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, non-profit
Established 1899
Chancellor John T. South, III[1]
Students 18,370 (2013)[2]
Location United States

South University is a privately owned, non-profit institution offering degree programs at the doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate level.

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. Fifty-two percent of South University students are enrolled entirely online.[2]


South University was founded in Savannah, Georgia in 1899 as Draughan's Practical Business College.[3] 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.[4][5] Over the next 40 years, the institution would grow from a one-location junior college to a system of 15 campuses around the United States with alumni from all 50 states.

The expansion of the institution began with the addition of a campus in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. In 1986, the institution's name was changed to South College as the administration began charting a course of more varied degree programs and campus expansions. 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.[6] The issue was resolved in 2003 with both schools retaining their names.[7]

In 2001, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited South College at the master’s level and the school became South University.[4]

Campus expansions continued and by 2014, the University had campuses in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.

South University was acquired by Education Management Corporation (EDMC) in 2003.[4]

On October 17, 2017, Education Management Corporation reported that it had sold its schools to The Dream Center Foundation, a Los Angeles-based Pentecostal organization. [8][9] [10]


South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees. This is a regional accreditation. [4] The school's nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education[11] and the pharmacy program is accredited through the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.[12]

In December 2016, South University was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools due to financial concerns regarding its parent company at the time, EDMC. [13] [14]

South University Novi Campus

Legal issues[edit]

In 2015, EDMC, South University's parent company at the time, agreed to forgive more than $100.8 million in student loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.[15] 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.'[16]

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.[17]

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%.[18]


  1. ^ "John T. South, III". South University. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "EDMC October 2013 Student Enrollment" (PDF). Education Management Corporation. October 31, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "A Century of Academic Excellence: The History of South University". South University. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "South University sold to education management company". Associated Press. 30 April 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Rich Wittish; Betty Darby (2006). Insiders' Guide to Savannah and Hilton Head. Falcon Publishing. p. 263. ISBN 0762740485. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Second lawsuit filed in dispute between 'South' universities". 23 October 2002. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "South University, University of the South name dispute settled". Associated Press. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Art Institute campuses to be sold to foundation". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Large for-profit chain EDMC to be bought by the Dream Center, a missionary group". Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "EDMC Completes Sale of Assets to Dream Center Foundation". 
  11. ^ "South University celebrates nursing degrees conferred". Tampa Bay Business Journal. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Melanie A. Ruberti (1 September 2006). "Savannah's First Fully Accredited Pharmacy School". WTOC-TV. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  13. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Southern accreditor places 10 on probation, including Louisville and new UT campus". Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  15. ^ Simmons, Andria. "State sues Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, Art Institutes". ajc. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "For-Profit College Company to Pay $95.5 Million to Settle Claims of Illegal Recruiting, Consumer Fraud and Other Violations". Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Thousands of former students apply for debt relief". Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "College Navigator - South University–Savannah Online". Retrieved 26 May 2017. 

External links[edit]