published Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Lee University, Bryan College hailed for low cost


Most affordable Christian colleges in the U.S.

• 1. Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.: $11,773

• 5. Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn.: $14,312

• 7. Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.: $15,258

• 16. Shorter University in Rome, Ga.: $16,612

• 31. King University in Bristol, Tenn.: $18,108

Source: Christian Universities Online

  • photo
    Bryan College's Rudd Auditorium
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., has been ranked the most affordable Christian college in the nation by an online guide to Christian higher education.

Christian Universities Online ranked the 50 most affordable Christian colleges in the United States to help students and parents figure out the true cost of attending college, according to a news release.

"Many universities and colleges have developed very aggressive financial aid packages and have other unique sources of funding that reduce what may be very expensive tuition costs to a more manageable level for lots of students," according to Christian Universities Online's website.

The rankings included colleges and universities with more than 1,000 students.

Taking into account factors such as financial aid and other funding sources that offset tuition costs, the ranking placed Lee at the top with a cost of $11,773 per year, the report said.

"A lot of attention has been given to college affordability," said Brian Conn, director of public relations at Lee University. "I think this is maybe because some universities are becoming so expensive."

Conn said Lee works to stay affordable through efforts such as funding new buildings by raising money rather than tuition.

"We treat money at Lee like it's our own personal money, and hold onto it tight and are cautious about spending," Conn said.

Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., ranked seventh on the list, with an annual average net cost of $15,258, according to the report.

"We have always tried to keep tuition low," said Rick Taphorn, vice president of enrollment at Bryan.

Bryan is in the lowest quartile for its cost of tuition compared to competitors, Taphorn said. The school is also in the third quartile for the amount of scholarships that they offer students.

The ranking of affordability used data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. The data was composed of universities accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools or universities that were members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at or at 423-757-6592.

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