Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

Cumberlands appears to remain the largest private university in Kentucky and projects fall enrollment to exceed 19,500 by October.

Fall classes have begun at University of the Cumberlands and, after such an unprecedented year, the university is glad to report continued steady enrollment. The preliminary total enrollment is 19,150 students, with approximately 2,000 undergraduate students attending on campus and another 2,400 attending online. Currently, Cumberlands appears to remain the largest private university in Kentucky and projects fall enrollment to exceed 19,500 by October.

This comes on the heels of Cumberlands being named the fastest-growing private doctoral university in the country by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In a message to faculty and staff, Dr. Larry Cockrum, president of the university, gave an update on the status of the university and took time to thank Cumberlands employees for their effort, flexibility, and creativity in guiding the university’s pivot in 2020.

“Last year, we encountered a situation that none of us have ever dealt with in our lifetime. Even though it was extra work, you rose to the task,” he said. “Thank you.”

Earlier in 2021, Dr. Cockrum announced that undergraduate students would have an on-campus experience in the fall, a promise the university is making good on, with caution. Like in the 2020-2021 academic year, Cumberlands’ administration will stay up to date on CDC guidelines throughout the year and implement plans that align with their recommendations.

Cumberlands is housing more than 1,350 students in residence halls this semester – the most residential students in more than five years. More than 780 new students are joining the Patriots ranks this fall. Approximately two-thirds of the on-campus freshman class are from Kentucky, though the class represents 28 states and 22 countries in all. Approximately one in three freshmen are first-generation college students blazing an educational trail for their families. The class is split close to the middle between male/female students and athlete/general students.

Over the past year, Cumberlands accomplished some notable achievements. For instance, the university launched several new programs of study, including an associate degree program in paralegal studies, three emphasis areas for business (finance, strategic management, and strategic marketing), a Master of Science in Finance, a specialty in instructional technology within the Ph.D./EdD in leadership program, and a criminal justice management certificate program. Cumberlands is on its way to opening a new Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, which is set to begin in January 2023. Being an altruistic university, Cumberlands’ Season of Service program hosted more than 220 community service projects for the 2020-2021 school year, with students logging more than 5,200 hours of service. Additionally, a fact Dr. Cockrum noted he was quite proud of, Cumberlands athletes showed up not only in their sport but in the classroom, earning an average GPA of 3.05 across 29 athletic teams.

Many campus projects were completed in the past year as well, particularly during the summer. The university added Habaneros to its meal plan, improved the campus entrance, renovated offices, reforested land, finished building a home for a local family through Mountain Outreach, improved chemistry laboratories, added outdoor seating areas, updated the volleyball team’s locker room, deep-cleaned residence halls, and made various other improvements around campus. The Department of Information Technology refreshed technology on campus, both inside classrooms and outside, to offer better equipment and a stronger internet connection.

Dr. Cockrum concluded his message by saying, “May we act with grace and patience with ourselves and our students and continue to learn how to fulfill our institutional mission of teaching, learning, and service. It is my great privilege to be joining you in this work. Thank you.”