Columbia Southern University

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Coordinates: 30°19′45.26″N 87°39′9.4″W / 30.3292389°N 87.652611°W / 30.3292389; -87.652611

Columbia Southern University
Motto Superior Service. Flexible Programs. Extraordinary Value.
Established 1993
Type Online University
President Robert Mayes, Jr., MBA
Students 28,360 [1]
Undergraduates 25,390
Postgraduates 2,970
Location Orange Beach, Alabama, United States of America
Nickname CSU

Columbia Southern University, in Orange Beach, Alabama, USA, is a proprietary/for-profit institution of higher education.[2] It offers Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's programs in fields including Business Administration, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Human Resource Management, Organizational Leadership, Occupational Safety and Health and Fire science. Columbia Southern's online degree programs are among the most affordable in the United States. Its online degree programs in healthcare administration and psychology are the most affordable of their kind in the country.[3]

Accreditation and approvals[edit]

Columbia Southern has been accredited by Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) since 2001.[4][5] DETC is an accreditation agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Columbia Southern is also a member of the Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA), a voluntary group of accredited institutions that are concerned with the importance of student mobility, enhancing success in transfer of credit, and affirming the responsibility and prerogative of individual institutions with respect to acceptance of transfer credits. It was one of the few accredited institutions selected by the DETC to start offering accredited online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA), but the program was discontinued in March 2014.[6][7]

Faculty and agreements with other institutions[edit]

Currently Columbia Southern University has more than 1,000 full-time faculty and staff. It enrolls and graduates thousands of students annually on both national and international level. Columbia Southern University also established agreements with University of North Alabama and Waldorf College to offer creative online degree programs through these traditional universities.[8]


The school was founded in 1993 by Dr. Robert G. Mayes, Sr.,.[5][9] The university developed its first degree programs in Environmental Engineering and Occupational Safety and Health in 1994.

By 1996, the infrastructure to administer these programs was firmly in place and additional degree programs were developed and offered. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration was the first to be offered before Computer Science, Criminal Justice Administration and Health Administration were also made available.[5]

Dr. Mayes headed the institution until his death in 2005, when his son, Robert Mayes, Jr., assumed the presidency.[9]

Columbia Southern University is one of six Academic Partners of Delta Air Lines and one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer up-front tuition assistance through the U.S. Army’s centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.[10]


  1. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  2. ^ Golden, Daniel, [1] "For-Profit Colleges Target the Military", Bloomberg Businessweek, December 30, 2009
  3. ^ "2014 Most Affordable U.S. Online College Rankings". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Distance Education and Training Council Directory of Accredited Institutions 2007-2008, June 18, 2007, page 11
  5. ^ a b c Barron's Guide to Distance Learning: Degrees, Certificates, Courses by Pat Criscito (2002), ISBN 0-7641-1791-2, page 179
  6. ^
  7. ^ Six Institutions gain Accreditation Distance Education and Training Council website (accessed May 24, 2010)
  8. ^ Online Degree Program ,, Retrieved 23 Feb 2014
  9. ^ a b History of CSU, Columbia Southern University website (accessed February 24, 2008)
  10. ^ List of GoArmyEd partner Colleges, GoArmyEd website (accessed March 28, 2009)

External links[edit]