cumberland university accreditation

Flexible, Christian Liberal Arts Education at Cumberland

Cumberland University appears in our ranking of the 50 Most Technologically Advanced Small Colleges.

Ranked in the South’s top 141 by the U.S. News & World Report, Cumberland University is a fast-growing, nonprofit Tennessee institution split into four schools with eight associate, 33 bachelor’s, and eight master’s degrees, including four online programs, at a 17:1 learner-faculty ratio. For example, the Jeanette Cantrell Rudy School of Nursing grants a 65-credit Entry Option II RN-BSN online for licensed associate grads to complete accelerated eight-week, CCNE-accredited courses like Case Management of Vulnerable Populations. Chaired by Dr. Eric Cummings in Memorial Hall, the Child Growth & Learning BS follows a 120-credit curriculum toward K-5 educator certification with 16 weeks of student teaching placements, such as Coles Ferry Elementary or Carroll-Oakland School.

Online on Canvas, the Master of Business Administration headed by Dr. Chris Fuller lets Cumberland University graduates customize a 36-credit, ACBSP-accredited track in General Business, Services, Healthcare Administration, Education Leadership, or Entrepreneurship. The Exercise & Sport Science MS plots a 36-credit, two-year hybrid sequence with five evening and seven online courses like Motor Learning for the ACSM Certified Clinical Specialist title.

Other opportunities include the Criminal Justice AA, English AA, Information Technology BS, Music Performance BM, Biochemistry BS, Design BFA, Teaching MAE, Sports Management MA, and Executive Leadership MSN.

About Cumberland University

Cumberland University originated in 1842 when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church installed Robert L. Caruthers as the first president of Cumberland College. In 1847, it opened the first law school west of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1853, the Cumberland University name was adopted and a theological school was added. By 1865, its original campus designed by famed architect William Strickland was destroyed in Civil War conflict. In 1892, Cumberland’s present 40-acre home outside Nashville was purchased. Acquired by the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 1946, it was formally accredited on January 1, 1962. That Fall, the School of Law was sold to Samford University in Birmingham. In 1982, junior college courses were replaced with four-year bachelor’s degrees. In 1995, Cumberland’s Labry School started an MBA that’s online today.

Endowed for $11.5 million, Cumberland University now educates 1,653 full-time and 661 part-time Phoenix from 19 countries online and face-to-face in Lebanon with 60+ clubs like the Nurses Christian Fellowship. In 2018, Cumberland received the Circle Stewardship Award for its Omicron Delta Kappa Chapter. Six years earlier, CU won a National Association for Music Education Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. On Niche, CU boasts America’s 291st hardest academics, 537th most conservative students, and 658th best athletics department. College Factual placed Cumberland 313th for nursing, 143rd for studio arts, and 76th for management sciences programs. Money Magazine crowned Cumberland University the 666th top value with a median $77,200 mid-career salary. The Tennessee Board of Education Report Board also named Cumberland #1 statewide for teachers.

Cumberland University Accreditation Details

On June 14, 2018, Cumberland University had its warning officially removed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees to satisfactorily continue Level III accreditation through the Spring 2020 review under its 26th president, Dr. Paul Cavert Stumb IV, who earned the Navy Commendation Medal. Located 253 miles down Interstate 75 in Decatur, Georgia, this esteemed 11-state Southeast Region accreditor is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and Tennessee State Department of Education. The 2018-19 Catalog also lists the following discipline-specific accreditations:

  • Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

Cumberland University Application Requirements

Enrolling at Cumberland University is classified “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because just 331 of the 713 Fall 2017 applicants were triumphant for selective 46 percent acceptance. First-year Phoenix must exhibit academic ability and motivation in their high school diploma or GED achievement. Minimum unweighted GPAs of 3.0 are required, though the average is 3.3. Freshmen must reach at least the 21 ACT or 1060 SAT composite mark. Online RN-BSN entrants need to transfer 60+ credits from an accredited associate nursing program. Five courses like Microbiology and Anatomy are prerequisite. Proof of valid registered nursing licensure and two years of bedside experience are mandated. Online MSN cohorts must hold GPAs above 2.5 in Bachelor of Science in Nursing curricula that includes Statistics. The Online MAE only admits initially certified K-12 teachers with passing Praxis scores. Master’s programs prefer students with at least a 290 GRE or 38 MAT grade too.

Cumberland University generally has rolling admission to enter any eight-week session. Non-U.S. residents must leave at least six months before desired start dates for F-1 eligibility status. International applicants also need a minimum of 500 pBT or 173 cBT score on the TOEFL exam. Note the Tennessee Promise Program has a firm January 16th deadline though. Accordingly, use the zApply portal to submit the CU Admissions Form online for $25 ($50 if foreign). Have official transcripts sent directly to 1 Cumberland Square in Lebanon, TN 37087. Additional materials include the standardized test report, financial support affidavit, immunization record, insurance documentation, RN license copy, experience résumé, and objectives statement. Learn more by contacting (615) 444-2562 or

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Cumberland University charged full-time undergrads $10,920 by semester or $21,841 annually. Associate and bachelor’s majors paid the $1,050 access fee. Freshmen covered a one-time $100 orientation fee. Living at the Lebanon campus’ dorms like Edward Potter Hall added $4,300 to $4,805 each term. CU budgeted $1,500 for books and $5,950 for miscellaneous. Annual traditional attendance was about $37,990 on-site and $30,340 if commuting. Online RN-BSN students spent $490 per credit or $31,850 in total. Online MAE courses billed $515 per credit for $15,450 overall. MBA Online cohorts paid $515 per credit for $18,540. The MSN Online cost $550 per credit, which equals $16,500. The Graduate Program Service fee added $30 per course.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Aid Office in Memorial Hall helps 96 percent of full-time CU Phoenix rise with median assistance of $11,296 each for $17.90 million combined. Institutional funds include the Miles Fate Christian Scholarship, Heifner Family Scholarship, Henry Goodpasture Scholarship, Imogene Bradley Ahles Scholarship, Benny Gamboa Scholarship, Alma & Fannie Baird Scholarship, Martha Buff Adkerson Scholarship, Stark Goodbar Scholarship, Dallas Floyd Scholarship, and Lillian White Sloan Scholarship. The Ernest L. Stockton Jr. Grants gift $3,400 yearly for transfers with minimum 2.5 GPAs. The Presidential Award provides up to $16,000 for outstanding freshmen meeting 27 ACT and 1280 SAT scores. Submitting FAFSA applications coded 003485 by March 1st determines Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, Teach Grant, or Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan amounts. Tennessee residents qualify for $1,750 HOPE Education Lottery Scholarships. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee also has 100+ options like the Maude Keisling Scholarship and First Cumberland Properties Scholarship.

Explore the four accredited, transfer-friendly online Canvas options on the Cumberland University website.