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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee provides students one of the top 50 best values in public education according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

The magazine’s annual ‘100 Best Values in Public Colleges’ ranks American colleges based on academic programs and affordability. Academic quality measurements make up two-thirds of the total score, costs and financial aid factors count for one third of the scoring.

The ‘Best Values’ program this year evaluated 130 public colleges and universities. UT was the only Tennessee public university to make the top 50, placing 48th overall.

Kiplinger’s considers characteristics that include entrance exam scores, student-faculty ratios, total cost for in-state students and average debt of students upon graduation.

“This ranking speaks to the great strides UT has made in recent years to increase our academic quality and our efforts to ensure that we are accessible to all students who want to attend the state’s flagship university,” said UT Chancellor Loren Crabtree.

The new Tennessee Pledge scholarship allows students to graduate debt-free by paying for mandatory college costs not covered by other federal or state aid. The state’s first institutionally funded, need-based program, Tennessee Pledge is available to students from low-income families.

This initiative, combined with the increase in student preparedness and proficiency in each new freshman class, will be a catalyst for future growth in the “best value” to students program, said Crabtree.

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008, beth.gladden@tennessee.edu)