Columbia Southern University

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

Columbia Southern University
MottoFlexible. Affordable. Online.
TypePrivate for-profit online university
PresidentKen Styron
ProvostJanell Gibson
Colors   Navy blue & gold
Mascot‘Sir Maximus’ the CSU Knight

Columbia Southern University is a private for-profit online university in Orange Beach, Alabama.


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] Ken Styron became president on May 1, 2018.[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] On Dec. 2, 2021, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) board of trustees granted CSU candidacy and authorized an accreditation committee in preparation for the final step for membership and attaining regional accreditation.

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. Columbia Southern also offers online degrees through partnerships with Waldorf University.[7] The university is one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer tuition assistance through the U.S. Army's centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.[8]


The racial and ethnic makeup of the student body is 51% White,21% Unknown, 17% Black, 5% Hispanic, 3% Two or more races, 2% Asian, 1% American Indian/Alaska Native, 0% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 0% Non-resident alien. More than 7000 students serve in the military.[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 also offers a Doctor of Business Administration.

Student outcomes

Columbia Southern's 8-year graduation rate is 49 percent. Median salary after completing ranges from $32,000 to $70,000.[10]


  1. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  2. ^ "University adopts mascot". Columbia Southern University. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Barron's Guide to Distance Learning: Degrees, Certificates, Courses by Pat Criscito (2002), ISBN 0-7641-1791-2, page 179
  4. ^ a b 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 Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, page 11
  7. ^ Online Degree Program Archived 2014-02-27 at the Wayback Machine,, Retrieved 23 Feb 2014
  8. ^ List of GoArmyEd partner Colleges, GoArmyEd website (accessed March 28, 2009)
  9. ^ "The top 50 most popular schools for Tuition Assistance". Military Times. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Columbia Southern". US Department of Education. Retrieved 27 June 2021.

External links