East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Although there are three East Tennessee State University (ETSU) campuses, the Johnson City location is the main campus where undergraduates and some graduates complete their studies. Learn about its ranking, financial aid and student life, and get the pros and cons of studying at ETSU.

Is East Tennessee State University the School for You?

Located in Johnson City, Tennessee, East Tennessee State University is a public university that offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. ETSU is a little over four hours east of the state's capital, Nashville, and only an hour and 40 minutes east of Knoxville, Tennessee. Review the facts below to determine if ETSU is the school for you:


  • In 2011, ETSU's acceptance rates were 19.5 percentage points higher than the national average
  • ETSU accepts advanced placement (AP) credits
  • There are several unique facilities on campus, including the planetarium, the Appalachian archives, an arboretum and an observatory


  • Compared to the 2011-2012 national average, total expenses for ETSU students were higher by $5,619
  • The students to faculty ratio is four points higher than the national average
  • Limited number of undergraduate academic programs

Ranking & School Analysis

Records from the U.S. News & World Report do not list any specific ranking numbers for the university as a whole, although some of the individual graduate degree programs were ranked fairly high, such as rural medicine ranked #5 nationally and audiology ranked #37. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicated that in 2011, 85% of the 5,269 student applicants were accepted, but only 48% chose to enroll. Retention rates for full-time students in 2011 was at 70%, per NCES, and graduation rates at ETSU in 2009 were at 44% - but that was only 4% higher than the national average of that year. Since the university accepts AP credits, some students may graduate faster than others.

Although the student to faculty ratio was 20:1, higher than the national average of 16:1, the difference of only four additional students does not necessarily mean overcrowded classrooms. Furthermore, the U.S. News & World Report pointed out that as of 2011, 40.6% of ETSU classes had fewer than 20 students. Nevertheless, ETSU does not offer as many programs as some other four-year public universities.

Of the available programs, some of the most popular programs mentioned by the U.S. News & World Report during 2011 included liberal arts and sciences, business, marketing, fitness studies, management, education and health professions. Total average expenses for students living on campus during the 2011-2012 school year were $22,755, which is a bit higher than the national average from that same year of $17,136, per NCES.

Getting in & Financial Aid at East Tennessee State University

To apply to ETSU, you can either submit your application electronically or by paper. Freshman applicants must meet the necessary high school requirements; according to ETSU's website, those include four years of English, two years of a single foreign language, two years of natural science, three years of mathematics (one year geometry and two years algebra), one year social studies, one year performing arts and one year of United States history. Although ETSU accepts test scores from either the ACTs or SATs, they prefer ACT test scores.

Upon submitting an application to ETSU, the university recommends that you complete paperwork for on-campus housing and meal plans (if needed), health forms and financial aid. Besides receiving need-based financial aid, Tennessee state residents may be eligible for the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program, according to ETSU's website. In the 2010-2011 school year, records from the NCES showed that 94% of students received some form of financial aid. During that same year, 70% of students received grants or scholarships from the state or local government agencies. Average federal loan amounts for ETSU students during that school year were $5,216, per NCES.

Applications & Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013-2014) July 1***
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013-2014) April 15***
Rolling Admission Notification Start Date (2013-2014) September 1***
Application Fee (2013-2014) $25*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 85%**
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $8,293**
Average Grant or Scholarship Aid (2010-2011) $7,023**
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 14.1%**

Life at East Tennessee State University

Overall, ETSU is not an ethnically diverse campus, especially since the College Board showed that 85% of the student body was white in 2012. Additionally, with only 12% of students from out of state, you may not get a truly multicultural experience at this campus. The U.S. News & World Report pointed out that there are more than 200 clubs registered at this campus, as of 2011, so you will most likely have the opportunity to explore a wide range of interests with fellow students. Greek life is also available on campus, and ETSU's website showed that there were 15 fraternities and sororities on campus as of 2013.

The majority of ETSU students live off campus, according to the U.S. News & World Report, and only 20% lived on campus in 2011. Housing options at ETSU include coed dormitories, fraternity housing, apartments, women's dormitories, men's dormitories, wellness housing, international student housing, sorority housing and housing for students with special needs. According to the College Board, deposits for on-campus housing in 2012 were $100, and freshmen were permitted to have cars in housing parking lots. As of 2012, pets were not allowed in campus-owned housing.

There are many student services offered on the ETSU campus. According to the university's website, such services include a career center, disability services, counseling, student broadcasting and a health clinic. Information on the College Board showed that as of 2012, other student services included substance-abuse counseling, legal services, spiritual guidance, women's services, on-campus day care and veterans' counseling.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Small city**
Student Population (2011) 15,250**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2012) 43% male to 57% female***
% of Full Time Students (2011) 85%**
% of In-state Students (2012) 88%***
% of International Students (2010) 1%**
Retention Rate (2011) 70%**
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 20%***
Extracurricular Activities Music, theater, campus broadcasting, sororities, fraternities, literary magazine and student newspaper***

Sources: *ETSU.edu, **NCES and ***College Board.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, East Tennessee State University, P.O. Box 70731, Johnson City, TN 37614
  • Phone: (423) 439-4213 | (800) 462-3878