2022 Top Private Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

Private colleges and universities frequently top the lists of the best schools in the U.S. These institutions offer rigorous academic programs for students looking for a personalized college experience.

Private institutions generally cost more than their public counterparts, but students often receive the benefits of smaller class sizes, strong alumni networks, and generous financial aid opportunities.

Unlike public colleges and universities, private institutions do not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition. This means students from anywhere can enroll in Tennessee’s private institutions without paying higher out-of-state rates.

2022 Best Private Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Vanderbilt University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    13,131

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $52070

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $52070

    Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Students study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Vanderbilt University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #2

    Rhodes College

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    80%

    Enrollment

    2,010

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $49198

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $49198

    From its campus in Memphis, Tennessee, Rhodes College educates college students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Rhodes College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers

    Chattanooga, TN

    Graduation Rate

    82%

    Enrollment

    503

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10690

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10690

    Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, offers 10 programs for degree-seekers. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-faculty ratio is currently unknown. The average amount of aid awarded per student is not available. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 82%. The institution understands that hands-on experience makes graduates more competitive in the job market. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #4

    Johnson University

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    1,037

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16920

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16920

    Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, Johnson University grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Johnson University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Williamson Christian College

    Franklin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    56%

    Enrollment

    60

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14350

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14350

    Located in Franklin, Tennessee, Williamson Christian College educates students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Williamson Christian College is accredited by the Association for Bibical Higher Educaiton, an independent accrediting body.

    #6

    The University of the South

    Sewanee, TN

    Graduation Rate

    79%

    Enrollment

    1,768

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $46472

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $46472

    From its Sewanee, Tennessee campus, The University of the South offers 48 program options for students. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. Information on the student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. The private institution reports a graduation rate of 79%. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements.

    #7

    Lipscomb University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    4,595

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33424

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33424

    Lipscomb University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, often ranks as one of the best schools. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. Lipscomb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #8

    Visible Music College

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    241

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $20250

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20250

    From its campus in Memphis, Tennessee, Visible Music College enrolls learners in 13 programs. The institution offers top-ranked programs that provide a rigorous course of study. Information on the average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The private institution reports a graduation rate of 43%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #9

    Union University

    Jackson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    3,172

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33750

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33750

    A private institution, Union University educates students on its campus in Jackson, Tennessee. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. These policies make it easier to enroll. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Union University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #10

    Lincoln Memorial University

    Harrogate, TN

    Graduation Rate

    55%

    Enrollment

    4,867

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22740

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22740

    Located in Harrogate, Tennessee, Lincoln Memorial University attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Students study with experts in many different fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Lincoln Memorial University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #11

    Nossi College of Art

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    309

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $17800

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17800

    From its Nashville, Tennessee campus, Nossi College of Art enrolls students in 6 programs. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. The private institution reports a 63% graduation rate. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #12

    John A Gupton College

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    164

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $11158

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11158

    John A Gupton College, located in Nashville, Tennessee, enrolls students as a private institution. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 43%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. John A Gupton College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Hussian College-Daymar College Nashville

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    181

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18400

    Hussian College-Daymar College Nashville, which offers programs from its Nashville, Tennessee campus, often ranks among the top schools. Students study with experts in many different fields. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. Hussian College-Daymar College Nashville is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #14

    DeVry University-Tennessee

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    45

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18248

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18248

    DeVry University-Tennessee, located in Nashville, Tennessee, welcomes students with 20 program options. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-instructor ratio is currently unknown. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 0%. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #15

    Trevecca Nazarene University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    56%

    Enrollment

    4,088

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $26098

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $26098

    From its campus in Nashville, Tennessee, Trevecca Nazarene University grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares learners for a career in their field. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #16

    Southern Adventist University

    Collegedale, TN

    Graduation Rate

    55%

    Enrollment

    2,834

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22520

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22520

    Located in Collegedale, Tennessee, Southern Adventist University often ranks among the best schools. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for students with a variety of professional goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    Christian Brothers University

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    1,968

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33840

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33840

    Located in Memphis, Tennessee, Christian Brothers University awards degrees and certificates as a private institution. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 61%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #18

    Belmont University

    Nashville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    8,440

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35650

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35650

    A private institution, Belmont University grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Nashville, Tennessee. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The private institution reports a 72% graduation rate. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #19

    Bryan College-Dayton

    Dayton, TN

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    1,447

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $27900

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27900

    Bryan College-Dayton ranks as a top school from its campus in Dayton, Tennessee. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help prospective students determine the next steps. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Huntington University of Health Sciences

    Knoxville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    140

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $6685

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6685

    From its campus in Tennessee, Huntington University of Health Sciences enrolls students in 6 programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. Information on the average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. There is no available data on how many students graduate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #21

    Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences

    Memphis, TN

    Graduation Rate

    56%

    Enrollment

    989

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12332

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12332

    A private institution in Memphis, Tennessee, Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 56%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #22

    Welch College

    Gallatin, TN

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    426

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19582

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19582

    From its campus in Gallatin, Tennessee, Welch College enrolls students as a private institution. The school's academic and technical programs help learners reach a variety of professional goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school often fund their education with federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Welch College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    Freed-Hardeman University

    Henderson, TN

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    2,117

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22950

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22950

    Freed-Hardeman University, which offers programs from its Henderson, Tennessee campus, often ranks among the top schools. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Visit the program's website to find information on the typical timeline for completion. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #24

    Hussian College-Daymar College Murfreesboro

    Murfreesboro, TN

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    205

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19000

    From its campus in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Hussian College-Daymar College Murfreesboro offers programs as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. Students complete coursework to prepare them for advanced roles. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Hussian College-Daymar College Murfreesboro holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #25

    Lee University

    Cleveland, TN

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    5,189

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18770

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18770

    A private institution in Cleveland, Tennessee, Lee University offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The private school reports a 60% graduation rate. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. Lee University has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #26

    King University

    Bristol, TN

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    1,968

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $30616

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30616

    Located in Bristol, Tennessee, King University enrolls students as a private institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution charges an average per-credit fee of 530. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The private school reports a 59% graduation rate. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #27

    Maryville College

    Maryville, TN

    Graduation Rate

    51%

    Enrollment

    1,143

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35578

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35578

    From its campus in Maryville, Tennessee, Maryville College educates students as a private institution. Students can earn a degree or certificate that prepares them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Maryville College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #28

    Milligan University

    Milligan, TN

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    1,310

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $34650

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $34650

    Located in Milligan, Tennessee, Milligan University grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. Milligan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #29

    Tennessee Wesleyan University

    Athens, TN

    Graduation Rate

    41%

    Enrollment

    1,141

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $25150

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25150

    Tennessee Wesleyan University ranks as a top school from its campus in Athens, Tennessee. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. Learners at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover educational costs. Tennessee Wesleyan University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #30

    Cumberland University

    Lebanon, TN

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    2,550

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $24000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $24000

    A private institution, Cumberland University grants degrees from its campus in Lebanon, Tennessee. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. This makes it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs. Cumberland University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Why Choose a Private College or University in Tennessee?

    Private colleges and universities provide many benefits to students, including smaller class sizes that allow for more personal attention from professors. Enrollees in private schools also generally enjoy greater access to student services because these institutions serve fewer students. Private colleges and universities in Tennessee also tend to offer courses that promote rigor and academic excellence, giving learning a prominent place in the college experience.

    Some students who value academics may still prefer public education. Public schools tend to charge lower tuition rates because they receive federal and state funding. Also, because public institutions usually enroll more students, they typically offer more majors and degree programs from which students can choose.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 45 private nonprofit four-year colleges exist in Tennessee, compared to 10 public four-year institutions. When comparing these figures, private colleges in Tennessee might offer prospective students more choices in higher education.

    Some of the best private schools in Tennessee rank competitively with other colleges and universities nationwide. As a member of the Academic Common Market, Tennessee adheres to a reciprocity agreement with select southern states.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in Tennessee

    Pros

    • Private schools generally offer more generous financial aid.
    • Students at many private schools can gain greater access to scholarships and grants.
    • Lower student enrollments at many private colleges mean smaller class sizes and more individual attention and mentoring.
    • Most four-year private colleges place considerable emphasis on learning, which often results in rigorous curricula.

    Cons

    • Private schools are typically more expensive than public institutions.
    • They tend to offer fewer majors than public institutions.
    • Except for many research institutions, private schools typically provide fewer opportunities to gain research experience.
    • The academic demands of many private schools can make working full- or part-time while studying difficult.

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

    All public colleges and universities are nonprofit. However, private schools can be either nonprofit or for-profit. Boards of trustees or directors manage nonprofit schools, which typically receive funding from their state and the federal government, driving down tuition costs.

    For-profit colleges operate like businesses, primarily focusing on generating profits. At these schools, investors typically make decisions about academic offerings and other operations. Although a for-profit education can cost up to $8,500 more per year, they do not always provide the same academic rigor as nonprofits, and they do not always hold proper institutional accreditation.

    For-profit colleges can offer certain advantages, such as scheduling flexibility, allowing working professionals to further their education. Students attending private for-profit institutions might also pay lower tuition rates than enrollees attending their nonprofit counterparts. According to NCES, Tennessee is home to 23 for-profit two- and four-year institutions that enroll over 14,000 students.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in Tennessee?

    According to NCES, students at four-year private colleges and universities in Tennessee paid more than $40,000 per year on average during the 2019-2020 academic year. This figure includes more than $29,000 in tuition and fees alone. The cost of room and board averaged almost $11,000 annually.

    Tennessee’s least and most expensive private colleges and universities vary in annual tuition, fees, and other expenses. For example, Vanderbilt University in Nashville charges the highest tuition in the state, $54,840 annually as of 2021-2022. In contrast, students at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis paid about $11,000 in tuition per year.

    Prospective students with limited funds and dreams of private education can see if they qualify for tuition reimbursement or scholarships. Although student loans serve as a way to pay for college, other options exist, including work-study programs and federal grants that do not require repayment.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

    How many private colleges and universities are there in Tennessee?

    According to NCES, Tennessee is home to 45 private nonprofit four-year colleges and 10 public four-year institutions.

    The best private schools in Tennessee depend on a student’s needs. They vary by tuition and expenses, student body size, number of academic majors, and other characteristics.

    Students looking for a more diverse student body or one with a more significant percentage of students of color might consider applying to historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) in the state.

    What is the most expensive private college or university in Tennessee?

    Students attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville paid the highest tuition at any private school in the state in 2021-2022. Tuition, housing, meals, books, and other fees added up to almost $80,000 per year.

    The cost of higher education has increased more than 170% over the past 40 years for public and private school students. Some of the drivers of increasing higher education expenses include rising tuition rates, growing demand for student services, and increases in administrative costs.

    What is the least expensive private college or university in Tennessee?

    During the 2021-2022 school year, students at Lane College in Jackson paid $9,270 in tuition, the lowest annual tuition rate for a private, nonprofit school in Tennessee.

    The least expensive for-profit private school in Tennessee is Victory University in Memphis, with students paying $4,000-$8,000 in tuition during the same academic year.

    Is a private college or university right for me?

    For many students, pursuing private higher education reflects a choice based on financial considerations, educational goals, and other factors.

    Anyone considering the best private schools in Tennessee should prepare to pay the relatively high tuition either with their own funds or by obtaining scholarships or financial aid.

    Students should also consider their need for individual attention and academic tutoring. The smaller class sizes at most private schools allow learners to get more personalized attention from professors who teach fewer students. Also, applicants who know the major they want to pursue might thrive in a private college that offers their chosen area of study.

    Can I get more scholarship money at a private college or university?

    Although private schools vary in thescholarship money they award, they generally offer more funding for qualifying students than public institutions because of private donations, investments, and endowments.

    Some scholarships award money to students with outstanding GPAs or high entrance exam scores. Students can also obtain scholarship funding for meeting other criteria, such as demonstrating financial need or excellence in athletics.

    College applicants should contact their prospective schools or go to their websites to find the types of scholarships they offer.