UT, Milligan, King and WGU among state's best online colleges

Rick Wagner • Nov 16, 2019 at 10:00 PM

Looking for a cost-effective online college degree program? Some of them are based in East Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Western Governors University; Milligan College; King University; and Tusculum University are among the top online universities in Tennessee, as ranked by a national organization.

Among the top 22 in the Volunteer State, the SR Education Group ranked the No. 1 online college, based on tuition rates and reported alumni salaries, as Christian Brothers University in Memphis with a tuition rate of $12,555 and a median alumni salary of $89,600. Ranked at No. 11, Tennessee State University in Nashville offers the lowest tuition, $4,200 annually for an undergraduate degree.

UT Knoxville was ranked No. 2 at $13,020 in annual tuition and a median salary of $84,300, followed at No. 3 by Tennessee Tech at $13,410 and $84,200; No. 4 Western Governors (WGU) at $6,450 and $78,000; and No. 8 UT-Chattanooga at $8,404 and $69,000. WGU includes WGU-Tennessee.

Ranked at No.10, Milligan had $9,425 tuition and a median salary of $67,700, with King No. 17 at $10,980 and $62,700 and Tusculum at No. 18 with $10,500 and $61,000.

SR Education Group, an education research publisher founded in 2004, evaluated 1,943 online colleges in order to determine the best online schools in the nation. The rankings on GuidetoOnlineSchools.com highlight online colleges that provide the best return on investment, using alumni salary data from PayScale and tuition rates manually collected from official school websites.

The best online college rankings include four national rankings and 47 by-state rankings. The methodology for these rankings employs median mid-career salary data, as well as manually researched tuition rates and degree offerings. Since salaries differ by degree level, SR Education Group utilizes bachelor’s- and master’s-specific salary data for the rankings. The doctoral rankings focus on factors that are important to prospective students, including student-to-faculty ratios and total research expenditures.

“In our 10th year of publishing college rankings, we are proud to lead the way in offering the most accurate, comprehensive, and accessible rankings for online students. We know that program costs and return on investment are two objective, important factors to current students. This is why we have spent the past year researching over 1,900 schools to highlight the best online colleges of 2020,” said Sung Rhee, CEO of SR Education.