South University

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South University
South University Logo.png
Former names
Draughon's Practical Business College,
South College
ChancellorSteven K. Yoho, Ph.D.[1]
Savannah (Main Campus)
, ,
United States

South University is a private university with its main campus in Savannah, Georgia, United States. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. South University identifies itself as non-profit[2] but the U.S. Department of Education classifies the institution as for-profit.[3]

Founded in 1899, South University consists of its School of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Professions, College of Business, College of Theology, and College of Arts and Sciences.


South University was founded in Savannah, Georgia, in 1899 as Draughan's Practical Business College.[4] Draughan's taught many of the skills needed by business professionals at the turn of the 20th century including accounting, banking, typewriting, bookkeeping and shorthand.

The South family acquired the institution in 1974, and changed its name to Draughan's Junior College.[5][6] In 1986, the name was changed to South College. In 2001, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited South College at the master's level and the school became South University.[5]

The institution's name change to South College resulted in a 2002 legal dispute with Sewanee: The University of the South, which had registered the name "The University of the South" with the U.S. Patent Office.[7] The issue was resolved in 2003 with both schools retaining their names.[8]

In 2003, Education Management Corporation acquired South University. The following year, the university expanded from its main campus in Savannah, Georgia, to include eleven other campus locations across the United States and began offering online courses in 2004. Fifty-two percent of South University students are enrolled entirely online.[9]

South University's Savannah campus celebrated its largest graduating class in the institution's history in June 2017, when more than 3,500 students received degrees.[10]

In 2015, EDMC, South University's former parent company, agreed to forgive more than $100.8 million in student loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.[11] U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania stated that 'Companies cannot enrich their corporate coffers at the expense of students seeking a quality education, or on the backs of taxpayers who are funding our critical financial aid programs ... 'Today's global settlement sends an unmistakable message to all forprofit education companies: the United States will aggressively ferret out fraud and protect innocent students and taxpayer dollars from this kind of egregious abuse.'[12]

In December 2016, South University was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) due to financial concerns regarding its parent company at the time, EDMC.[13][14] South University was removed from probation in December 2017 after the sale to Dream Center Education Holdings and SACS approved the university's conversion to not-for-profit status (although the U.S. Department of Education classifies the institution as for-profit.[3]).[15] On January 22, 2019 South University fired a large majority of their workforce including the online support staff located in Chandler, Arizona, closing the site.

The following year, on October 17, 2017, the university's former parent company, Education Management Corporation, reported that it had sold its schools to the Los Angeles-based Dream Center Foundation, a non-profit organization.[16][17][18]

In 2019, South University was expected to be transferred to Education Principle Foundation.[19] In the meantime, all South campuses are being operated independently.[20] The court appointed receiver, Studio Enterprise, and the university had until April 11, 2019 to negotiate to separate South & remaining Art Institute schools from the Dream Center Education IT Platform by September 11, 2019. Writing for the Republic Report, David Halperin opined that "[s]hould they fail to agree, the plan of reorganization will likely fail, thereby dooming South University and the Art Institutes."[21] The court-appointed receiver has also reported that "there is a 'scattered matching of revenues and expenses' among all the former EDMC schools, making it difficult to determine the true financial picture at the schools in receivership and those controlled by Education Principle Foundation."[22]


  • Savannah, online
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Royal Palm Beach, Florida
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Round Rock, Texas
  • Glen Allen, Virginia
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

Teachout campuses[edit]

  • Novi, Michigan
  • High Point, North Carolina
  • Warrensville Heights, Ohio




South University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award doctoral, master's, bachelor's, and associate degrees. The institution is classified by SACSCOC as a Level VI institution, meaning it offers four or more doctoral degree programs. The University also offers post-graduate certificate programs through its College of Nursing and Public Health.

School of Pharmacy[edit]

South University became the first university in the Savannah area to offer a health professions doctorate when it launched its Doctor of Pharmacy program in 2002. South University's accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) program is one of only a limited number nationwide that provides four academic years of study within three calendar years.[24] The degree program is offered at both the Savannah, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina campuses.

The Doctor of Pharmacy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPTE).[25]

College of Health Professions[edit]

South University and Emory University are the only two institutions in the state of Georgia that offer a Master of Medical Science in Anesthesia Science program. South University's program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistants (ARC-AA). An Anesthesiologist assistant is qualified by virtue of their education and training at the master's degree level to deliver anesthesia as a member of an anesthesia care team led by a physician anesthesiologist.

The University launched its Master of Science in Physician Assistant program in 2002, and it is one of only five programs in the state of Georgia.[26] A Physician Assistant is prepared to work in a medical setting with the ability to evaluate, monitor, diagnose, counsel, refer patients and prescribe medication.

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant program is offered at South University's Savannah, Tampa and Richmond campuses and is accredited by The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).[27]

College of Nursing and Public Health[edit]

South University's College of Nursing and Public Health prepares students to practice at all levels of the nursing profession by providing programs at the bachelor's, master's, doctorate and post-graduate certificate level. Programs include an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice. The University also offers Master of Science with a Specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner.

The institution's College of Nursing and Public Health programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) [28]

College of Business[edit]

The College of Business offers undergraduate degrees in areas that include business administration, healthcare administration and information technology. Graduate programs include a Master of Business Administration and Accelerated Master of Business Administration (AMBA) in Healthcare Administration.

The Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, Master of Business Administration, Accelerated Master of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration and Accelerated Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration programs at South University, Savannah are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).[29]

College of Theology[edit]

South University's College of Theology was established in 2013, and graduated its first Doctor of Ministry student in 2016 [30]

The South University College of Theology differs from traditional seminaries, because rather than focusing on the doctrine of one faith, it prepares its students (who come from different denominations and religious backgrounds) to minister in the Christian tradition to people of various faiths and, potentially, in various times of spiritual crisis.[31]

College of Arts & Sciences[edit]

The College of Arts & Sciences houses South University's undergraduate programs in Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies. The programs provide a broad-based foundation for work in the law enforcement or legal field.

South University Novi Campus

Student Life[edit]

Honor Societies[edit]

South University students are eligible for membership in a number of national and international honor societies. These include the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business,[32] Sigma Theta Tau,[33] which recognizes outstanding academic achievement by nursing students, and Pi Gamma Mu,[34] which is the International Honor Society in Social Sciences. South University Doctor of Pharmacy students are eligible for membership in Rho Chi, the academic honor society in Pharmacy.[35] South University's College of Theology was granted a chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology in 2017.[36]

Volunteer opportunities[edit]

South University students at campuses around the United States volunteer to help provide back-to-school health screenings.[37] and frequently form teams in support of charity runs or walks. In 2016, South University School of Pharmacy students won Kappa Psi's National Outstanding Community Service Award for spearheading a local T.E.A.L. walk that raised money for ovarian cancer awareness.[38]

Student outcomes[edit]

According to the College Scorecard, the Savannah main campus (which includes online students) has a graduation rate of 3 percent, a student loan repayment rate of 25 percent, and a median salary after attending of $33,400.[39]

Community impact[edit]

Charitable Work[edit]

South University students, faculty, and staff participate in numerous Savannah-area charitable fundraising projects annually including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.,[40] AMBUCS,[41] the T.E.A.L. Walk[42] and more. While the city of Savannah was recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, South University faculty and staff volunteered with clean up efforts around the area.[43]


  1. ^ "John T. South, III". South University. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  2. ^ South University (2019). "Fact Sheets". Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "College Navigator". U.S. Department of Education. 2019. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  4. ^ "A Century of Academic Excellence: The History of South University". South University. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b "South University sold to education management company". Associated Press. 30 April 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  6. ^ Rich Wittish; Betty Darby (2006). Insiders' Guide to Savannah and Hilton Head. Falcon Publishing. p. 263. ISBN 978-0762740482. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Second lawsuit filed in dispute between 'South' universities". 23 October 2002. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  8. ^ "South University, University of the South name dispute settled". Associated Press. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  9. ^ "EDMC October 2013 Student Enrollment" (PDF). Education Management Corporation. October 31, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  10. ^ "South University Celebrates Largest Graduating Class".
  11. ^ Simmons, Andria. "State sues Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, Art Institutes". ajc. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  12. ^ "For-Profit College Company to Pay $95.5 Million to Settle Claims of Illegal Recruiting, Consumer Fraud and Other Violations". 2015-11-16. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  13. ^ Few, Jenel. "South University on probation, faces sale".
  14. ^ "Southern accreditor places 10 on probation, including Louisville and new UT campus". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  15. ^ News, Savannah Morning. "South University is off probation; sale approved".
  16. ^ "Art Institute campuses to be sold to foundation". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Large for-profit chain EDMC to be bought by the Dream Center, a missionary group". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  18. ^ "EDMC Completes Sale of Assets to Dream Center Foundation".
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "Dream Center plans pullout from most Art Institute campuses | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ "$13 million in financial aid missing? Federal receiver tries to track down money from Art Institute owners | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Accelerated Pharmacy Schools | Your first stop in learning about the PharmD".
  25. ^ Melanie A. Ruberti (1 September 2006). "Savannah's First Fully Accredited Pharmacy School". WTOC-TV. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Supply and Demand". Georgia Trend. October 2017.
  27. ^ "Accredited Programs - ARC-PA".
  28. ^ "South University celebrates nursing degrees conferred". Tampa Bay Business Journal. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Educational Members - Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs".
  30. ^ "Your Good News: Student makes South University history with graduation". SavannahNow. 17 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Teaching theology... for profit?".
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-10-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-28. Retrieved 2017-10-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Chapters".
  37. ^ "Ready, Set, Go! Back to School Expo a success, draws more than 2,000 people". 2015-08-15.
  38. ^ News, Savannah Morning. "South University students receive national community service award".
  39. ^ [3]
  40. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "Savannah Ambucs donates eight amtrykes to children with special needs". 22 March 2016.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-10-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "Savannah Organizations step up the Hurricane Matthew cleanup efforts around town". 2016-10-13.

External links[edit]