EDUCATION DIGEST: Cumberlands to lower tuition by 57%; Iorg at convocation: 'The Gospel marches on'

by Kentucky Today, Gateway Seminary & BP Staff, posted Thursday, September 06, 2018 (3 months ago)

Univ. of the Cumberlands to lower tuition by 57%

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (BP) -- Tuition rates will be cut 57 percent at the University of the Cumberlands for the 2018-2019 academic year under a plan known as "The Cumberlands Commitment."

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Tuition for on-campus undergraduate students will be reduced from $23,000 to $9,875 at the university affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

"We are making this change because we are committed to putting our students and families first by addressing the most significant hurdle to a college education -- affordability," Cumberlands President Larry L. Cockrum said. "We want all students to know that with Cumberlands there is a clear and affordable path to a college degree."

Leaders at the university believe that lowering tuition to levels competitive with Kentucky's state-funded universities will result in a major increase in enrollment to offset the reduced tuition.

Cockrum made the announcement to Cumberlands students, faculty and staff on Tuesday morning (Sept. 4).

The initiative reflects the university's mission to serve students and families throughout the Appalachian region. Currently, 82 percent of Cumberlands students come from Appalachia, with 53 percent from Kentucky. The university, with 10,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs, is located in the southeastern Kentucky town of Williamsburg.

The tuition decrease means the total annual cost for undergrads will drop from $32,000 to $19,175; the school said it will continue to maintain a scholarship system for academic, athletic and extracurricular awards.

"The Cumberlands Commitment we're making today means that out-of-pocket costs will not increase for any of our students," Cockrum said. "We will continue to work each and every day to make tuition affordable to anyone who has dreams of higher education and greater opportunity.

Larry Rector, Cumberlands director of financial aid, said he speaks to students "each day about college finances, including student loans and managing that debt beyond college.... From this point forward, this university can send college graduates into the world with the financial peace of mind not available to many of their peers."

While cuts are being made to tuition, university officials said there will be no cuts in programs or services provided to students, and no reduction in faculty or staff.

"This university has done all the right things in recent years to make the student experience the best that it can be," said Jerry Jackson, Cumberlands vice president for enrollment. "We experienced growth this fall beyond our projections in undergraduate enrollment, and we have grown in that regard for the last five years. With a transparent pricing model that reduces tuition costs, we expect even more students to find Cumberlands the perfect fit for them."

Founded in 1888 by a group of Baptist minsters as the Williamsburg Institute, it became Cumberland College in 1913 and the University of the Cumberlands in 2006.

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Iorg at convocation: 'The Gospel marches on' in face of opposition

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) -- Jeff Iorg voiced encouragement to students facing increased opposition to the spread of the Gospel during his President's Convocation message Aug. 30 at Gateway Seminary's main campus in Ontario, Calif. He also welcomed the largest group of new trustees in the seminary's history

Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, opens the fall semester with President's Convocation, the first chapel service in the academic year.
Gateway Seminary photo
"The rise of opposition, according to the book of Acts, is an opportunity for the church to rise up," Iorg said. "Opposition to the Gospel can catalyze further progress of the Gospel."

Iorg examined external and internal obstructions to the Gospel faced by the early church in five stories found in Acts 3-8. In each case he defined the source of the opposition and the outcome for the Gospel.

"As the gospel progresses, the external pressure builds and the punishment gets greater, but the Gospel keeps advancing," Iorg said. "The Gospel is always progressing steadily forward."

Across three of these accounts, the Sanhedrin increased the severity of their responses to the early church, first imprisoning the apostles and warning them to stop preaching (Acts 3:1-4:35), then physically beating the apostles (Acts 5:17-42) and finally killing Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:3).

Iorg told students to address external opposition to the Gospel with spiritual conviction and spiritual resources, encompassing the power of the Holy Spirit, the truth of the Word of God and sustaining prayer. He contrasted the Sanhedrin's actions with the internal opposition of leadership failure and organizational dysfunction.

"Leadership failure and organizational dysfunction are in the stories that almost derailed or limited the Gospel's progress in the early days, and it is still happening today," he said.

The first great internal opposition came from leaders Ananias and Sapphira, Iorg said, and it involved two of the three most dangerous pitfalls leaders face (Acts 4:36-5:16). "The unholy trinity of leadership failure is money, sex and power; misuse of those three or any one of those three is what takes down ministry leaders. When that happens, the Gospel is disrupted and limited in impact," he said.

"This is not new. This is not a 21st-century cultural or Southern Baptist Convention problem. The first source of internal opposition to the advance of the Gospel was a leadership failure over money and power."

Iorg called for Gateway's faculty to train students to be leaders who practice accountability and make healthy lifestyle and leadership decisions.

"No leader is above the need for accountability processes that keep him or her in check, and we must model that, we must practice it and we must teach people how to set that up in every place where they lead in the future."

The second internal opposition to the Gospel's advance, Iorg said, was organizational dysfunction (Acts 6:1-7). Because of the early church's rapid growth, widows were being overlooked and "disruption rose in the fellowship and the Gospel was being slowed in its progress," Iorg said. "Notice when leaders create chaos, or church members create chaos, solutions are found and the Gospel keeps progressing.

"We must always be asking ourselves, 'What part of our organization needs to change to facilitate effectiveness in the 21st century?'" Iorg said. "Every time there is opposition, whether it is external or internal, whether it intensifies as the apostles are warned, imprisoned, beaten and killed, or whether the church disruption takes place among the leaders or the members, in every case in Acts there is a resolution so the Gospel kept advancing."

Iorg closed the service by asking attendees to form prayer groups "to call out to God that we would do our part to advance the Gospel in the face of any opposition we will face."

During the chapel service, Iorg recognized Gateway's 12 new trustees who were on campus for orientation: Bob Bender, Colorado; Gilroy Chow, Mississippi; Michael Day, Tennessee; Wally DeShon, Arizona; Louis Egipciaco, Florida; Carol Geng, New York; Marsha Gray, Washington; David Hill, Ohio; Myron Person, Washington; Lance Rogers, Texas; Kevin Scott, Massachusetts; and Barbara Smith, California.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Tom Latek of Kentucky Today and Tyler Sanders of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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