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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, provides students one of the 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 quality and affordability. The Best Values program this year evaluated 120 public colleges and universities. UT was the only Tennessee public university to make the top 100, placing 64th overall.

Kiplinger’s considers characteristics including entrance exam scores, admissions and retention rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratios, total cost for in-state students and average debt of students upon graduation. Academic quality measurements make up two-thirds of the total score, while costs and financial aid factors count for one-third of the scoring.

“We’re proud that Kiplinger’s recognizes the value we offer our students because we’ve worked diligently to devote resources to ensure our university is affordable and accessible,” said UT Knoxville Interim Chancellor Jan Simek. “As the state’s flagship research university, we must strive to offer the best education possible for the best and brightest students in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Pledge and Tennessee Promise scholarships target students from high schools that have not traditionally sent many of their graduates to UT Knoxville. They also allow students to graduate debt-free by paying for mandatory college costs not covered by other federal or state aid.

In addition, the university has launched the “Achieve the Dream” program that makes grant money available to Tennessee students from lower-middle-income families whose incomes are too high to qualify them for Pell Grants or the Pledge Scholarship, but who still need financial help with college costs. Freshmen beginning classes in the fall of 2009 can qualify for the grants.

The 2008-2009 Best Values in Public Colleges rankings are featured in Kiplinger’s December 2008 issue, which hit newsstands Nov. 11. The rankings also are available online at http://www.kiplinger.com/money/collegevalues/.


Karen Collins, (865) 974-5186, karen.collins@tennessee.edu