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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, gives students a great “bang” for their tuition bucks, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s annual best values rankings released this week.

The magazine’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” ranks American colleges based on academic quality and affordability. The Best Values program examined data from 500 public four-year schools and narrowed the list to about 120 public colleges and universities based on measures of academic quality. Each school was then ranked based on cost and financial aid.

UT was the only Tennessee public university to make the top 100.

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.

“We are proud to be recognized for being a great value and for our work to ensure the university is accessible and affordable,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Our need-based programs are among the best in the country at providing access to students who may otherwise be deterred from seeking a higher level of education.”

This year, UT gave 31 percent of its institutional scholarships to students of need and about 69 percent were merit-based. In 2005-2006, about 99 percent of UT’s institutional scholarships were merit-based.

In recent years, UT Knoxville has created several need-based scholarship programs that supplement the HOPE Scholarship and help ensure that money isn’t a stumbling block for academically eligible students through its Pledge, Promise and Achieve the Dream scholarship programs.

For more information about Kiplinger’s 2011 Best Values in Public Colleges rankings, visit


Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993,