|
|Austin Peay State University||Clarksville, Tennessee||$7,689||Regional||$25|
Tennessee is a state that values postsecondary education, and it shows.
With more than a hundred well-respected colleges and universities, plenty of online programs, and more financial aid programs than many other states, it’s a great idea to get your degree in Tennesee!