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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the top public higher education institution in Tennessee and among the best in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal’s 2024 Best Colleges in America.

Overall, UT ranks 82nd out of 204 public colleges and 193rd of the top 400 colleges in the nation. UT also ranks 142nd of the top 400 colleges for social mobility. As defined by the rankings, the social mobility category “rewards universities that take in the highest proportions of students coming from lower-income families, while maintaining high graduation rates and having a positive impact on graduate salaries and minimizing the costs of attending the college.”

“Through the work of our outstanding faculty and staff, we continue to see improvements in outcomes for students,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick. “The rankings reflect our commitment to student success and to ensuring that all students have the support they need to achieve their goals at UT.”

With record student enrollment, retention and student outcomes; faculty achievements and research growth, donor support; and athletic success, there has never been a better time to be a Volunteer.

Chancellor Donde Plowman, in her recent Flagship Address to the university, reinforced the mission and values that drive UT’s pursuit of excellence. “We choose great, and that matters for the students we teach, the communities we serve, the state we call home. Because a state that has a great university — particularly a great public flagship land-grant university — has opportunities that wouldn’t exist otherwise.”

The rankings, which were compiled by the Wall Street Journal and College Pulse in collaboration with the independent market research firm Statista, are based on two pillars: a student and alumni survey and a set of student outcome metrics.

In the student and alumni survey, more than 60,000 undergraduates and recent alumni were asked to provide feedback on colleges that are a great value to its students in terms of tuition, learning environment, degree completion and the likelihood of a higher salary after graduation.

A variety of metrics around student outcomes were considered to determine each school’s salary impact, the number of years to pay off debt, and graduation rates compared to similar colleges. An assessment of diversity on campus was part of the analysis.

The ranking joins a list of recent UT achievements including certification as a Great Place to Work, impressive rankings in the 2024 US News Best Colleges, and recognition among the best higher education institutions in the world in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.


Cindi King (865-974-0937,