Independent researchers are putting Tennessee Tech University at the top of the value charts again this year as the university strives to keep college education accessible and affordable.
For the eighth consecutive year, Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc., has included TTU among America’s 100 Best College Buys.
The firm evaluates expenses of accredited, four-year institutions nationwide. To make the list, the school’s 2011 freshman class must meet or exceed national high school grade point averages or average SAT/ACT scores. TTU met those qualifications, with entering freshmen having an average 3.39 GPA and an ACT score above 23.
“Our students are smart, and their academic credentials are improving each year,” said Jim Gray, TTU’s associate director of admissions. “Among the 2012 freshmen class, 28 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school’s graduating class.”
While TTU has consistently ranked as a good value for undergraduates, those seeking a master’s degree in business administration are turning to TTU’s online MBA program, which costs almost half the national average of $36,000, according to Tom Timmerman, professor of business management and director of MBA studies.
GetEducated.com named TTU’s online MBA program a Best Buy among programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. TTU made the 2012 list of Best Online MBA Programs at No. 18 among nearly 140 competitors in its class.
“It is an honor to have our program recognized for providing a high-quality education at an affordable price. We have always received positive feedback from alumni and employers, and it is great to see that our program is being recognized elsewhere,” said Timmerman.
“We offer a number of competitively-awarded graduate assistantships so students can focus on their education,” Timmerman said. “When you combine that with the flexibility of an online program and our attention to student feedback, we are offering the best possible MBA experience.”
As far as TTU alumni handling their education costs responsibly, recent U.S. Department of Education statistics show Tennessee Tech graduates are among the least likely in the nation to default on their student loans within three years of graduation.
Only 3.9 percent of 2009 TTU graduates have defaulted on their student loans. That’s well below the national average for public universities of 11 percent, and the best rate by more than 50 percent of all four-year public institutions in Tennessee.
“This rate is the standard to match in Tennessee,” said Lester McKenzie, director of financial aid at TTU. “Our office is very proactive in making sure students are aware of their responsibilities and obligations to repay their loans.”
TTU manages a loan portfolio of about $34 million, and the Financial Aid Office helps students identify other available financial resources based on an individual’s needs. TTU offers a variety of generous scholarships funded by the university and private donors. In fall 2012, more than a quarter of the freshmen class received nearly 800 academic scholarships worth more than $1.8 million.