Students first studied liberal arts, education, and business at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas in the late nineteenth century. The college opened as Cooper Memorial College in 1887, named after a respected leader of the Presbyterian Church. In 1919, the school’s president, Dr. Turner, changed the name to Sterling College so he would not have to repeatedly inform people of its location. Though the name changed, the vision did not and the private, not-for-profit Sterling College continues to educate students while placing an emphasis on the Christian faith.
Sterling is a Christian liberal arts college offering a variety of bachelor's degrees, many of which can be earned online. Students completing online courses take classes that mirror those of on-campus degrees.