Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University is a private, for-profit, family-owned institution that specializes in online education. The university is headquartered in Orange Beach, Alabama, United States.

Columbia Southern University
MottoFlexible. Affordable. Online.
PresidentKen Styron
ProvostBarry Goldstein, Ph.D. (Interim)
Location, ,
ColorsNavy Blue and Gold


Columbia Southern University was founded in 1993 by Robert G. Mayes, Sr.[3][4] The university developed its first degree programs in Environmental Engineering and Occupational Safety and Health in 1994. By 1996 additional degree programs were developed and offered: The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, followed by Computer Science, Criminal Justice Administration, and Health Administration.[3]

Mayes headed the institution until his death in 2005, when his son, Robert Mayes, Jr., assumed the presidency.[4] Effective May 1, 2018, Ken Styron will assume Presidency of Columbia Southern University.[5]


Columbia Southern has been accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC), formerly the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), since 2001.[6][3] DEAC 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.[7]

Faculty and agreements with other institutions

Currently, Columbia Southern 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 also offers online degrees through partnerships with Waldorf University.[8] The university is one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer up-front tuition assistance through the U.S. Army's centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.[9]


Columbia Southern University consists of three colleges, offering a total of 26 degrees at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels, as well as 21 certificate programs online. CSU offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program, which is a terminal degree program requiring a master's degree as a prerequisite.

In 2017 and 2018, CSU was selected for a Blackboard, Inc. [10], Catalyst Award in the Exemplary Course category.

CSU's courses have also been recognized by Quality Matters, Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.


  1. National Center for Education Statistics
  2. "University adopts mascot". Columbia Southern University. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  3. Barron's Guide to Distance Learning: Degrees, Certificates, Courses by Pat Criscito (2002), ISBN 0-7641-1791-2, page 179
  4. History of CSU Archived 2008-02-18 at the Wayback Machine, Columbia Southern University website (accessed February 24, 2008)
  5. March 1, 2018, Special Announcement Email to Students
  6. Distance Education and Training Council Directory of Accredited Institutions 2007-2008, June 18, 2007, page 11
  7. Six Institutions gain Accreditation Distance Education and Training Council website (accessed May 24, 2010)
  8. Online Degree Program Archived 2014-02-27 at the Wayback Machine,, Retrieved 23 Feb 2014
  9. List of GoArmyEd partner Colleges, GoArmyEd website (accessed March 28, 2009)
  10. Blackboard, Inc., Exemplary Course Program (ECP) Past Winners (accessed August 2018)
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