Both rankings earn TTU a designation as one of the nation's best college educations for the cost. The Princeton Review guidebook is scheduled for distribution in Spring 2006; the America's 100 Best College Buys annual report was distributed in September.
The honors come on the heels of TTU's most recent 2006 ranking as one of the Top Public Schools in the South by USNews & World Report and as a Best Southeastern College by The Princeton Review for 2006.
"This recognition tops an already outstanding year," said TTU President Bob Bell. "We're getting used to being recognized for our excellent programs and service, so it's nice to be noticed for our academic value as well.
"Our campus vision focuses on the life-long success of our students, and that starts here. Our alumni have always known what an excellent value a TTU education is, and these awards are official representations of that fact."
The America's Best College Values guidebook is distributed annually by Princeton Review and Random House publishers. This is TTU's first year to be included in the book.
Selection for the guidebook is based on factors including undergraduate academics, costs and financial aid. Editors reviewed a wide range of criteria, including tuition and financial aid figures provided by each institution, as well as the opinions of each college's undergraduates regarding their academic experiences and how satisfied they are with their financial aid packages.
Academic factors considered include the quality of students as measured by admissions credentials, as well as how the students themselves rate their academic experiences through a survey.
Cost and financial aid data are based on the price of each school's tuition, required fees, and room and board minus the average gift aid (scholarships and grants) awarded to students. Students are also surveyed about how happy they are with the financial aid packages and the service they receive at the schools' Financial Aid Office.
The America's 100 Best College Buys report is issued each year by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc., an independent research and consulting organization. The findings are based on the analysis and review of the group's 15th annual National College Survey.
As the report title indicates, only 100 colleges or universities are included in the listing each year. Five institutions from Tennessee are listed this year, including only two public universities: TTU and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The research company compiled its report from a survey of 1,477 accredited U.S. colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degree programs and provide facilities for room and board. Of the institutions surveyed, 1,044 schools responded.
To be considered for inclusion in the list of 100, a college or university must also have had an entering freshman class in fall 2004 with a high school grade point average and/or ACT score equal to or above the national average, and an out-of-state attendance cost in 2005-06 for two semesters below or not exceeding the national average by more than 10 percent.
TTU's entering freshman ACT score matched the national average at 23, and TTU's out-of-state costs were more than $4,470 less than the national average.
TTU recorded its fifth straight year of record enrollment this fall, with more than 9,300 students. Campus officials cite the university's ability to combine top quality academic programs, a caring and comfortable campus environment, and low tuition costs as its key to earning many recent accolades.