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New State Laws in Health Care Taking Effect July 1

Press release from the Tennessee Medical Association, July 13, 2018:

The following bills passed by the 2018 General Assembly are effective July 1, 2018 and may be of special interest to physicians since they could require action or reporting. Others are for information only. Contact the TMA Legal Department at 800-659-1862 or becky.morrissey@tnmed.org with any questions.

Action required by physicians

Solicitation of Accident and Disaster Victims by Health Care Prescribers – PC 638
Health care prescribers, their employees, agents, or independent contractors may NOT conduct in-person solicitation, telemarketing, or telephonic solicitation of victims of disasters or accidents to market services of the healing arts related the accident or victim. Exceptions and other requirements are detailed in Section III of the Law Guide topic Advertising.

Extremely Dense Breast Tissue – PC 750

In 2013, the General Assembly passed a law requiring notification to patients when breast imaging shows the patient has dense breasts based on data established by the American College of Radiology. The notification language was updated with this 2018 legislation. The required language is found by clicking on the link to the public chapter.

Nonresidential Office-Based Opiate Treatment – PC 978

Important changes are made to the definition of nonresidential office-based opiate treatment facility. It includes, but is not limited to, stand-alone clinics, treatment resources, and individual physical locations occupied as the professional practice of a prescriber(s) licensed pursuant to Title 63 (physicians). The new definition will expand the number of physician practices that will come under the definition and subject to licensing by the state.

Requirements for Prescribing and Dispensing of Opioids – PC 901

Prior to prescribing more than a three-day supply of an opioid or an opioid dosage that exceeds a total of a 180 MMEs to a woman of childbearing age (ages 15-44), a prescriber must take certain steps. See section X) A) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions.

Governor’s Bill, Tennessee Together – PC 1039

This legislation was filed to address the state’s opioid abuse epidemic. TMA was actively engaged in providing input and amending the filed bill to ensure that it did not unreasonably obstruct patients in legitimate pain from getting the care they need. There are several changes to opioid prescribing that physicians must follow. See section X) B) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions for the specific restrictions.

Information Only – No reporting/action required by physicians

Direct Administration of Buprenorphine Mono – PC 674

An exemption was added to the list of times buprenorphine mono or buprenorphine without naloxone may be used for the treatment of addiction. This exemption states that it may be used for the treatment of substance use disorder pursuant to a medical order or prescription order from an MD or DO. This does not permit it to be dispensed to a patient in a manner that would permit it to be administered away from the premises on which it is dispensed. See section VIII. B) 4) (d)(ii) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions.

Maintenance of Certification – PC 694

This bill passed in 2018, due in large part, to the advocacy efforts of TMA. This law details how hospitals and insurance plans may or may not differentiate between physicians that have maintenance of certification and those that do not when it comes to facility privileges and credentialing. See the Law Guide topic titled Maintenance of Certification for the details of this new law.

Down Syndrome Information Act of 2018 – PC 773

A healthcare provider who renders prenatal or postnatal care or a genetic counselor who renders genetic counseling may, upon receipt of a positive test result from a test for Down syndrome, provide the expectant or new parent with the information provided by the department under this part. The Department of Health will make information available on its website to share with patients.

Barter of Goods and Services as Payment for Healthcare Services – PC 1037

A physician may accept goods or services as payment in a direct exchange of barter for healthcare services provided by the physician if the patient to whom the healthcare services are provided is not covered by health insurance coverage. A physician who accepts barter as payment in accordance with this section shall annually submit a copy of the relevant federal tax form disclosing the physician’s income from barter to the physician’s licensing board. This law shall not apply to any healthcare services provided at a pain management clinic.

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TTU Slugger Bringing Home National Recognition

Press Release from Tennessee Tech Sports Information Service, May 21, 2018:

Strohschein tabbed semifinalist for Golden Spikes Awards

(Story by By Mike Lehman)

DURHAM, N.C. – Tennessee Tech junior designated hitter/outfielder Kevin Strohschein was named a semifinalist for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award, announced by USA Baseball Monday.

Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 41st Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur baseball player in the country, will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.

Strohschein becomes the first ever Golden Eagle named as a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and is one of just 25 players in the nation to make the list. He also was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.

Both Strohschein and Chambers represent the first Golden Eagle players named as Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists. The junior slugger has helped lead Tech to a consensus Top-25 national ranking, – currently as high as No. 18 by Perfect Game – a program-record 46 victories, an Ohio Valley Conference-record 27 league wins and the OVC regular season title. Winners of 37 of their past 39 games, the Golden Eagles also set the OVC record with a 28-game winning streak from Mar. 13 to Apr. 28

The first player in OVC history to win both Rookie and Player of the Year in the same season back in 2016, Strohschein leads the Golden Eagles with 93 hits, 16 home runs and a .694 slugging percentage. He is batting .396 in 53 games on the year, totaling 62 runs, 16 doubles, three triples, 60 RBI and a .453 on base percentage.

Beginning with the announcement of semifinalists, a ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters. From Monday, May 21 through Sunday, June 3, the voting body will select three semifinalists from the ballot to be named as Golden Spikes Award finalists and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95 percent weight of each athlete’s total, while fan votes will account for the remaining 5 percent.

The finalists will then be announced on Wednesday, June 6. Beginning that same day through Friday, June 22, the voting body and fans will be able to cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner.

Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award last year, joining a group of recent winners that include Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).

The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

Changes to Center Hill Lake Master Plan Drawn Up

Press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District Office, May 4, 2018:

Public invited to workshop, open house for CHL Master Plan revision

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 4, 2018) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District invites the public to a workshop for the Center Hill Lake Master Plan revision from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at the DeKalb County Community Complex in Smithville, Tenn. The open house is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2018 at the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office in Lancaster, Tenn.

The purpose of this workshop and Open House is to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed improvements to the current 1984 Master Plan. An associated draft Environmental Assessment (EA) will also be available for review and comment and have a concurrent public comment period.

Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla said that this gives the public an opportunity to review the elements that make up the master plan and provide comments. There will be no formal presentation so the interested parties can stop by any time between 6 to 8 p.m. at the workshop or any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Open House.

A link to the draft copy of the Master Plan can be viewed prior to the public events by visiting https://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16021coll7/id/6703/rec/1 and will also be available for review at the workshop and Open House.

You may also request a copy of the documents by emailing a request to CenterHillLake@usace.army.mil. Written comments and requests will be accepted at the workshop, Open House, emailed to CenterHillLake@usace.army.mil or mailed to the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 158 Resource Lane, Lancaster, TN 38569. All comments and requests must be received by the Resource Manager’s Office no later than Friday, June 22, 2018 to be considered.

The DeKalb County Community Complex is located at 712 South Congress Blvd, Smithville, TN 37166 and the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office is located at 158 Resource Lane, Lancaster, TN 38569.

For any questions pertaining to the public workshop or the Master Plan Revision, please call the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Center-Hill-Dam-Safety-Rehabilitation-Project/.

The public can also obtain news, updates and information about Center Hill Lake on the lake’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/Center-Hill-Lake, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake/.

For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.

State Comptroller Questions Overton/Pickett Emergency Communications Spending

Press Release from the Office of Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson, April 22, 2018:

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has identified $84,097.95 of questionable expenditures within the Overton/Pickett Emergency Communications District. The district provides enhanced 911 emergency telephone service for Overton and Pickett Counties.

Comptroller investigators question the use of district funds for a variety of purchases including $18,700.12 in food. The district purchases food on a regular basis and investigators question whether many of the food items and supplies are used solely for district-related purposes. These purchases included alcohol, medications, and a variety of purchases at groceries and restaurants.

The questionable expenses also include the district director’s use of the district’s credit cards to purchase $678.05 in fuel while on multiple personal out-of-state trips. District board members were not aware the director used his assigned district vehicle for personal out-of-state travel.

Investigators have also raised questions about the purchase of equipment such as a $3,599.95 massage chair for the district’s office, and a drill press and sand blast cabinet, which are located in the Emergency Management Agency building.

Other questionable expenditures for training classes, public relations, travel payments in excess of policy, possible conflict of interest purchases, and items that are not exclusively used in district operations are noted in the investigative report.

Comptroller investigators attempted to speak with all full-time employees of the district. However, the majority of the full-time employees declined to meet with investigators; therefore, investigators were unable to confirm whether many of the district’s purchases were for the benefit of the district and its employees or for personal benefit.

“Many of the problems noted in this report can be attributed to oversight,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “District board members must do their part to ensure accountability. This includes discussing and approving major spending and reviewing credit card transactions.”

Investigators have shared their findings and recommendations with the district attorney general for the Thirteenth Judicial District and with the Thirty-first Judicial District, district attorney general Pro Tem.

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT

Media contact: John Dunn, Public Information Officer, (615) 401-7755 or john.dunn@cot.tn.gov

Jeff Woods Construction Wins Best Booth Award at UC Home & Garden Show

Press Release from the Upper Cumberland Home Builders Association, March 23, 2018:

Exhibit Winners at 2018 Upper Cumberland Home & Garden Show

COOKEVILLE, TN – At the Upper Cumberland Home & Garden Show in Cookeville, the Home Builders Association presented awards to exhibits, based on effective marketing of company and products.

Jeff Woods with Larry Suggs, HBAUC president.

The winner of “Best of Show” was Jeff Woods Construction.

Best Large Exhibit was Bath Fitter. Best Small Exhibit was Pampered Chef.

The metal awards were custom made for the event by JCL Metals. The Home & Garden Show included over 175 exhibits that featured a variety of products and services for homes and outdoor living. For more information about the Home & Garden Show, visit www.uchba.com.

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Register Now for 2018 Guided Waterfall and Wildflower Tours

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, March 20, 2018:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks is offering vacation packages that take visitors on guided tours through some of the state’s most scenic waterfalls, swimming holes and wildflower trails.

Spring, summer and fall tours will take participants through Tennessee’s Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau, an area nationally-known for its cascades, gorges, rock houses and waterfalls. Tours include folklore and history shared by State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath and Park Ranger Cara Alexander, educational and interpretive programs unique to each location, meals and transportation.

Specific tours offered in 2018 are:

  • Waterfalls & Wildflowers Photography Workshop & Tour: April 13-15; locations include Cumberland Mountain State Park, Ozone Falls, Piney Falls and the Head of the Sequatchie; led by published Nature Photographer Byron Jorjorian.
  • Spring Waterfall Tour: April 27-29; locations include Cumberland Mountain State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Ozone Falls, Piney Falls and Lost Creek Falls.
  • Summer Swimming Hole Tour: July 16-18; locations include Edgar Evins State Park, Rock Island State Park, South Cumberland State Park and Cummins Falls State Park.
  • October Waterfall Tour: October 1-3; locations include Cumberland Mountain State Park, Burgess Falls State Park, Colditz Cove State Natural Area, Cummins Falls State Park, Frozen Head State Park and Rock Island State Park.
  • November Waterfall Tour: Nov. 14-16; locations include Cumberland Mountain State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Ozone Falls, Piney Falls and Lost Creek Falls.

All tours are $350/person and include meals, taxes, gratuities, interpretive programming and transportation. Onsite lodging, including camping or cabins, is available at an additional cost.

Complete itineraries and registration information can be found at https://tnstateparks.com/about/tennessee-state-parks-vacation-packages.

$9.6M for Industrial Site Preparation Sent to TN Communities

Press Release from the Office of Governor Bill Haslam, March 21, 2018:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced today that 25 communities will receive more than $9.6 million in Site Development Grants.

The Site Development Grant program is part of the larger Rural Economic Opportunity Act passed in 2016 and updated in 2017.

“By making our rural communities ready for investment and economic success, we help them attract jobs and more opportunities for citizens,” Haslam said. “I congratulate the Site Development Grant program recipients and look forward to watching as they thrive and bring new businesses to our state.”

The grants are intended to help rural communities overcome barriers to site certification and prepare them to receive an economic development project that creates jobs in their community. These funds assist communities in finalizing infrastructure and engineering improvements for project-ready certified sites.

“We want to help these rural communities up their game and increase their close rate by making our rural county site inventory among the most attractive and project-ready in the world,” Rolfe said. “We are proud to see these 25 communities taking the initiative to invest in themselves and look forward to seeing their future success.”

“Each of the recipients is taking a major step to enhance their community and with the assistance of the site development grants, they are given the opportunity to compete for jobs and business,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner for Community and Rural Development Amy New said. “The Site Development program shows great return on investment, and I am thankful that the investment from the Rural Economic Opportunity Act will continue to help many more communities in the years to come.”

The Site Development Grant program works in cooperation with the department’s Select Tennessee Site Certification program.

“Through its Site Development Grant program, TNECD has awarded $21.6 million over three years to communities throughout Tennessee,” TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said. “These grants are a valuable resource for local economic development projects, demonstrating Tennessee’s proactive approach to industrial development and support for further growth and job creation.”

Applications were reviewed by an advisory committee made up of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Austin Consulting, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

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Appalachian Center for Craft Connects Kids with Art Skills

Press Release from Tennessee Tech University, March 21, 2018:

Middle schoolers learn crafts hands-on at Craft Center

Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft hosted students from Janis Nunnally’s eighth grade art class from Upperman Middle School as part of its Outreach Program recently.

Students chose a medium in which to work and got hands-on experience in that craft. They made hooks in blacksmithing, enameled copper, made glass beads, learned clay hand-building and slip decorating techniques, carved wooden spoons, Shibori dyed silk, and, on the second day of outreach, a book-making class was offered.

Nunnally has been bringing her students to the Craft Center for years.

“Taking UMS eighth graders on their annual trip to the Appalachian Center for Crafts is always a wonderful experience,” Nunnally said. “The students discover a world outside of their community while finding out that they can create amazing things!”

During the more than thirty years of its existence, this outreach program has served tens of thousands of students from the Upper Cumberland and from as far away as Memphis and Chattanooga. The program allows eighth through 12th grade students to experience college-level, hands-on art activities in professionally equipped studios on the craft center campus.

“The students got the opportunity to create projects that we are not able to do at school,” Nunnally said. “They did amazing work and were so proud of their artwork. It is a joy to work with Gail Gentry on this field trip, she is always able to be calm and make it all work!”

It is funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission. To learn more about the Appalachian Center for Craft, visit https://www.tntech.edu/craftcenter/.

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TFA: Similarities Seen in Speaker Harwell’s Handling of Guns, Medical Pot

Press Release from the Tennessee Firearms Association, March 22, 2018:

Rep. Jeremy Faison expresses frustration with a “special kind of stupid” as one of Beth Harwell’s House committees continues to play games with his legislation on medical marijuana.

Tennessee Firearms Association wants to recognize with appreciation the frustration that has caused Rep. Jeremy Faison to finally share with the public the hard facts of trying to pass controversial legislation even when the law or facts might be otherwise clear.

His comments related to his efforts to enact “medical marijuana” legislation, a topic not normally addressed by TFA other than its impact under federal law on the 2nd Amendment rights of those who might be helped by such a law. However, his comments evidencing his frustrations with Beth Harwell’s committee leaders and system are strikingly similar to the problems that 2nd Amendment advocates have experienced repeatedly and consistently under a Republican “super majority” when led by the wrong kinds of leaders.

On March 21, Rep. Faison presented his medical marijuana legislation to the House Criminal Justice committee. The bill debate started but did not finish. Speaking to reporters after his bill was pushed off, Rep. Faison’s frustrations with the situation were evident in his comments as recorded by a local news station:

“You gotta be a special kind of stupid to not realize this helps Parkinson’s,” Faison said. “This whole notion that this is a schedule one drug, you are a special kind of ignorant human being if you think this is still a schedule one drug. That means there’s no value to human life. Holy smokes. Why don’t you tell that to all of the people who are illegally alive today that this plant has no value to them.”

Over the last 8 years, the super majority of Republicans in the Tennessee legislature have been under the total control of certain individuals who identify as Republicans. During this time bills to eliminate infringements on the 2nd Amendment and the Tennessee constitution have repeatedly been shut down in the committee system or in the Senate under the thumb of the Lt. Governor and Judiciary chairman Brian Kelsey.

Sadly, those conspiring in the shenanigans and stunts often rely heavily on representatives from law enforcement, Haslam’s administration, the TBI, and the Department of Safety rather than to rely on the single sentence comprising the 2nd Amendment.

What bill topics have they killed?

– constitutional carry
– permitless open carry
– permitless concealed carry
– eliminate gun free zones
– decriminalize the posting statute relative to private property
– holding businesses and government agencies that post “no guns” liable to individuals injured as a result of those policies
– prohibit 2nd Amendment based discrimination by local governments
– allow citizens to have private rights of action against government officials over 2nd Amendment violations
– exempt permit holders from the TICS/NICS system
– eliminate the TICS system (at a cost of over $5,000,000 per year to gun owners) and proceed under the NICS system
– failures to treat all “citizens” equally relative to the rights of self-defense, carrying of arms, and reciprocity
– true restoration of rights on entry of a court order of restoration or pardon
– allow school employees who want to carry to do so
– campus carry for college students
– campus carry for parents and adults
– eliminate inclusion of antique weapons as a “firearm” so that state and federal definitions are consistent; and
– enforce the 10th Amendment against federal infringements of the 2nd Amendment

… just to name a few.

Now, not all gun owners may be 100% on all of these issues. That’s ok – that is how a constitutional republic works.

However, it is critical to understand that through stunts and shenanigans by leadership and the committee chairs over the last 8 years these issues are not even getting to the floors of the respective houses for consideration and debate by all legislators. That is outright disenfranchisement of the voters because probably 80%-90% of the elected legislators in the last 8 years have never had the opportunity or the duty to debate or to vote and be held accountable on these topics. Sadly, that same 80-90% have never acted in unison to demand that these issues be put before them on the floors of the House or Senate.

What can you say about 8 years of votes, stonewalling, stunts, shenanigans and dereliction in a system set up and controlled by the Legislative leadership to make sure that these bills are never openly heard and debated on the House or Senate floors by all elected representatives and senators?

Do they not understand that these issues implicate constitutionally protected rights? Do they not understand that these issues directly impact the capacity for individuals to defend themselves, their spouses, their families and friends? Do they not understand that keeping, bearing and wearing arms are not just about hunting or recreational activities?

Borrowing from Rep. Faison’s frustrations on medical marijuana should we now be asking if these legislators who are at fault for these shenanigans and abuses are a “special kind of stupid” or a “special kind of ignorant”? Is it something even worse than failing to comprehend the constitutional significance? Is it something worse than ignoring campaign promises? Is it a willingness to disenfranchise the citizens of 80-90% of the state whose elected legislators are never called upon to consider and vote on these issues?

Again, TFA applauds the enthusiasm that Rep. Faison has shown on a topic that is clearly important to him and on which he is trying get a vote. TFA applauds Rep. Faison for looking past the stonewalling and raising the important question for voters and citizens of whether such failures are special stupidity, special ignorance or something else.

If you are tired of the stonewalling, the shenanigans, the disenfranchisement that has been the standard operating procedures under Beth Harwell’s leadership – then you need to be doing something about it. Call your legislators and demand that all 2nd Amendment bills be brought to the floor this year – this election year. Go ahead – demand it because our bet is that they will simply listen but not do it. Then, after they have been given a chance we encourage you to go to the polls in August and vote to replace those who have conspired to disenfranchise you, those who have ignored the constitution and those who have stood by as mere spectators while their peers have so clearly chosen to keep these important issues from public hearings, debate and consideration by all elected legislators.

Let your voice be heard and contact your legislators. You can identify your legislators on this website tool.

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TTU Grads Tops in Loan Repayment in TN

Press Release from Tennessee Tech University, March 13, 2018:

Tech is ranked first in Tennessee among public colleges and universities, and second in the state overall once private institutions are considered, by both groups.

Nationally, Tech is ranked #83 by Student Loan Report and #121 by LendEDU.

“College is a significant investment,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “Students and their parents need to consider the return on that investment. These rankings, along with numerous others, show that Tennessee Tech provides a strong return on that investment by providing a high-quality education at an affordable price.”

The only other public university in the top five of Student Loan Report’s rankings for the state is the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (#5/#226 nationally). Vanderbilt University is the top-ranked school in Tennessee (#1/#78 nationally). More than 1,000 schools were ranked in the report.

The annual Student Debt Repayment Success Indicator report uses a formula to determine graduates’ chances of successfully repaying student debt. The indicator includes early career salary, student loan default rate, and average student loan debt per borrower. Several datasets – including federal repayment data from the Department of Education, data from Peterson’s Financial Aid dataset, and early career data from PayScale – are used.

The study showed Tech’s early career pay at $51,000 with the debt per borrower at $19,363 and the default rate at 5.31 percent for an indicator rating of 2.49.

A similar index from LendEdu, the College Risk-Reward Indicator, also ranked Tech as the top public university in the state, second overall and #121 nationally. Tech is the only public university in LendEDU’s top five rankings for the state. Nearly 1,000 schools were ranked by LendEDU.

LendEDU compared the average student loan debt per borrower with the average early career pay, or the median salary for alumni with zero to five years of experience.

The Student Loan Report rankings are at https://studentloans.net/student-debt-repayment-success-indicator/. The LendEDU rankings are at https://lendedu.com/blog/college-risk-reward-indicator-2018.