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)

4/5 Yr
Austin Peay State UniversityPublic686630865405602410983
Belmont UniversityPrivate511756806406302930357
Bethel UniversityPrivate397111515105052217573
Bryan College-DaytonPrivate112954386006002515258
Carson-Newman UniversityPrivate165837675755802614312
Christian Brothers UniversityPrivate102131472711679
Cumberland UniversityPrivate105620475405302317147
East Tennessee State UniversityPublic972734865505502515236
Fisk UniversityPrivate58941404304401819460
Freed-Hardeman UniversityPrivate126238926005702718966
Johnson UniversityPrivate78144555605702413417
King UniversityPrivate204045645605602518108
Lane CollegePrivate153420495105301610823
Le Moyne-Owen CollegePrivate8796231711709
Lee UniversityPrivate383035926005802711773
Lincoln Memorial UniversityPrivate118514705005402714576
Lipscomb UniversityPrivate259044536506502822243
Martin Methodist CollegePrivate10164013451
Maryville CollegePrivate113247735505502615605
Middle Tennessee State UniversityPublic173813870580570249315
Milligan CollegePrivate88452685835832617371
Remington College-Memphis CampusPrivate8147023445
Rhodes CollegePrivate201474586906803127755
Sewanee-The University of the SouthPrivate160276606706503025994
Southern Adventist UniversityPrivate234819386005802520343
Tennessee State UniversityPublic5427238038
Tennessee Technological UniversityPublic914044936006502612389
Tennessee Wesleyan CollegePrivate99132715105402411349
The University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaPublic906632785905902511569
The University of Tennessee-KnoxvillePublic1979962726406502916062
The University of Tennessee-MartinPublic59274077257531
Trevecca Nazarene UniversityPrivate101636775905702616513
Tusculum CollegePrivate174118725205202317886
Union UniversityPrivate217551746806702921944
University of MemphisPublic1231834686006002512060
Vanderbilt UniversityPrivate676487137807903420551



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