Tennessee Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in Tennessee

Tennessee leads the way in online distance learning opportunities. From degrees to certifications, all can be earned from fully online degree programs in Tennessee. Often these degrees are considered equivalent to those granted to on-campus students. With more flexibility than on-site education, online programs still carry similar benefits, such as comparable tuition assistance and identical curriculum. For potential students seeking four-year Tennessee online colleges, we compiled a comprehensive list. These are the premiere online schools in Tennessee, listed in order from lowest tuition to highest. Search here for the best online program that meets your needs in Tennessee.

Click here to see our methodology.

Tennessee State University

3500 John A. Merritt Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37209-1561

Tennessee State University has eighteen fully online degree programs for its undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. Distance learning options focus on professional studies, with concentrations in leadership, nursing, teaching, and more. A number of professional licensure programs are available, as well, making TSU one of the up-and-coming online colleges in Tennessee.


Austin Peay State University

601 College St, Clarksville, Tennessee 37044

Austin Peay State University allows students to earn a degree online through the Austin Peay Online program or the Regents Online Degree Programs. By combining both systems, there are plenty of degree programs that a student can take advantage of through these online colleges in Tennessee. Students can work toward an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree at Austin Peay or the RODP.


Tennessee Technological University

1 William L. Jones Drive, Cookeville, Tennessee 38505-0001

Not only does Tennessee Tech University offer an impressive list of undergraduate and graduate degrees online, they also have many other online programs designed to further a student’s education. This variety makes Tennessee Tech a clear choice for consideration out of all the online colleges in Tennessee.


East Tennessee State University

807 University Pky, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614-0000

East Tennessee University offers students the opportunity to earn a graduate degree without having to commit their time to come to campus, so it’s an awesome choice when looking into online colleges in Tennessee. The onsite teachers are the same ones who teach class online so that the virtual ETU experience is as close to the real one as possible.


The University of Tennessee-Martin

University Street, Martin, Tennessee 38238-0002

University of Tennessee Martin (UTM) offers online and distance learning education programs designed to fit your needs, at an affordable price. From undergraduate programs in Business Administration, Nursing, and Agriculture, to online graduate studies Banking / Financial Services, Education, and Consumer Science, UTM has online programs for almost every prospective student. Additional programs include Paralegal Studies, Teaching and Educational Leadership.


Middle Tennessee State University

1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37132

Middle Tennessee State allows you to create a graduate degree schedule that works around your life so that you can be as prepared for success as possible when furthering your education. The school offers a variety of online, hybrid and off-campus options for distance students, making it one of the more flexible online colleges in Tennessee.


The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

615 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403-2598

With plenty of resources to help out distance students and an already-stellar reputation, it’s no wonder that the University of Tennessee is considered by many to be one of the better online colleges in Tennessee. A multitude of both graduate and undergraduate degrees can be obtained through UT’s online school, so it’s definitely worth a look.


University of Memphis

Southern Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38152

The University of Memphis boasts an impressive list of online degree programs, making it one of the biggest online colleges in Tennessee. Degrees are offered through UM’s schools of nursing, business, engineering, education and more. While many schools typically offer similar degrees through their online programs, UM gives student’s access to more unique programs.


The University of Tennessee

527 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996

With plenty of resources to help out distance students and an already-stellar reputation, it’s no wonder that the University of Tennessee is considered by many to be one of the better online colleges in Tennessee. A multitude of both graduate and undergraduate degrees can be obtained through UT’s online school, so it’s definitely worth a look.

American Baptist College - Online

American Baptist College

1800 Baptist World Ctr Dr, Nashville, Tennessee 37207-9980

An online college in Tennessee, American Baptist College was founded in 1924 and offers a variety of online degrees and courses including the following; Associate of Arts, General Studies Degree courses, Bachelor of Arts, Human Services Degree courses, Old Testament Prophets, The Epistles of Paul, Contemporary Health Issues, Liberation Ethics, African American Spirituality, Introduction to Theology, Development of Western Culture, Baptist History and Old Testament. The mission statement of the American Baptist College is as follows “Educating, graduating and preparing a predominantly African American student population for Christian leadership, service and social justice in the world.”

Johnson University - Online

Johnson University

7900 Johnson Dr, Knoxville, Tennessee 37998

With over 50 years of offering distant learning, Johnson University provides a quality Christian education. An online college in Tennessee, Johnson University offers the following online courses; Biblical Studies, Intercultural Studies, Ministry Leadership, MA New Testament, MA Intercultural Studies Program, Undergraduate Distant Learning and Ph.D. Leadership Studies. This college offers advising, financial aid, career planning, health services, on-campus church and much more.


Tennessee Temple University

1815 Union Ave, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404

Tennessee Temple University is one of the handful of private, not-for-profit online colleges in Tennessee. There are many programs available at the school which focus on theology, business, and more. Whether a student is looking to continue their education or just get started, TTU is a great place to be.


Lee University

1120 N Ocoee St, Cleveland, Tennessee 37311

Students looking for Christian online colleges in Tennessee will be interested in the great programs offered by Lee University. Their school of theology offers a variety of degrees based on Christian ministry and leadership, and a single master’s in ministry studies is offered, as well.


Bethel University

325 Cherry Ave, McKenzie, Tennessee 38201

Bethel University in St. Paul offers an online college choice in Minnesota, through their InMinistry Distance Learning Program, for those in the ministry that are seeking online work to attain their degree. Online courses are offered as a part of the curriculum for many master’s and doctoral programs the university offers.


Southern Adventist University

4881 Taylor Cir, Collegedale, Tennessee 37315-0370

Southern Adventist University is a private non-for-profit school that offers four different graduate degree programs for students to obtain master’s degrees in global community development, education & psychology, business & management and nursing. Courses are offered all year round, so this is one of the online colleges in Tennessee that prospective students should definitely be interested in.


Bryan College-Dayton

721 Bryan Drive, Dayton, Tennessee 37321-7000

Bryan College has been offering accredited online degree programs since the early nineties and now features five bachelor’s degree options. The classes are held in a 100% online environment so that students can work from home. The school is Christ-focused and provides a great education as one of the many private online colleges in Tennessee.


Cumberland University

1 Cumberland Square, Lebanon, Tennessee 37087

The 100% virtual campus at Cumberland University allows students to study in one of four fields from the comfort of their own home or at the local coffee shop. These programs are designed to help students further themselves in life and can be a big help for those interested in online colleges in Tennessee.


Freed-Hardeman University

158 E Main St, Henderson, Tennessee 38340-2399

At the Freed-Hardeman University, big investments have been made in the online department, as the faculty and staff understand the necessity and importance of online colleges in Tennessee. These courses can help a dedicated student become successful in the world after college, so FHU is definitely a school worth looking into.


Tennessee Wesleyan College

204 East College Street, Athens, Tennessee 37303

Tennessee Wesleyan College has a number of programs available for students to study from the comfort of their own homes. They understand the importance of working adults that need to continue their education but don’t have the ability to come to campus, which is why they are one of the great online colleges in Tennessee.


Trevecca Nazarene University

333 Murfreesboro Rd, Nashville, Tennessee 37210

Trevecca Nazarene University offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four different fields, allowing students to further their academic and professional careers at a pace which doesn’t require them to have to come into a physical classroom. The private education that students receive at TNU is top-notch, making it one of the great online colleges in Tennessee.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

We are committed to taking a learner-centric approach to online learning. We understand that this is not about the technology. It’s all about our learners. We continually evaluate our programs for ways that we might improve the learning experience. We seek to support the unique learning styles and personality preferences of each learner. Our faculty are closely engaged with the courses and our advisors are in frequent contact with each learner. This level of support and commitment is a huge value to learners progressing through our programs.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Our students often tell us how pleased they are with the level of support they receive from our faculty and staff. Clearly the learning and the skill development in our courses are the ultimate outcomes. We pride ourselves on those things. However, if a learner cannot get to the support they need or cannot find the resources they need, then they will never achieve their learning goals. Our level of student care sets us above many of the other programs in our market today.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Trevecca Nazarene University is committed to becoming a leader in online education in Middle Tennessee over the next five years. Our president and board are firmly behind this goal and we are bringing in the best talent to make this happen. Our faculty are very creative in their classroom innovations. This creates a fantastic experience for our learners. As we move forward, our goal is to maximize the potential of the technology while simultaneously allowing it to recede into the background. We do not want the technology to be the centerpiece. The center belongs always to our valued learners.


Carson-Newman College

1646 S Russell Ave, Jefferson City, Tennessee 37760

Carson-Newman University offers a staggering number of courses to students seeking to enroll in one of the many online colleges in Tennessee. There are also plenty of resources available to prospective students looking to start taking online courses, as the school wants students to make the most out of their online education.


Lipscomb University

One University Park Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37204-3951

Lipscomb University offers an Adult Degree Program that is tailored specifically for students who don’t have the time to show up to a physical classroom every day. There are a multitude of bachelor’s degrees available that students can work toward from home, ranging from psychology to education. Lipscomb is truly one of the more varied online colleges in Tennessee.


King College

1350 King College Rd, Bristol, Tennessee 37620-2699

The King University Online program has plenty of degree options for students looking for a bachelor’s, and there are also two master’s programs and one associate degree available. As one of the bigger online colleges in Tennessee, King allows students can take advantage of a number of different career paths.


Union University

1050 Union University Dr, Jackson, Tennessee 38305-3697

Union University is a Christian college offering a number of online graduate programs in business, education, ministry and nursing. Union Online is easy to use and is perfect for students looking to further their education through one of the great online colleges in Tennessee.


Belmont University

1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37212-3757

The program at Belmont is mostly online, but there are some courses that a student must take at the physical campus. Still, this is one of the great online colleges in Tennessee for students looking to obtain a bachelors in nursing, as the school is primarily focused on nursing and therefore able to dedicate more time and energy to a quality education.


Milligan College

1 Blowers Blvd., Milligan College, Tennessee 37682

One great thing about Milligan College is that it provides students with plenty of opportunities for success in the online classroom. There are a staggering number of classes offered that students can take advantage of, and as with the other online colleges in Tennessee, Milligan allows students to take these classes all from home.


Christian Brothers University

650 East Parkway South, Memphis, Tennessee 38104

In addition to an impressive number of graduate and undergraduate degrees, Christian Brothers University also offers a number of certificates, all of which can be applied toward career advancements in the future. As one of the many private, not-for-profit online colleges in Tennessee, CBU strives to provide a quality education to each of its individual students.


Rhodes College

2000 North Parkway, Memphis, Tennessee 38112-1690

With an impressive 75 associate degrees, majors and certificates available, students looking at online colleges in Tennessee can get exactly what they’re looking for at Rhodes State College. There is plenty of room for growth through these programs, and the college ensures that students are well taken care of through all of it.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in Tennessee

Tennessee has a long and rich history, and they happen to have quite a few traditional colleges and universities. From Memphis to Nashville, the importance of a good education does not go unnoticed. The residents of the state know full and well just how important it is to go to school and get a degree. In fact, 83.1% of those in the state have a high school diploma, and 23% have at least a bachelor’s degree. Another 7.9% have an advanced degree or higher. Knowing that you need to have a good education in order to get a good job is one thing. Finding the right school is another. While traditional schools might be right for some students, affordable online schools in Tennessee could be a better option for you.

Pursuing a Degree in Tennessee

Even though Tennessee might not be one of the larger states in the union in terms of land mass, they do have quite a robust population, and that means they have a number of colleges. Tennessee has some rather famous colleges and traditional universities that could be a good choice for some students. However, others may find it more advantageous to look at the benefits of affordable Tennessee online colleges instead. When it comes to the traditional schools, Tennessee is able to offer 64 two-year or more schools, and 71 four-year or more schools. The online schools are bountiful as well, and you will find they can help you to earn your associate’s all the way through a master’s degree and a doctorate.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in Tennessee

When you have a number of different options for schooling, what is it that will make you want to choose affordable online schools in Tennessee? First, you can be sure that you are getting a good education today by checking accreditation and reputation. Online schools have more sway than they did in the past. In addition. The online schools are simply very convenient. Going to school online means that you can take your courses when you have the time, freeing you up for your job and your home life. Students who choose online courses will also be able to take many different types of classes and degree programs as well. They can get a degree in business, computer science, engineering, art and many other subjects.

Saving Money with Online Education

Another one of the big reasons that so many people are choosing online schooling is the cost. When you look at the average cost of going to school in the state and compare it with most online schools, you will see a difference. The average cost of a two-year public school in the state of Tennessee is $3,690, while the cost of a four-year public school is $7,676. Private schools are even more expensive, and the numbers here do not include the cost of living. For many students, choosing to go to the affordable online programs in Tennessee is simply going to be a better option when it comes to the cost.

Of course, you need to make sure that you are working with the best quality schools, and that means research. Always look into what your school is able to offer, and make sure that they have accreditation. You want a school that has a good reputation and that will be able to provide you with the degree that you truly need to get a step up in life. You deserve the opportunity to get a better job and to earn your degree. Online classes are now making that a possibility for everyone.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Tennessee
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Tennessee

To help students and families locate colleges with clear return on investment, we’ve identified the Tennessee schools with a solid combination of low cost and lifetime earnings after graduation. We determined ROI based on wage findings from PayScale.com's 2013 College Earnings Report. Other cost and classification data came from respected sources of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the Carnegie Foundation. These colleges are worth a look:

Click here to see our methodology.
Tennessee Colleges Analyzed: 185
Tennessee Colleges Ranked: 23
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 Christian Brothers University Memphis $883,300 $27,290 Private not-for-profit
2 Vanderbilt University Nashville $861,200 $42,118 Private not-for-profit
3 Tennessee Technological University (TTU) Cookeville $683,400 $6,692 Public (In-State)
4 University of Tennessee Knoxville $595,800 $9,092 Public (In-State)
5 Southern Adventist University Collegedale $573,100 $19,124 Private not-for-profit
6 Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville $509,000 $21,290 Private not-for-profit Trevecca Nazarene University
7 University of Memphis (U of M) Memphis $495,500 $7,904 Public (In-State)
8 Lipscomb University Nashville $474,800 $24,754 Private not-for-profit
9 King College - Bristol, TN Bristol $389,700 $24,960 Private not-for-profit
10 Tennessee State University Nashville $330,400 $6,426 Public (In-State)
11 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) Chattanooga $324,100 $7,212 Public (In-State)
12 Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Murfreesboro $293,900 $7,210 Public (In-State)
13 Belmont University Nashville $293,600 $26,130 Private not-for-profit
14 East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Johnson City $264,900 $6,715 Public (In-State) East Tennessee State University
15 Rhodes College Memphis $256,400 $38,092 Private not-for-profit
16 Austin Peay State University Clarksville $247,900 $6,648 Public (In-State)
17 Lee University - Cleveland, TN Cleveland $237,500 $13,370 Private not-for-profit
18 Union University - Jackson, TN Jackson $224,500 $25,650 Private not-for-profit
19 The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin) Martin $222,800 $7,049 Public (In-State)
20 Tusculum College Greeneville $221,300 $21,620 Private not-for-profit Tusculum College
21 Carson Newman College Jefferson City $151,300 $22,652 Private not-for-profit
22 Tennessee Wesleyan College Athens $150,600 $21,200 Private not-for-profit
23 Cumberland University Lebanon $102,200 $20,200 Private not-for-profit