Cumberland University announces tuition-free college for select Tennesseans

Local News

(Source: Cumberland University)

LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — Cumberland University announced the launch of its Phoenix Promise program, giving qualified Tennessee students an opportunity to earn a tuition-free four-year degree. 

The program is meant to build upon the Tennessee Promise program, and give more Tennessee students the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree.  

Since 2015, Cumberland University reports its total enrollment has increased by 74%, which was largely attributed to the implementation of the Tennessee Promise program. Since the start of the program, Cumberland has enrolled more than 2,000 Tennessee Promise students, and seen a 528% increase in Tennessee Promise enrollment from 2015-2020. 

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average bachelor’s degree graduate makes nearly $1 million more in their lifetime than an associate degree graduate,” said Cumberland University President Dr. Paul C. Stumb. “We see the value in earning a four-year degree, and we’re helping remove financial barriers for deserving Tennessee students.”  

“We believe that access to a better future should not be limited by financial restrictions,” Stumb said. “Cumberland leads the state in our Tennessee Promise completion rate, and we’re adding the Phoenix Promise to help those students earn a four-year degree and graduate from a private university without formidable student loan debt.” 

To be eligible for the Phoenix Promise, a student must be a rising sophomore of junior, have a valid FAFSA with an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of 3500 or below, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on all college level work at the 24 and 48 credit hour benchmarks, be a Tennessee resident and not be enrolled in a nursing program, a student athlete or a fine arts performing student.  

“I work with Tennessee Promise students every day that want to continue their education after earning an associate degree, but aren’t sure if it’s financially feasible for them,” said Cumberland University’s Director of Retention and Tennessee Promise Abby Pitts. “This scholarship gives students an opportunity to reach their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree and bettering their lives for themselves and their families.” 

The Phoenix Promise is available to current Cumberland students and students wanting to transfer from community colleges or other institutions. 

For more information on the Phoenix Promise, click here or contact The Office of Financial Aid at 615-547-1399 or

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