FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A private university in Kentucky is cutting its annual tuition by 57 percent.

The University of the Cumberlands announced Tuesday that tuition will be $9,875 per year instead of $23,000 per year beginning next fall. Including room and board, that means the annual price will be $19,175 instead of $32,000. The price drop does not include online and graduate degree programs.

"We think the expense of college is too high for students and their families," University President Larry Cockrum said. "We've been pretty good stewards of our money. We've had additional growth in enrollment. After crunching the numbers, we saw we could do this."

The cut comes at a time when most public colleges and universities in Kentucky have been raising tuition, coupled with state budget cuts. Eastern Kentucky University recently suspended several academic programs, closed a regional campus in Danville and eliminated its men's and women's tennis teams to help make up a $25 million shortfall.

But Cockrum said he expects the tuition cut at the University of the Cumberlands to have a minimal impact on the school's budget. School officials noted enrollment has risen to more than 12,000 students, up from 9,200 a year ago. The university plans to add an extra 300 students per year and to retain 70 percent of its undergraduate students for five years.

Cockrum also promised the school would not raise its tuition for four years.

"Good, bad, we're sticking with this for four years," he said. "I hope we've made the right choice."

The school is in Williamsburg in the southeastern part of the state, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the Tennessee border. The school is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.