3500 John A. Merritt Blvd
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
p. 615-963-5111
w. www.tnstate.edu

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University Rating: 4.1/5 (112 votes)

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Tennessee State University is located in Nashville, Tennessee. There is an additional branch campus (the Avon Williams Campus) located in downtown Nashville; the main campus is in a residential area. Tennessee State University was founded in 1912 as an African-American normal school, became a 4-year school in 1922, and received university status in 1958. The final step in establishing its reputation was to receive “university status” approval from the State Board of Education. The institution as it is known today was the result of a 1979 merger between Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville. The University now awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tennessee State University defines its mission in part as one of “provid[ing] quality academic programs which are broadly comprehensive at the baccalaureate and masters levels.” It defines itself as an urban university, and still has a predominantly black student body.


The University offers 40 bachelor’s degrees. Tennessee State proudly proclaims that it “prepares students for the workforce.” The University’s most popular majors include Business Administration, Nursing, Statistics, and Biology. Corporate partnerships give students the experience and contacts that come in useful upon graduation when students are seeking employment.

The University is composed of a number of different schools and colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, Technology & Computer Science, the College of Health Sciences, the School of Agriculture & Consumer Science, and the School of Nursing. There is also a School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Institute of Government.

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in a number of different disciplines, including Africana studies, art, biology, criminal justice, music education, business administration, hospitality and tourism administration, psychology, aeronautical and industrial technology, engineering, dental hygiene, occupational therapy, agricultural sciences, family and consumer sciences, and nursing.

Master’s degrees are awarded in biology, chemistry, criminal justice, English, mathematical sciences, business administration (MBA), education, computer information systems engineering, physical therapy, agricultural sciences, nursing, and public administration, among others. Some departments offer courses on the graduate level but do not offer a master’s level degree.

The school awards six doctoral degrees, in biological sciences, educational administration and supervision, psychology, curriculum and instruction, computer information systems engineering, and public administration. Some of these programs have various concentrations available within them.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

The division of Aerospace Studies includes the Air Force ROTC program. Together they prepare students for service to the country as aerospace experts and technicians, and as leaders in the greater community.


Applicants must also present proof of measles vaccination to gain admission. Transcripts and supporting documentation are requested immediately following high school graduation. For Advanced Placement Examination credit, students must have the testing agency submit test results directly to the Tennessee State office of admissions. A non-refundable fee of $15 is required for each application.

In-state students must demonstrate a score of 19 or better on the ACT or 900 or better on the SAT, and must pass the Tennessee Proficiency Exam. In-state applicants must have a GPA above 2.25.

Out-of-state students must demonstrate a score of 19 or better on the ACT or 900 or better on the SAT, and must have completed 14 High School State Board of Regents requirements. Out-of-state applicants must also have a GPA above 2.5.

Admission by Exception can be granted to students with no more than two high school units and a minimum ACT score of 21 or an ACT score of 19 and a high school GPA of 2.5.

Prior course requirements include four years of English, one year of visual and or performing arts, two years of algebra and one year of geometry, two years of the natural or physical sciences, one year of social studies, one year of United States history, and two years of a single foreign language. An additional unit of the arts and mathematics or in a foreign language is recommended. Tennessee students must pass the Tennessee proficiency examination. Students must provide proof of immunity to measles prior to registration.

Admissions criteria vary, with different test scores or grade point averages required for out-of-state students. Tennessee students must have a minimum ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 900, or a grade point average of at least 2.25.

Graduate students must provide the following for admissions to the graduate school: application, fee, and transcripts. Most programs also require test scores, and some require supplemental applications. Students should consult individual programs to see what additional materials are required. A graduate application has an application fee of $25.

Financial Aid

Financial need is the most influential factor in determining eligibility for aid, though the University encourages all students to apply. The University uses a simple formula to determine a students’ necessary aid, subtracting anticipated family contributions from total cost of tuition. Among other loan programs, the University participated in the Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation is available for Tennessee residents for up to eight semesters.

In-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students were $2019 per semester in 2004-2005. Students applying from out of state and graduate students will have different costs.

Financial aid is available with a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2751st for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Tennessee.


Student life includes eleven different student organizations, including ROTC, Advertising Club, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletics.

In addition to the numerous classroom, dormitory, and administration buildings, Tennessee State University has an amphitheater, an on-campus park, and a performing arts center.

The Tennessee State University Library offers electronic catalogs and on-line databases, in additional to physical volumes stored on site. It also includes a “smart classroom,” an Art Corner, and archives and manuscripts.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Tennessee State Tigers compete in the Ohio Valley Conference of the NCAA’s Division I. Intercollegiate sports include football, softball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball, golf, tennis, and track/cross country. The school colors are royal blue and white.

The University’s athletics department explicitly identifies its own activities within the academic mission of the overall institution, while also recognizing its role in developing young leaders and generating revenue. In support of its athletic teams, the University is also home to the Big Blue Booster Club, a cheerleading squad, and the Aristocrat of Bands.

The Tiger football team earned back-to-back Ohio Valley championships in 1998 and 1999. At the end of the 1999 season the Tigers were ranked number on in NCAA Division I-AA. In 1982 the University also claimed the National Black College Championship.

Each year, the football team designates one of its matches as the John Meritt classic. The purpose of the classic is raise scholarship funds.

Athletic facilities include a stadium, a football practice field, a field house, a track, and an athletic building.

Local Community

Nashville is known as the country music capital of the world. Visitors and students alike can take in some of the oldest and the newest country hits at numerous venues throughout the city, including the historic Grand Ol’ Opry. Nashville is also home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, home to a new $37 million facility honoring the greatest starts of country music. Country icon Loretta Lynn offers visitors as stay at her private ranch just 65 miles outside of Nashville. And visitors can see the latest performers—from all genres—at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The city is also home to the world’s only full scale replica of the Parthenon. The latest census lists the Nashville population at just under 570,000.

Information Summary

Ranks 52nd in Tennessee and 1953rd overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in Tennessee and 467th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 10 0.11
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 2 0.02
Robbery 10 0.11
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 5 0.05
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 5 0.05
Arrest 80 0.87

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 4,927 0.80
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 50 0.01
Forcible Rape 373 0.06
Robbery 1,889 0.31
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 7,541 1.23
Larceny 19,987 3.26
Vehicle theft 1,728 0.28

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Nashville, TN 37209-1561
Surrounding communityLarge city (inside urban area, pop. over 250,000)
Total Population35,081 (33,863 urban / 1,218 rural)
Households13,142 (2.29 people per house)
Median Household Income$33,014
Families7,404 (2.96 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Doctoral/Research Universities
UndergraduateBalanced arts & sciences/professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduateDoctoral, professional dominant
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, inclusive
EnrollmentHigh undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringDoctoral degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District4705

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1296th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $5,568 $5,568 $18,288
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $930 $930 $930
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $232 $232 $530
FT Graduate Tuition $7,500 $7,500 $19,904
FT Graduate Required Fees $930 $930 $930
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $433 $433 $1,015
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $17,693 $17,693 $30,413
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $19,883 $19,883 $32,603
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $9,483 $9,483 $22,203

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $6,088 $6,426 $6,088 $6,426 $18,616 $18,954
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,800 $1,985
On-Campus – Room & Board $5,910 $6,120
On-Campus – Other Expenses $2,800 $2,900
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $7,800 $7,900
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,400 $3,500
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $900 $1,000

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record N/A /  N/A /  N/A
College Prep. CompletionN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scoresN/A
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Ohio Valley Conference

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity2,966
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$3,400
Board Fee$2,790

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1627th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $66,543 ($71,595 male / $53,736 female)
Number of FT Faculty 322 (171 male / 151 female)
Number of PT Faculty 486
FT Faculty Ratio 0.7 : 1
Total Benefits $12,287,477

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