South University

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Not to be confused with Southern University, University of the South, or South College
South University
South University Logo.png
Former names
Draughon's Practical Business College,
South College
Type Private, for-profit
Established 1899
Chancellor John T. South, III[1]
Students 18,370 (2013)[2]
Location United States

South University is a system of for-profit schools owned by Education Management Corporation (EDMC). South University's programs focus primarily on degrees for business and health professions. The school offers degree programs at the doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate level. The school's main campus is located in Savannah, Georgia and was originally founded as Draughon's Practical Business College in 1899. As of 2013, South University operates 11 campuses and an online program; just over half of all students are enrolled online.[2]



South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees.[3][4] The school's nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education[5] and the pharmacy program is accredited through the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.[6]

Student Outcomes[edit]

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, South online's graduation rate is 2 percent. Its student loan default rate is approximately 20%.[7]


South University's main area of academic focus is business and health professions,[8] though the school also offers degrees in art[9] and criminal justice.[10] The university offers degrees through their College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Health Professions, College of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy.[5][9][11][12] South University also operates a College of Creative Art and Design at The Art Institute of Fort Worth, The Art Institute of Dallas, The Art Institute of Charlotte and The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.[12][13]

In 2015, EDMC planned to close The Art Institute of Fort Worth (a campus of South University).[14]


The original South University school was founded in 1899 by John Draughon as Draughon's Practical Business College.[15] The institution, which was a secretarial training school, was purchased in 1975 by John T. South, III and his family. The Souths changed the school's name first to Draughon's Junior College and then, in 1986, to South College.[3][16] In 2001, the school became South University.[3] This new name 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.[8] The issue was resolved in 2003 with both schools retaining their names.[17]

South University was acquired by Education Management Corporation (EDMC) in 2003.[3]


South University Novi Campus

South University is currently owned and operated by Education Management Corporation. As of 2013, the school had a total enrollment of 18,370 students. Fifty-two percent of South University students are enrolled entirely online.[2]

There are 11 South University campuses located throughout the eastern United States[2][18] including the main South University campus located in Savannah, Georgia.[4]

Lawsuits, investigations, and settlements[edit]

In 2015, EDMC, South University's parent company, agreed to forgive more than $100.8 million in student loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.[19] 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.'[20]

On June 8, 2015, the Department of Education announced that it was developing a process that would allow former students to apply for debt relief if they believed they were victims of fraud. While the Department has still not created a formal process, they have provided the outlines of what borrowers should submit if they wish to pursue debt cancellation on the Federal Student Aid website. In addition, the advocacy group the Debt Collective has created its own, unofficial "Defense to Repayment App" that allows former students of Corinthian Colleges and other schools accused of fraud to pursue debt cancellation. The applications generated through the Debt Collective's online form was cited by the Department of Education in a Federal Register notice, which said that "a need for a clearer process for potential claimants" arose due to the submission of over 1000 defense to repayment claims by "a building debt activism movement.[21]


  1. ^ "John T. South, III". South University. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "EDMC October 2013 Student Enrollment" (PDF). Education Management Corporation. October 31, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "South University sold to education management company". Associated Press. 30 April 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Matt Evans (17 June 2011). "South University planning H.P. campus". The Business Journal. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "South University celebrates nursing degrees conferred". Tampa Bay Business Journal. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Melanie A. Ruberti (1 September 2006). "Savannah's First Fully Accredited Pharmacy School". WTOC-TV. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Second lawsuit filed in dispute between 'South' universities". 23 October 2002. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Sandra Zaragoza (16 September 2011). "S. University chooses N. Austin building". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Christina Hadley (29 June 2010). "South University launches expansion of campus, degree offerings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "South University dedicates new pharmacy school". Associated Press. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "South University". Education Management Corporation]]. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Art Degree Programs". South University. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "A Century of Academic Excellence: The History of South University". South University. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Rich Wittish; Betty Darby (2006). Insiders' Guide to Savannah and Hilton Head. Falcon Publishing. p. 263. ISBN 0762740485. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "South University, University of the South name dispute settled". Associated Press. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Locations". edmc.eud. Education Management Corporation. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]