U.S. News has ranked University of the Cumberlands (UC) in the top five percent of the nation’s Top Performers on Social Mobility for 2020. Cumberlands was the highest-ranked private university in the South.

“Social mobility” is the measurement of how well a college or university supports lower-income students. U.S. News calculated social mobility by researching colleges’ income-based graduation rates, specifically the graduation rates of students who received Pell Grants.

“From removing traditional enrollment barriers to providing comprehensive student supports, this recognition highlights the emphasis we place on student success at Cumberlands,” said Dr. Emily Coleman, Vice President for Student Services.

Pell Grants are given to students whose households earn less than $50,000 annually. Most Pell Grant money goes to students whose family income is below $20,000.

U.S. News also took colleges’ tuition costs into account in their calculations, as affordability is often a hurdle for lower-income students. Beginning this fall, tuition for all on-campus undergraduates at Cumberlands was cut by 57 percent, making UC the most affordable private university in Kentucky. Even with the lower tuition, Cumberlands provides financial aid to 95 percent of its undergraduate student body.