Cumberland University announced today the largest student enrollment in the school’s 178-year history, with 2,550 students this fall.
This represents a 72 percent increase in total enrollment since 2014. In addition to the largest enrollment in school history, Cumberland also welcomed the largest freshman class, with 692 first-time full-time freshman.
“It speaks volumes about the attractiveness of our institution when we can continue to increase our enrollment numbers in a time where many colleges and universities are experiencing declining enrollment,” University President Paul C. Stumb said. “The consistent enrollment growth in recent years is a result of, and a testament to the dedication of all Cumberland students, faculty and staff, as well as our many supporters in Middle Tennessee and beyond.”
A significant reason for the school’s enrollment growth is the state’s Tennessee Promise program, which allows high school students from across the state to attend Cumberland and earn a two-year associate degree, tuition free.
A study published by the University of Tennessee’s Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC) in February 2019, found that between 2015 and 2018, the Tennessee Promise at Cumberland provided access for 1,067 students. In addition, Tennessee Promise students at Cumberland are beating statewide averages in retention and completions, with a degree completion rate of 50.9 percent for the 2016 Tennessee Promise cohort, more than double the statewide average of 23.6 percent.
“Cumberland is a proud partner of the Tennessee Promise program, to which we attribute a portion of our recent growth. In addition to helping Cumberland recruit more students, the Tennessee Promise is helping us to diversify our student body and provide significant college access to students who otherwise couldn’t afford the full college experience at a historic, private university,” Stumb said. “Not only is the Tennessee Promise at Cumberland making higher education more affordable for students, but we’re also significantly exceeding statewide averages in retention and degree completion for these students.”
Cumberland’s total enrollment number is comprised of 2,279 undergraduate students, 271 graduate students and 544 students living on campus. Students at Cumberland represent 60 Tennessee counties, 32 states and 42 countries.