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Cumberlands Patriot Scholars Program provides students more options

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — University of the Cumberlands has begun a new program that encourages academically strong and committed students to complete their undergraduate degrees in 34 months. The Patriot Scholars Program uses a combination of AP or transfer credits, online classes and summer classes, as well as six regular fall/spring terms to make the effort more manageable.

“The three-year degree is something we’ve offered for many years, if, for example, a high school student takes advanced placement courses and summer courses, said Dr. Jim Taylor, Cumberlands’ president.

In recent years, many students have worked hard to accomplish this task on their own as a means to save education dollars and enter the workforce sooner.

“From an economic standpoint alone, when a four-year education is compared to a three-year education, the consumer immediately sees a 25 percent reduction in costs and an extra year of earning capacity, which reflect no small saving or economic incentive,” said Taylor.

The rationale for advertising this option more forcefully and creating the Patriot Scholars Program at this time is because, as Robert Zemsky, a leading voice for American higher education reform for three decades, has said in his recent study, “Making Reform Work,” “The world is changing, becoming tougher, more competitive, less forgiving of wasted resources and squandered opportunities.”

Candidates for the Patriot Scholars Program will demonstrate academic ability with a composite ACT score of 25 or better and will have earned 6-9 AP credits in high school or will transfer from an accredited institution. Some students will successfully complete institutional bypass testing for 6-9 hours of general education credits.

Following the freshman and sophomore years, participants will complete 21-24 hours of online general education courses from Cumberlands each summer. In addition to these 30 credit hours, students will earn 98 hours during the six regular terms, averaging 16.33 hours per term. This schedule allows scholars to concentrate on their major fields of study during the regular terms.

As the trend toward completing an undergraduate degree in three years becomes more widespread, many high school seniors are choosing to get a jump start through dual enrollment in high school and a college or university. A number of Cumberlands students have chosen dual enrolment while they were still in high school. Currently, 42 local high school seniors are dually enrolled at Cumberlands.

Like several of his classmates, Jeffrey Barnett is a freshman who was dually enrolled while still a student at Whitley County High School. He matriculated at Cumberlands with 12 class credits already under his belt, and at the end of the fall semester, he will have accumulated 27 credits. “I entered college already prepared; I knew what I had to do to get the work done,” said Barnett.

“University of the Cumberlands is proud to offer such opportunities to our academically capable and dedicated students,” stated Taylor. Becoming a Patriot Scholar will require diligence, but the rewards will outweigh the effort. Participants not only will save money in this difficult economic period and be prepared to begin their careers or continue their educations earlier than their peers but they also will obtain an outstanding undergraduate education at an excellent institution. Taylor went on to say, “The students who undertake this challenge will certainly continue to be a credit to Cumberlands as they continue to demonstrate such initiative throughout their lives. In today’s world, a nation’s wealth and competiveness derive from its capacity to educate; to attract and to retain students who work smarter and learn faster.” This is the purpose of the Patriot Scholars Program.