Skip to main content

The Cumberlands Commitment FAQ

What is the tuition reduction plan and how does it impact current tuition rates?

A tuition reduction plan is being implemented by University of the Cumberlands. Under this plan, tuition is being lowered from the current amount of $23,000 per year to $9,875 per year. 

Who will benefit from the reduction plan?

The reduction plan benefits undergraduate students taking classes on our Williamsburg campus. Every student on campus in the fall of 2019 will benefit from the tuition plan and see a lower overall price.

Does the tuition reduction plan impact online or graduate program costs?

No. Our online and graduate programs are already affordably priced. We built these programs on three premises – quality instruction, affordability and service to students. We will maintain these principles and carry them to our traditional undergraduate student body. 

When does the reduction plan take effect?

The reduction plan will be in place for every on campus undergraduate student at the start of the 2019 Fall Semester. 

How does the new tuition plan benefit current students?

We used existing financial aid information and completed a comparative analysis of the current tuition model versus the planned tuition reduction model. This analysis shows that every existing on-campus student will benefit, with an average out-of-pocket savings of $1,298. The average Kentucky student will save nearly $3,200 per year under this plan, or $12,800 over their college career.

How does the tuition reset impact room and board?

The tuition reduction plan does not impact room and board. For the fall of 2019, our room and board plan will cost $9,300 per year. 

How do students get financial aid under the tuition reduction plan?

Students should complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as soon as possible. Visit for more information.

How will the reduction plan impact financial aid, workstudy, and scholarships for students?

All students must complete their 2019-2020 FAFSA on or after October 1 to be able to receive maximum state and federal grant aid, including workstudy. Once those financial components are identified, we will be able to determine on an individual basis the exact benefit each student will receive under this plan. We will continue offering scholarships that are merit and athletic based, and those scholarships will be factored into the overall financial aid awarding process. No returning student will lose money under this plan where actual costs are determined.

When will students (current and new) get their new financial aid information?

Students can begin filing FAFSA on October 1, 2018. Once FAFSA information is available, our financial aid team will provide current students with financial aid awards and information under the new tuition plan. We anticipate this to happen prior to the close of the fall term.  

How does the reduction plan impact athletic scholarships?

Cumberlands will continue to award athletic scholarships based on performance. On average, total out-of-pocket for our student athletes will decrease under the new tuition model. 

Will you recruit more student-athletes under this new tuition plan?

We do expect more student-athletes to show interest in Cumberlands as an option to continue their educational and athletic career. However, we do not intend to expand team rosters beyond current levels or beyond levels that will allow us to remain competitive in our conference. 

Will Cumberlands increase tuition in a few years to offset this reduction plan?

The plan is built on enrollment growth, not tuition increases.  Cumberlands has maintained tuition rates for the three years prior to announcing this plan. There are no hidden fees or other costs being introduced as part of this plan. We anticipate continuing to manage positive growth in the graduate and online divisions and also see enrollment grow at the undergraduate level. These factors will enable the University to enact the tuition reduction plan and manage the pricing level for years to come. 

As a result of the tuition reduction plan, will programs, activities, and services to students also be reduced?

As part of The Cumberlands Commitment, there will be no negative impact on student services, programs, investment in facilities, or faculty. Cumberlands will continue investing in these areas to make our campus experience the best in Kentucky. 

Why is University of the Cumberlands reducing tuition?

Our tuition is currently priced in line with many other private institutions within the state and country. The published tuition price is rarely what students pay upon enrollment because of an extensive and complicated scholarship system that can leave many students and families confused about the entire financial aid process. We are eliminating this complicated structure and instituting a simplistic and transparent pricing model that we believe will allow more families to see the true costs of college, realize the value they will receive, and understand that a private college education at Cumberlands is affordable. 

What is wrong with the current tuition pricing structure?

The current pricing structure creates a perception that a Cumberlands education is not affordable for many of the families we serve throughout the Appalachian region. The process can leave many families confused about scholarship plans, state and federal financial aid awards, and actual costs. This tuition reduction plan creates a simplified financial aid process where students and families can clearly see the bottom line – scholarships, grant aid, and debt included – and make a sound financial investment regarding their college education. We are confident this tuition plan will benefit the students that view Cumberlands as an option for their education. 

How is University of the Cumberlands able to reduce tuition?

Over the last five years, Cumberlands has experienced enrollment growth in all areas, especially in our online and graduate programs. Increased enrollment has allowed Cumberlands to invest in the Williamsburg campus facilities, reduce institutional debt, and grow traditional undergraduate enrollment. We feel this tuition model will allow us to grow undergraduate enrollment further, thus sustaining the new tuition model. 

Will the University lose money since tuition will be lower?

Cumberlands built the tuition reduction plan with two fronts in mind – one, we increase undergraduate enrollment by approximately 300 students and we retain at least 70 percent of undergraduate students over the course of the first five years of the plan. We are confident we can fulfill those goals in both areas and not lose money under this plan. 

How does this tuition model compare with other schools in Kentucky, especially public institutions?

Under this pricing model, Cumberlands will offer the lowest tuition of any private university in Kentucky. Cumberlands will also offer tuition that is comparable to every public four-year institution in the state.  

Do you expect lower tuition to result in attracting new students to campus?

Yes. We are offering a tuition model very comparable to public four-year institutions that will be attractive to students throughout the state and region. The plan will make it apparent that a private education at Cumberlands is affordable. We expect more families to see Cumberlands as a viable option when planning for college. 

How does the reduction plan impact current faculty and staff and their salaries?

The tuition reduction plan will not impact the number of faculty or staff on campus or cause a reduction in salaries. Cumberlands has one of the most robust and experienced faculty bodies in Kentucky with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. We will continue to maintain our strong faculty presence in order to best serve our students. 

Will you need to hire more faculty and staff to accommodate anticipated growth?

No. We believe we serve our students well in all aspects and currently have the capacity to serve the new students we hope to attract. We continually analyze departmental needs across campus to ensure our students are served in the classroom and throughout the entire campus experience. 

Do you have the classroom and residential capacity to handle anticipated growth?

Yes. We have classroom and residence hall capacity to manage 1600 students. We do not anticipate needing to build new facilities because we do not expect to exceed that number. We are known for being a campus that offers personalized attention to our students, and growth will not remove that trait from our University.

Many improvements have been made to the Williamsburg campus in recent years. Will the reduction plan limit revenue and cause investments in facilities to cease?

No. In 2018, Cumberlands invested over $6 million in the Williamsburg campus through 97 projects including renovations to classroom spaces, residence halls, and athletics facilities. We are fortunate to have no deferred maintenance in any corner of our campus. 

Do you expect the plan to change the profile of students attracted to Cumberlands? Are you changing admissions requirements to attract more students?

No. We do not expect changes in our student profile or admissions standards. Currently, 82 percent of the students we serve are from the Appalachian Region with 53 percent of our undergraduate student body coming from Kentucky.  Our students have an average ACT score of 22 with many interested in community service. Most decide to major in the areas of biology, business, or pre-professional programs. We do not expect any change in this regard other than more students of this nature realizing that, financially and academically, Cumberlands is for them. 

What is current undergraduate enrollment?

We are beginning the fall 2018 semester with 1,366 students on campus. 

Does the tuition model impact the institution’s accreditation in any way?

No. Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has maintained positive standing with this accrediting body, being first accredited in 1964. Accreditation is based on the strength of academic programs, service to students, and financial viability; all areas in which we do very well. The tuition reduction plan will not impact accreditation.  

Are you going to ask alumni and donors for increased donations to supplement the decrease in tuition?

We have always relied on generous donations from alumni and friends and we do not expect that to change. Our alumni and donors have contributed to University of the Cumberlands because they believe in our mission and the work we are fulfilling as an institution. We believe the impact these donations will have on scholarships will be much greater now than under the old tuition model giving confidence to more alumni and friends to contribute to our scholarship endowments.