What You Need to Know About Tennessee Colleges

Tennessee College Graduation rates

Where to Start Looking for Tennessee Colleges

Families interested in searching for Tennessee colleges should start with CollegeForTn.org sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. It includes self-assessment tools, timelines, a basic college search, financial aid information, and a portfolio option. Students can use the system to apply to a college or just practice a college application. They can also request a transcript through the system and have their portfolio sent to selected colleges.

For more detailed financial information, families need to visit the Tennessee Student Assistance corporation’s Money for College page. The site provides a general overview of financial aid as well as information on the Dual Enrollment Grant the Tennessee Education Lottery HOPE Scholarship. You can also download a worksheet to help budget for the costs of college.

If you’re looking for in-person help with your financial aid application, College Goal Tennessee provides information on College Goal Sunday Events. These are Sundays in January and February where families can get professional assistance filling out the FAFSA form.

Some Numbers to Help You Find Tennessee Colleges

There are 34 four-year Tennessee colleges with 500 or more full-time undergraduates according to the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System. Approximately 40 percent of students attend one of the 27 private colleges while 60 percent of students attend one of the 7 state institutions.

The private colleges have an average four-year graduation rate of 39.5% and the public universities have an average five-year graduation rate of 37.6%. Seven schools meet the DIY College Rankings 50-50 profile requirements.

In Tennessee, the average Composite ACT score was 19.8. The English scores was 19.5 and the Math score was 19.3. The 75th% Composite score was 23, English was 24, and Math was 23. A total of 29 Tennessee colleges ACT 75th% Composite scores were at or above this level.

The top 20 colleges ACT test takers applied to:

  • University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • University of Memphis
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Austin Peay State University
  • University of Tennessee-Martin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Carson-Newman College
  • Belmont University
  • Chattanooga St Comm Coll
  • Southwest Tennessee Community College
  • Pellissippi State Technical Comm Coll
  • Volunteer State Community College
  • Walters State Community College
  • Motlow State Community College
  • Lipscomb University
  • Roane State Community College

Tennessee Colleges Conferences and Divisions

Tennessee Colleges athletic conferences

List of Tennessee Colleges

In the following table, the four-year graduation rate is used for private colleges and the five-year rate for public colleges. The data are based on the data available from IPEDS in September of 2015 which are available on the DIY College Search spreadsheet.

Tennessee Colleges with Graduation Rates and Test Scores
(Download PDF version)

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