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Aerial photograph of the University of Tennessee hill, with Ayres Hall. Leyland Stadium and the Tennessee River are visible in the background.Improvements in graduation rates helped pave the way for UT’s three-spot rise in U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 undergraduate rankings released today. UT is now ranked 47th among all public universities, up from 50th last year.

UT is also now 103rd among all national universities, which includes all public and private schools. This is up from 106th from last year.

UT benefited from improved metrics in two key categories: its graduation rate rose from 68 percent to 69 percent, and its percentage of classes with 50 or more students was reduced from 15 percent to 14 percent. Data submitted for the new list was from 2014.

The Haslam College of Business is now ranked 30th among public universities and 50th nationally, up one spot each from last year. The college’s supply chain management program is ranked fifth nationally and fourth among public schools. The College of Engineering is ranked 36th among all public universities and 63rd in the national list.

UT held steady in its peer assessment score, its high school counselor assessment score and its average freshman retention rate (86 percent).

“We are becoming a better university every day, and we’re pleased that the comparative data worked in our favor this year,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Students are our core business. We are making a difference in how we serve and support them by helping them graduate on time so they can begin their careers or pursue an advanced degree.”

UT’s six-year graduation rate raised from 60 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2015. UT’s large strides in retention and graduation also helped garner national recognition by the Association of Public Land-grant Institutions, which honored UT with its prestigious Trailblazer Award in 2014.

UT tied with four other universities in the public university rankings: the University of Oregon, which also tied with UT last year, and the Universities of Missouri, Nebraska, and New Hampshire, all of which fell four spots from last year.

The rankings released today focus on undergraduate metrics. The university’s goals for becoming a Top 25 public research university measure a wider set of criteria, including graduate education, research and engagement, faculty and staff development, and infrastructure and resources management.


Karen Simsen (865-974-5186,