TTU AGAIN RANKS AT THE TOP OF TBR REPORT CARD TTU garners six first-place rankings, more than any other

Tennessee Technological University earned six first-place rankings in the third annual Tennessee Board of Regents Report Card, more than any other university in the TBR system.

The university surpasses its peer universities in such areas as student satisfaction, graduation rate, annual cost and alumni satisfaction, earning high marks once again in the 1999 version of the report, released this week.

Each year since the TBR began its annual report card to gauge accountability to state taxpayers, TTU has been unmatched in student satisfaction, this year claiming a 91 percent "very satisfied" or "satisfied" response rate compared to a TBR overall average of approximately 85 percent.

"Students have always come first at Tennessee Tech Ð ensuring they receive a top quality education at a reasonable price is why we're here," TTU President Angelo Volpe said.

"Receiving such consistently high scores by our students says a great deal about the faculty and staff at Tennessee Tech. This simply reinforces what we've always known -- that TTU is the best education value in the state."

The second closest scores in student satisfaction are 88 percent from East Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis. Tennessee State University ranked 87 percent, Middle Tennessee State University ranked 80 percent, and Austin Peay State University ranked 73 percent.

Not only are more students satisfied with their TTU experience, more are dedicated to graduating within six years compared to the rest of the TBR universities.

At TTU, 51 percent of first-time freshmen graduated between 1993 and 1999 Ð a whopping 10 percent higher than the TBR overall average of 41 percent. Tennessee Tech scores even higher among freshman who declare their majors their first year Ð 57 percent graduate within six years at TTU while the TBR average is 43 percent.

Ranking next in graduation rates were APSU, ETSU and TSU, each of whom have a 40 percent score.

"We attract students who are dedicated to earning an education and are willing to work diligently for it," Volpe said. "But we also do our best to ensure a successful college experience."

Most students attending TTU have scored at or above the national average on standardized tests of core knowledge and skill Ð 55 percent received that ranking, second in the TBR, but also much higher than the TBR average of 48 percent.

While only 81 percent of TBR undergraduate programs evaluated by external review teams met at least 90 percent of the established standards, Tennessee Tech was the only university to score 100 percent.

Tennessee Tech students also far surpass TBR student groups in another compelling category Ð financial aid. Some 67 percent of TTU students receive some sort of financial aid compared to 60 percent systemwide.

And paying for college is a serious concern, for parents and students alike, which makes folks at TTU proud that while still offering a top-notch education, the costs at Tennessee Tech are less expensive than the rest of the TBR universities.

Attending TTU in the current academic year (1999-2000) will cost $2,420 in fees compared to a TBR average of $2,543 and a national average of more than $3,300.

"Although facing severe budget cuts and tightening our belt across the university, we have managed to do our part to keep tuition and fees affordable for our students Ð something we are very proud of," Volpe said.

Satisfaction doesn't stop for TTU students once they graduate, however. According to the TBR report, 93 percent of Tennessee Tech's alumni rated the university as "excellent" or "good." Scoring the next highest in alumni satisfaction was Austin Peay, with 85 percent, while the overall TBR average was 81 percent.

"Our entire TTU family, in addition to being some of the most hardworking and dedicated, have been the most persevering," Volpe said. "Despite the hardships of budget cuts and fiscal restraints, they continue to outperform the average and often way above the norm."