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Online and On-Campus Colleges in
TENNESSEE

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Tennessee

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed April 24, 2017: Mission and Values, Johnson University, http://www.johnsonu.edu/About/Mission-Statement.aspx; Online Degree Programs, Johnson University, http://www.johnsonu.edu/Online/Programs.aspx; Online Undergraduate Programs, East Tennessee State University, http://www.etsu.edu/online/undergraduate/; Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis, http://www.memphis.edu/law/index.php; Tennessee Promise, Austin Peay State University, http://www.apsu.edu/admissions/tennessee-promise; Quick Facts, The University of Tennessee at Martin, http://www.utm.edu/about/quickfacts.php; UTC offering regional tuition rate to freshman and sophomore students, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga, https://blog.utc.edu/news/2017/03/utc-offering-regional-tuition-rate-freshman-sophomore-students/; About Us, Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences, https://www.bchs.edu/about; Top 10 Things About MTSU, Middle Tennessee State University, http://www.mtsu.edu/about/index.php;
  • University of Tennessee System, accessed April 24, 2017, http://tennessee.edu/
  • Tennessee Board of Regents, accessed April 24, 2017: Our Institutions, https://www.tbr.edu/institutions/our-institutions; Tennessee Transfer Pathway, https://www.tbr.edu/initiatives/tennessee-transfer-pathway;
  • Visit Johnson City, accessed April 24, 2017, http://visitjohnsoncitytn.com/
  • University of Memphis, Best Graduate Schools, Top Law Schools, U.S. News and World Report, accessed April 24, 2017, https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/university-of-memphis-humphreys-03145
  • Money For College, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, accessed April 24, 2017, https://www.tn.gov/collegepays/section/money-for-college
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Those who are thinking about going to college in Tennessee should be aware of the wide range of post-secondary options. In addition to two public university systems — the University of Tennessee system and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) — there are also independent universities around the state. The TBR system is the larger of the two, comprising six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. The UT system consists of a flagship campus in Knoxville, two satellite campuses in Martin and Chattanooga, a health science center in Memphis and statewide institutes of agriculture and public service.

If you're a Tennessee community college student hoping to finish your degree at a university campus, don't forget to look into the Tennessee Transfer Pathway (TTP) program. All TTP-eligible courses are guaranteed to transfer into degree plans at numerous universities in the state.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Tennessee

Figuring out which institutions are the best traditional and online universities in Tennessee is no easy task, but we gathered loads of statistics and analyzed them until the results were clear. We've listed each of the top ten schools below, with a short synopsis of the data picture for each one. Details on our methodology are available at the bottom of the page. Here are the best traditional and online colleges in Tennessee, starting with No. 1.

Methodology
1Johnson University+
ADMISSION RATE
58%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

This small, private university in Knoxville took the No. 1 spot in our rankings thanks in part to its top-three distance education enrollment percentage among the schools on our list. Campus-based flexibility measures were also a bright spot for Johnson University, where course credit can be earned for applicable life experience and whole degree programs can be earned exclusively through weekend and evening classes.

Students interested in an online bachelor's degree program in Tennessee have five options to choose from at Johnson, including business administration, intercultural studies and nonprofit administration. Faith-based programs such as ministry leadership and pastoral care and counseling are also available, for students with a more religious focus to their education.

Additional Info
2East Tennessee State University+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
23

If you're looking for a school with strong financial aid possibilities, East Tennessee State University might be the place for you. This Johnson City school took the top spot among schools on our list for its average proportion of institutional grant aid per dollar of tuition and fees. It also placed at No. 5 in the state for the raw affordability of tuition and associated costs.

The size of the distance education catalog at ETSU gave it a place among the best online colleges in Tennessee. Its offering of nearly two dozen total degree programs available completely in the virtual classroom was enough to rank it No. 2 in the state in that category. The town of Johnson City has a lot to offer college students, from cycling and hiking trails to public art and craft breweries downtown.

Additional Info
3University of Memphis+
ADMISSION RATE
40%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
44

Only one other school on our list offered as many or more on-campus degree programs as the University of Memphis, and no other school in the state could top its portfolio of 44 study plans that can be completed entirely online. Weekend/evening degree programs are also available, for campus-based students who need an extra measure of flexibility in their academic schedule.

U of M may merit extra attention for Tennessee students considering a move into law school after completing their bachelor's degree. The school's Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law was recognized as one of the top law schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

Additional Info
4Austin Peay State University+
ADMISSION RATE
88%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$15
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

Austin Peay State University had the most affordable tuition and fees cost of any school on our list, and the financial upside to this Clarksville school doesn't stop there. Its average net price — an affordability measure that subtracts expected grant and scholarship awards from the total cost of attendance, including books, supplies and room and board — ranked No. 4 among our top 10 schools for both low- and middle-income students.

More than 51 percent of students at APSU were enrolled in at least some distance education courses in fall 2015, placing it at No. 4 statewide on that metric. Students who wish to make use of the Tennessee Promise Scholarship before moving into a bachelor's program have a few choices of associate degrees at APSU, including liberal arts and engineering technology.

Additional Info
5Tennessee Technological University+
ADMISSION RATE
68%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

This Cookeville school is one of the best online colleges in Tennessee by enrollment, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Recent data shows that more than 60 percent of students took at least some of their coursework in the virtual classroom, good for the No. 3 spot in the state.

Along with placing No. 2 among our top ten schools for its comparatively low cost of tuition and fees, Tennessee Tech featured an uncommon distinction for its students' ability to make good use of available financial aid. The median student debt burden held by graduates was just $15,587 in 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). That figure ranks it No. 1 among schools on our list and places it among the top 5 percent of all schools we surveyed nationwide.

Additional Info
6The University of Tennessee-Martin+
ADMISSION RATE
70%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

Affordability is at the top of the stat sheet for this University of Tennessee System school. Its average net price was the state's lowest for middle-income students and ranked No. 2 for low-income students in 2015-16. Both figures placed in the 96th percentile nationally in their respective categories. Raw tuition and fees costs were also affordable enough to rank No. 6 statewide.

Students in health care specialties tend to excel after graduating from UT Martin, according to the university's fact sheet. Graduates of its registered nursing programs had a 100-percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in 2016, and veterinary health technology students posted a similarly perfect record on their 2016 occupational exam.

Additional Info
7The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

The Chattanooga campus of the University of Tennessee ranked No. 7 in the state for its tuition and fees affordability. The average net price for low-income students was manageable also, placing at No. 5 in the state in that category. Middle-income students paid an average net price that ranked No. 6 among schools on our list.

An additional affordability measure in place at UT Chattanooga is their regional tuition rate, an initiative designed to help students from nearby out-of-state counties better afford tuition at the southern Tennessee school. Students from certain Georgia and Alabama counties in the greater Chattanooga area qualify for the program, which starts with the standard in-state tuition rate and adds just 25 percent of non-resident tuition. The discount is only extended to first- and second-year students.

Additional Info
8Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences+
ADMISSION RATE
55%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

Very few colleges in the country are more affordable than Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences. Low-income students paid the lowest average net price in the state at this faith-based Memphis institution. It also ranked among the top 20 schools for low-income net price affordability among all 1,647 institutions in our analysis, placing it in the 98th percentile nationwide.

Middle-income students paid a generally affordable net price at Baptist as well. The institution ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 88 in the country for its low cost to students with family incomes closer to average. Carrying through from enrollment to graduation was common at this small faith-based college; only one other school on our list posted a higher graduation rate in 2016.

Additional Info
9Middle Tennessee State University+
ADMISSION RATE
73%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Another affordable option for Tennessee residents can be found at this fairly large Murfreesboro institution. Only three other schools in the state charged a lower baseline rate for tuition and fees in 2015-16, and the average net price figures for middle- and low-income students came in at No. 5 and No. 6 statewide, respectively.

Middle Tennessee State University was founded over 100 years ago as a school for teachers and has grown into a research university that awards degrees from the bachelor's level all the way up to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). It's also a Tennessee Board of Regents school and produces more graduates than any other campus in its state system.

Additional Info
10The University of Tennessee-Knoxville+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
17

The flagship location of the University of Tennessee system comes in at No. 10. The 253 academic programs available at the Knoxville campus in 2015-16 constituted the largest academic catalog in the state, and its array of distance education programs was large enough that only three other schools in the state placed higher in that category.

UT Knoxville also had the highest graduation rate and the second-highest freshman retention rate among our top ten schools. Students graduated with a median college debt burden under $20,000, also, earning it the No. 2 spot among schools on our list. If it weren't for a comparatively low distance education enrollment rate and an average net price that was higher than average for middle-income students, UT Knoxville would likely have placed a few spots higher.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Tennessee

Whether you want to see how the academic choices of your classmates stack up or you want to find out which majors give you the greatest number of potential study partners to choose from, here's a list of the top degree programs in Tennessee by enrollment.

In-demand Careers in Tennessee

Not everyone enters college with their sights set on a certain segment of the job market, but lining up your study plan with regional employment demand might just make it easier to transition into a career after graduation. Check out these hot jobs in Tennessee and see if one might be a good goal as your future career.

Career Title Projected Job Growth Total Employment Annual Salary
Physical Therapist Assistants56%2,730$56,870
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers52%1,900$60,710
Nurse Midwives51.3%70$77,410
Physical Therapist Aides48.9%1,690$23,890
Tax Preparers48.8%1,310$50,110
Physical Therapists47.4%4,330$87,530
Home Health Aides46.7%5,950$20,660
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians45.8%150$23,080
Interpreters and Translators45.1%620$41,350
Physician Assistants44.3%1,570$85,520
Occupational Therapy Assistants44%930$60,360
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary42.9%920$68,290
Nurse Practitioners40.7%5,230$93,790
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists40.4%7,180$61,290
Operations Research Analysts39.8%1,770$69,420
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors38.8%1,660$39,370
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians38.2%1,280$31,140
Skincare Specialists37.9%800$29,000
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary37.7%5,220$100,350
Audiologists37.6%320$68,240
Medical Secretaries37%8,840$30,830
Personal Care Aides36.5%17,150$19,540
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders36.5%3,260$38,760
Information Security Analysts36.4%1,240$80,150
Phlebotomists36.2%2,510$28,360
Insulation Workers, Mechanical36.2%440$41,850
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians35.1%1,100$47,290
Occupational Therapists35%1,970$82,660
Surgical Technologists34.9%3,130$40,680
Health Educators34.6%960$37,740
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Tennessee

Tennessee residents may qualify for these and other state-based financial aid programs:

  • The Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program (TSAA) provides grant aid to in-state undergraduate students who meet financial need requirements.
  • HOPE Scholarships and Access Grants award aid each semester to qualifying students who graduate from eligible high schools in Tennessee and certain surrounding out-of-state counties.
  • The Helping Heroes Grant awards $1,000 per semester to qualifying military veterans and members or reserves of the Tennessee National Guard who were called into active service.
 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

 
Scarlett Family Foundation Scholarship
Applicant must be a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior who will graduate or have graduated from high school in Middle Tennessee and will be enrolling in a four-year not-for-profit college or university. Applicant must be a business major or STEM major and be able to demonstrate financial need. Minimum 2.5 GPA required.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$15,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

December 15

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Based on continued positive academic performance

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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Austin Peay State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
601 College St
City
Clarksville
State
TN
Zip Code
37044
Website
www.apsu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
490-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,184
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$15
Admission Rate
88%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,501
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
14
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
52%
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1003 Monroe Ave
City
Memphis
State
TN
Zip Code
38104
Website
www.bchs.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
580-600
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
570-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
490-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,079
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
55%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$10,892
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
10
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
16%
East Tennessee State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1276 Gilbreath Drive
City
Johnson City
State
TN
Zip Code
37614
Website
www.etsu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
420-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
11,392
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,153
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
23
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
38%
Johnson University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
7900 Johnson Dr
City
Knoxville
State
TN
Zip Code
37998
Website
www.johnsonu.edu/Home.aspx
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-610
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-600
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
892
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
58%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$12,650
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
9
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
43%
University of Memphis
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Southern Avenue
City
Memphis
State
TN
Zip Code
38152
Website
www.memphis.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
460-570
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
410-550
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
16,644
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
40%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,903
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
44
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
Middle Tennessee State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1301 East Main Street
City
Murfreesboro
State
TN
Zip Code
37132
Website
www.mtsu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-630
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-610
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
20,140
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
73%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,080
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
27%
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
615 McCallie Ave
City
Chattanooga
State
TN
Zip Code
37403
Website
www.utc.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-570
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
10,083
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,356
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
6
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
34%
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
527 Andy Holt Tower
City
Knoxville
State
TN
Zip Code
37996
Website
www.utk.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
520-630
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
530-630
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
24-30
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
21,863
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
76%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,948
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
17
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
23%
The University of Tennessee-Martin
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
544 University Street
City
Martin
State
TN
Zip Code
38238
Website
www.utm.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
6,435
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
70%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,326
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
10
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
21%
Tennessee Technological University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 William L. Jones Drive
City
Cookeville
State
TN
Zip Code
38505
Website
www.tntech.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,801
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
68%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,011
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
7
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
61%
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