Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

This is the seventh consecutive year for Cumberlands to receive this national honor and third year of being recognized as one of Kentucky's best colleges.

University of the Cumberlands is a private university that accepts students from all backgrounds and countries, and, what’s more, was recently named a College of Distinction. It’s the seventh consecutive year for Cumberlands to receive this national honor, and the third year in a row for it to be included on Colleges of Distinction’s list of best Christian colleges, best Kentucky colleges, best colleges for pursuing a business degree, and best colleges to pursue an education degree.

Per a release by Colleges of Distinction, inclusion on these lists “reflects University of the Cumberlands’ dedication to fostering hands-on learning, strong student-faculty relationships, an active campus community, and stellar student outcomes.” The organization’s chief operating officer, Tyson Schritter, noted how “a college degree opens the door to many opportunities.”

Dr. Trey Jarboe, provost at Cumberlands, agreed. “The ultimate goal of receiving a higher education isn’t just having a degree in hand, it’s the career you’re now prepared for and the connections you’ll make,” he said. “A piece of paper alone doesn’t enhance your life. It’s the knowledge gained, skills strengthened, and life lessons learned throughout your college journey that improve your life moving forward. At Cumberlands, we do all we can to give students the best experience possible and prepare them for the next step in life, whatever that may be for them.”

Cumberlands was founded by Baptist ministers in 1888 and continues to emphasize Christian ministry and community service opportunities. In April, the Appalachian Ministries team on campus received a Faith-Based Governor’s Service Award for its annual community service program Shoes 4 the Soul. The event ministers to hundreds of local schoolchildren in need every year, welcoming them onto Cumberlands’ campus to spend time with college students, have their feet washed (mirroring how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in the Bible), and receive brand-new socks, shoes, and a drawstring bag full of hygiene items. The university hosts other ministries as well, such as Mountain Outreach, a ministry begun by Cumberlands students in 1982, which specializes in construction projects such as building new homes for those in need.

Over the years, Cumberlands has continued refining its academic programs, including its business and education offerings. Both areas of study have received recognition by Colleges of Distinction for multiple consecutive years.

The university has broadened its undergraduate business programming in recent years, now offering bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business administration, finance, management, marketing, and supply chain and project management. Annually, Hutton School of Business hosts a business forum on Cumberlands’ Williamsburg campus so business students can learn from and engage with local successful business owners.

Cumberlands’ education programming continues to be strong as well, with many undergraduate students pursuing education as their major. The university offers bachelor’s degree programs in Elementary, middle, and interdisciplinary early childhood education, as well as bachelor’s programs in special education and disciplines such as biology, mathematics, art, health and physical education, music, and social studies.

The university offers dozens of other undergraduate programs, both on campus and online. In addition, online graduate and executive programs are available. Visit www.ucumberlands.edu/academics to learn more.

The recognition by Colleges of Distinction comes on the heels of other notable accolades for the university within the past year. In 2023 alone, Cumberlands was listed as a best college for affordability by Money magazine, was ranked one of the top 10 non-profit online universities nationwide, and was the top institution in Kentucky for empowering students in social mobility (for the second consecutive year), among other accomplishments. Already this year, Cumberlands was listed as the most affordable university in Kentucky, public or private. The university cut its tuition by more than half back in 2018 and has since expanded its “Cumberlands Commitment” to include free textbooks for all students. Learn more about Cumberlands’ affordability at www.ucumberlands.edu/admission-aid


About University of the Cumberlands
University of the Cumberlands is the largest private university in Kentucky and one of the fastest-growing private doctoral universities in the nation. The university offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs to students from all over the world. Rooted in Christian values such as leadership through service, Cumberlands aims to make higher education affordable and accessible to all.

About Colleges of Distinction
Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools with a dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. Its website provides dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information, and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit www.CollegesofDistinction.com