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Fall Campus 2018
Ayres Hall framed by fall leaves against a blue sky.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been named one of America’s top colleges by Forbes Magazine.

The list ranks UT first among public universities in Tennessee, 65th among all public universities, and 144th overall out of the 500 public and private universities included on the list.

“Being listed among the country’s top institutions is a fitting tribute to the dedication and excellence of our faculty, staff, and students,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick. “This ranking recognizes UT’s commitment to providing our students an outstanding education that prepares them for success in the next phase of their lives.”

Rankings were based on factors including graduation rates, return on investment and retention rate. Forbes also placed an emphasis on academic success, assessing the scholastic performance of each school based on its number of national award winners and Ph.D. graduates. In the 2022-23 academic year, UT produced 13 Fulbright recipients, eight National Science Foundation graduate research fellows, and one Goldwater Scholar, among other nationally recognized awards. Graduate and professional student enrollment at the university has also reached a record high, growing almost 10% since last fall.

Forbes compiled the list after evaluating thousands of schools using data from federal education databases, the Seattle-based software and data company PayScale, the Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank Third Way, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and some of Forbes’s own lists.

This year, UT has also been recognized by Forbes as one of the best employers for new graduates, one of the country’s best large employers and a best place for working parents.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,