University of the Cumberlands students, on average, have the lowest student-loan debt and the highest percentage of social mobility of any university in Kentucky, according to a new report by U.S. News and World Report. To view the full report, visit www.usnews.com/colleges.
Cumberlands was one of only two Kentucky universities to make the 2022-2023 U.S. News listing of national colleges whose students acquire the least debt. The university ranked 34th out of 110 universities.
Additionally, Cumberlands received the highest ranking for social mobility of any school in the state, according to U.S. News. The social mobility ranking “measures the extent schools enrolled and graduated students who received federal Pell Grants,” explains the report. Considering that, in general, the average college graduate earns higher wages than a worker without a college degree,1 “social mobility” is essentially the rate at which colleges enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into a higher-income situation, effectively climbing the socioeconomic ladder. Coupled with the fact that Cumberlands students acquire lower student-loan debt on average than other Kentucky universities, this means that the students graduate into higher-income brackets and generally have less debt to pay off than their peers.
The affordability ranking by U.S. News is not unexpected. Since University of the Cumberlands drastically lowered its tuition back in 2019, the school has garnered recognition by various sources for its affordability. So far in 2022, a few specific Cumberlands programs have received such rankings, specifically its master’s in project management degree program and master’s in addiction counseling degree program (University HQ) and its bachelor’s in exercise and sport science (Sports Management Degrees).
Cumberlands was also listed in the U.S. News report for “economic diversity,” ranking 33rd out of 437 colleges listed. Both public and private schools were included on the list. U.S. News gathered data to discover the percentage of students at a college who received Pell Grants. Based on enrollment data from 2021, approximately 53% of Cumberlands students are recipients. Per the report’s methodology, a school’s economic diversity score reflects the value the college places on providing “access to all” regarding higher education.