Issued each year by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc., an independent research and consulting organization, the "best buy" list identifies the 100 American colleges and universities providing students the highest quality education at the lowest cost.
Earlier this year, The Princeton Review named TTU one of the nation's 50 "Best Value" public colleges and universities—one of only three universities in Tennessee, and the only Tennessee Board of Regents institution, to make the combined list of 100 "Best Value" public and private schools.
"Being a 'best buy' is important to our university because it means our students, and high school students ready to choose a college, have access to quality teaching and resources at an affordable cost," said TTU President Bob Bell. "Continuing to earn this designation also reflects our continuing commitment to students."
As the report title indicates, only 100 colleges or universities are included in the listing each year. Six institutions from Tennessee are listed this year, including only three public universities: TTU, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and University of Tennessee-Martin.
The research company compiled its report from a survey of 1,449 accredited U.S. colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degree programs and provide facilities for room and board. Of the institutions surveyed, 1,107 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 2009 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 2010-2011 for two semesters below or not exceeding the national average by more than 10 percent.
TTU's entering freshmen posted a grade point average of 3.4, that's up from last year's 3.32 GPA and higher than the national average of 3.3. TTU's average ACT score for that group matched the national average at 23.
The university's out-of-state costs were almost $6,000 less than the national average. In-state costs are estimated at $13,166.
TTU recorded its 10th straight year of record enrollment this fall, with 11,538 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 keys to earning many recent accolades.