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Higher Education


Higher callings, wider options.


Long known as the “Athens of the South,” Middle Tennessee enjoys pride of place in the American higher education, and of course Vanderbilt University has played a leading role in establishing that place. A private research university with more than $450 million annually devoted to research funding, Vanderbilt is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s Top 20 universities by various publications, including U.S. News and World Report.


However, Vanderbilt is only one element of the vibrant higher educational environment that stretches across our region. Our knowledge industry is thriving in public, private and religiously affiliated private institutions, and our students are also thriving as a result. The choices are rich, rewarding and diverse: Supreme Court justices trained here, and Bear Bryant began his coaching career here; future music moguls can matriculate at one of the nation’s top rated music business schools; future governmental and social leaders can learn in the halls where national and state luminaries got their start. Choose from technical, two-year community colleges or four-year colleges and universities, including:


Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT): A strategic avenue for residents looking for a leg up on the employment ladder, TCAT is also a valued resource for area industry looking for skilled teams that can take their companies to the top of a demanding global marketplace. For more information, see our Workforce Development page.




Two-year community colleges:


Volunteer State Community College: With its main campus in Gallatin, “Vol State” serves the educational needs of more than 8,000 area students from across 12 counties. Programs of study at this publicly supported college range across four divisions, offering curricula in allied health, business, humanities, mathematics and science and social science and education. Students also enjoy a campus life offering a full-course college experience including social and academic organizations as well as stellar athletics.


Nashville State Community College: Whether for technical skills or transfer credits, Nashville State offers a superior learning environment and a variety of courses of study leading to associate degrees or certification. Like Vol State, Nashville State is flexible and affordable—the strategic solution for today’s learners.




Four-year colleges and universities:


Middle Tennessee State University: At Middle Tennessee State University, 100 + 100 equals an unlimited future for graduates. Founded over a century ago, this publicly supported college is a powerhouse both when it comes to True Blue athletics and when it comes to academics, offering more than 100 programs of study, leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


Cumberland University: Founded in 1842, Cumberland University offers a peerless educational heritage, with alumni ranging from a Secretary of State (Cordell Hull) to a Senator (Thomas P. Gore) to a Congressmen (Albert Gore, Sr.) to several Supreme Court Justices, multiple ambassadors and scores of state and federal judges. Today, CU is training the next generation of leaders through diverse academics, athletics and social and academic organizations. CU is the place to connect, with leaders, learning and the future.


Belmont University: The largest Christian university in Tennessee and the state’s second largest private school, Belmont has consistently earned top national rankings, from the #7 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Universities in the South” in the master’s category to a top “School to Watch” designation for the fifth year in a row. Large in size, Belmont is equally large in scope, encompassing a College of Health Sciences and Nursing, a College of Pharmacy, a School of Law, a School of Religion and the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, lauded by Rolling Stone as one of the top music business colleges in America.


Union University: A private, evangelical Christian liberal arts college with a campus in Hendersonville and a lineage that stretches all the way back to 1823, Union has an “amen” corner singing its praises ranging from U.S. News and World Report and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance to “America’s 100 Best College Buys” and Princeton Review to “Colleges of Distinction” and the Templeton Foundation. Courses of study are diverse and broad, leading to undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees.


Lipscomb University: A private liberal arts college affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Lipscomb promises “Faith in the Future,” a promise backed by academic rigor and a focus on spiritual faith. The schools offers 78 majors, several pre-professional programs and an accelerated evening and an online adult degree program as well as 25 Master’s degrees, four education specialist degrees and three doctorate degrees in 58 fields of study.


Tennessee State University: The only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee, TSU boasts an impressive roster of alumni, including multiple mayors, leading athletes in the NBA and NFL (as well as notable Olympians) and other national figures such as Oprah Winfrey. Today, the university is a leader in research and academics through eight different colleges of study even as the TSU Tigers dominate athletic fields.


Fiske University: Founded in 1866, this historically black university has trained some of the nation’s most distinguished leaders. The roll call includes NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois (in its first graduating class), journalist and crusader Ida Wells-Barnett, historian John Hope Franklin and award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni. Today, with its focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Business, Fiske is offering strategic preparation for the 21st century, backed by a stellar reputation for excellence in research (including four prestigious R&D 100 awards) and a ground-breaking Fiske-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. bridge program.


Trevecca Nazarene University: Founded in 1901 as a pastor’s training class for Christian workers, Trevecca has grown into a respected educational resource, with an enrollment of approximately 2,400 and diverse programs of study leading to associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees.


Remington College: With 19 campuses spread across the eastern U.S., Remington College offers real-world training for real-world success, through diploma, associate, and bachelor’s programs that include nursing, criminal justice, cosmetology and healthcare.



Feb 22, 2019 | Regional Representative Elected To State Workforce Development Board
We at TN Central support and encourage the efforts of our communities to strengthen industry and education…...Read More

Feb 06, 2019 | Macon County Awarded Site Development Grant
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob…...Read More

Jan 18, 2019 | TN Central Grant Put To Action in Watertown
  The Wilson County Joint Economic Community Development Board received a grant from TN Central…...Read More

Click here for our complete News Archive

Nov 28, 2018 | Tennessee Central Economic Authority’s Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting
Tennessee Central Economic Authority’s Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting Thomas House Red Boiling Springs Dec.…...Read More

Oct 01, 2018 | Tennessee Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference
The Tennessee Economic Development Council is a statewide, non-profit organization created to unite the efforts…...Read More

Aug 03, 2018 | MTIDA’s Economic Development Seminar
Middle Tennessee Industrial Development hosted an insightful and thought provoking one-day seminar, which also showcased…...Read More

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Tennessee Central Economic Authority
702 McMurry Blvd. Hartsville, TN 37074
Phone: 615.374.4607


This organization is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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Formerly the Four Lake Regional Industrial Development Authority
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