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Baptist university to lower tuition by 57% in effort to make education more affordable for families

Baptist university to lower tuition by 57% in effort to make education more affordable for families

Sep 6, 2018

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (BP) – Tuition rates will be cut 57 percent at the University of the Cumberlands for the 2018-2019 academic year under a plan known as "The Cumberlands Commitment."

Tuition for on-campus undergraduate students will be reduced from $23,000 to $9,875 at the university affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

"We are making this change because we are committed to putting our students and families first by addressing the most significant hurdle to a college education – affordability," Cumberlands President Larry L. Cockrum said. "We want all students to know that with Cumberlands there is a clear and affordable path to a college degree."

Leaders at the university believe that lowering tuition to levels competitive with Kentucky's state-funded universities will result in a major increase in enrollment to offset the reduced tuition.

Cockrum made the announcement to Cumberlands students, faculty and staff on Sept. 4.

The initiative reflects the university's mission to serve students and families throughout the Appalachian region. Currently, 82 percent of Cumberlands students come from Appalachia, with 53 percent from Kentucky. The university, with 10,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs, is located in the southeastern Kentucky town of Williamsburg.

The tuition decrease means the total annual cost for undergrads will drop from $32,000 to $19,175; the school said it will continue to maintain a scholarship system for academic, athletic and extracurricular awards.

"The Cumberlands Commitment we're making today means that out-of-pocket costs will not increase for any of our students," Cockrum said. "We will continue to work each and every day to make tuition affordable to anyone who has dreams of higher education and greater opportunity.

Larry Rector, Cumberlands director of financial aid, said he speaks to students "each day about college finances, including student loans and managing that debt beyond college.... From this point forward, this university can send college graduates into the world with the financial peace of mind not available to many of their peers."

While cuts are being made to tuition, university officials said there will be no cuts in programs or services provided to students, and no reduction in faculty or staff.

"This university has done all the right things in recent years to make the student experience the best that it can be," said Jerry Jackson, Cumberlands vice president for enrollment. "We experienced growth this fall beyond our projections in undergraduate enrollment, and we have grown in that regard for the last five years. With a transparent pricing model that reduces tuition costs, we expect even more students to find Cumberlands the perfect fit for them."

Founded in 1888 by a group of Baptist minsters as the Williamsburg Institute, it became Cumberland College in 1913 and the University of the Cumberlands in 2006.

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