Tech tops in ‘economic mobility’

tennessee tech
Tennessee Tech’s Derryberry Hall.

COOKEVILLE – A new data-driven higher education index ranks Tennessee Tech University as the top school in the state for contributing to students’ economic mobility, or an individual’s ability to improve their economic status.

Tech ranked No. 38 of the 931 universities included. Middle Tennessee State University, second in the state, ranked 94 overall. All six TBR universities are included in the index.

“Recently, Tennessee Tech has answered the call of programs like Drive to 55 and Tennessee Promise to provide educational opportunities throughout the state,” Tech President Phil Oldham said. “This ranking is an indication that our institution continues to provide great benefits to our students and our community.”

The 2015 Social Mobility Index weighs schools on five variables: tuition; percentage of the student body whose families are below the U.S. median income of $48,000; six-year graduation rate; graduates’ reported salary after graduation; and the university’s endowment. The index does not incorporate data from reputation surveys like U.S. News & World Report or The Princeton Review.

With these variables, the index determined which schools offer the greatest potential for students, especially those of low-income, to change their opportunities and move up into the middle class with a college degree.

The SMI is maintained by CollegeNET, a web technology developer, and PayScale, an online salary information company. It was developed and released in 2014.

Learn more about the SMI rankings and methodology at

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