NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Planning to attend college in the Volunteer State? A new study shows the top 10 colleges where you can get the most bang for your buck.
SmartAsset, a personal finance website, released its ninth annual Best Valuable Colleges study comparing Tennessee’s institutions based on several metrics including scholarships, starting salaries, tuition, living costs and retention rates to determine the “best value” college in the state.
These are the Top 10 colleges in Tennessee where students get the “best value”:
1.) Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University in Nashville ranked number one, according to the study. In fact, the institution was the only Nashville-based college to be ranked in the top 10.
Although Vanderbilt’s $58,783 tuition was among the highest, the study did find that the university gives out an average of $45,342 in scholarships and grants.
However, students looking to attend the university should expect to spend a pretty penny on student living costs — at least $23,989 — according to SmartAsset. With a score of 71.03, Vanderbilt University’s college education value index is the best in the state.
2.) Christian Brothers University
SmartAsset found that students who graduate from Christian Brothers University are expected to make at least $55,100 as a starting salary.
Out of the three Memphis colleges that made the list, Christian Brothers boasted the highest college education value index with a score of 55.74
3.) Rhodes College
Of the three Memphis institutions ranked on the list, Rhodes College gives out the most money with $33,407 provided in scholarships and grants. Like Christian Brothers University, students who graduate from Rhodes are also expected to make at least $55,100 as a starting salary.
The college ranked second-highest and was just points behind Vanderbilt when it came to student retention rates. According to the study, 94% of students who attend Rhodes are likely to return the following semester.
4.) Le Moyne- Owen College
Le Moyne-Owen College boasted the lowest student living costs in the state with students paying an average of $9,558 for expenses that include books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses.
However, the study shows the college had the lowest student retention rate on the list with only 53% of students returning to the same institution the following semester.
5.) The University of Tennessee- Martin
Students attending The University of Tennessee-Martin pay an average of $11,224 in tuition fees and are given at least $8,203 in scholarships and grants.
SmartAsset says students at the university pay $13,846 in student living costs with 70% returning the next year.
6.) Middle Tennessee State University
Blue Raider alumni come out of MTSU making at least $50,800 upon graduation, according to SmartAsset.
The study found that MTSU gives out an average of $7,121 for college scholarships and grants per person -which was the lowest on the list. However, the $10,452 tuition is among one of the cheapest in the state.
7.) Tennessee Technological University
With an average tuition costing $10,303, Tennessee Technological University is named a “best value college” with the cheapest tuition in the state.
After completing their degree, students at Tennessee Tech can expect to make at least $58,400 once they enter the workforce.
8.) Southern Adventist University
Southern Adventist college ranked eighth on the list as a “best value college” in Tennessee. The study found that the university provides an average of $12,226 in scholarships and students pay at least $15,387 in student living costs.
Students who attend the Hamilton County university make at least $50,200 as a starting salary upon college graduation, according to the study.
9.) University of Tennessee, Knoxville
According to SmartAsset, the home of the Volunteers ranks among the colleges with highest student retention rates, with 88% of students re-enrolling the following year.
However, costs including room and board, books, supplies and transportation equal up to a total of $21,835. UT students pay the second-highest living costs among all the schools ranked on the list.
10.) Freed-Hardeman University
The private liberal arts university ranked in the final spot among the top “best value colleges” and last in the college education value index category with a score of 49.70.
Despite the ranking, the Henderson-based university shows a good return on students’ investment. In fact, 85% of students re-enroll into the institution the following year.