Columbia Southern University

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High-Tech, Student-Centered Online CSU Education

Columbia Southern University appears in our ranking of the Top 10 Associate’s in General Studies Online.

Ranked the region’s 116th best buck in Washington Monthly, Columbia Southern University has Quality Matters certification to grant six DETC-accredited associate degrees fully online in custom LifePace Learning courses of four to 18 weeks each. For example, the A.S. Health Information Science starts its 60-credit curriculum 11 times yearly to practice safeguarding digital patient data and become a Certified Coding Associate with median pay of $47,780. Chaired by Dr. Elwin Jones, the 60-credit A.S. Business has a 78 percent completion rate of asynchronous 2000-level online courses like Introduction to Project Management that are transferrable to colleges, such as Sullivan University and Henley Putnam University.

On Blackboard, the 60-credit A.S. in Occupational Safety & Health has 25 years of experience training Columbia Southern University majors for BCSP certification and careers growing by 8 percent through 2026 with online textbook-free courses like Hazardous Materials. Directed by Dr. Sonya Rogers, the A.S. Criminal Justice plots a 60-credit, two-year plan toward Police Training Academy programs with an active ACJA Chapter, Learning Partners Discount, and wide-ranging electives like Terrorism Response.

Other online options include the A.S. Fire Science, A.A. General Studies, B.S. Human Resource Management, B.S. Psychology, B.S. Cyber Security, and B.S. Health Care Administration.

About Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University originated in 1993 when Robert Mayes, Sr. started an online B.S. Occupational Safety & Health degree to fulfill market demand. Three years later, it broadened into business and justice administration fields. On January 15, 2001, Columbia Southern achieved sought-after accreditation for excellence. The next year, the “Military Friendly” school was approved by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In 2003, it launched the first Hybrid MBA with online and Ho Chi Minh City courses. In 2006, CSU was among the U.S. Army’s first selected colleges for the Central Tuition Assistance Management program. In 2009, Columbia Southern University opened its 67,000-square-foot Orange Beach headquarters. Merged with Waldorf University in 2010, it created the for-profit Columbia Southern Education Group in 2012.

Worth over $100 million, Columbia Southern University now actively enrolls 15,530 undergrad and 5,912 post-grad Knights from 30 countries fully online with eight clubs like the Student Veterans Association. In 2017, CSU received the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Online Courses. In May 2018, Columbia Southern was positively profiled by the National Safety Council’s Safety & Health Magazine. On Niche, CSU was ranked Alabama’s 14th best education value. The SR Education Group recognized Columbia Southern University for the 10th most affordable online associate degrees nationally. College Factual also positioned CSU 154th for diversity, 112th for human resource management degrees, and 105th for information technology programs.

Columbia Southern University Accreditation Details

On January 14, 2011, Columbia Southern University received a re-accreditation certificate from the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) to ensure ethical standards compliance through Winter 2021 under Chief Operating Officer Ken Styron, who recently earned the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. Located 983 miles north via Interstate 85 in Washington, DC, this 21-state national accreditor is authorized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to evaluate CSU’s six associate, 10 bachelor’s, six master’s, one doctoral, and 14 certificate offerings. Additionally, Columbia Southern is an approved member of the American Council on Education (ACE). The A.S. Fire Science Online is also recognized by Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Network.

Columbia Southern University Application Requirements

Getting into Columbia Southern University is classified “non-competitive” by Peterson’s because 100 percent of the 9,276 Fall 2017 applicants were accepted for easy open enrollment. First-year Knights still must have completed grade 12 in accredited secondary schools or the equivalent. The Alabama Department of Education requires an overall GED score of 600 or higher. Homeschooled students are admitted on a conditional basis until 12 credits are finished. This method requires “C” grades or better in the Learning Strategies, English Composition, College Math, and Science courses. Upholding GPAs above 1.99 is expected. Freshmen generally need a minimum 18 ACT, 440 SAT Math, or 440 SAT English mark. College transfers can receive credit for up to 15 accredited courses. International students need a 61 TOEFL iBT, 6.0 IELTS, or 44 Pearson Test of English score. If completing the ESL Exam Series, the minimums are 85 Language Use, 80 Listening, 85 Reading, and 90 Sentence Meaning.

Columbia Southern University offers rolling admission year-round for its LifePace Learning format online. However, specific term enrollment currently has deadlines of April 10th, June 19th, August 21st, October 23rd, January 8th, and March 11th. Accordingly, submit the CSU Application online with the $25 priority evaluation service fee. Request official transcripts be sent to PO Box 3110 in Orange Beach, AL 36561. The Admissions Department requires test reports by SAT code 3878 or ACT code 7061. Supplemental materials might include the professional résumé, one paragraph essay, veteran documentation, international visa, English proficiency test, and GED certificate. Find out more by contacting (800) 977-8449 or

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Columbia Southern University has priced online associate tuition at $230 per credit. The Learning Partners Discount brings the price to $207 per credit. The active-duty military rate is $202 per credit. Undergrads will pay the $35 library fee each term. The one-time graduation fee equals $100. Some incur the $19 remote proctor fee, $50 late enrollment fee, $25 IHMC fee, and $35 change of program fee. Full-time CSU tuition is $5,520. Totals drop to $4,968 for Learning Partners Discount recipients and $4,848 for military. Cost of attendance estimates currently budget $4,914 for off-campus housing. Other essentials are $1,728 for board, $3,638 for personal expenses, and $688 for supplies. Each year costs $16,368 independently and $11,454 with parents.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the Office of Financial Aid at 21982 University Lane gets 86 percent of new CSU Knights assistance averaging $3,265 for $23.05 million combined. Online degree funds include the Forever a Hero Scholarship, Military Spouse Scholarship, Concerns of Police Survivors Scholarship, Safety Scholarship, Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, Robert G. Mayes Memorial Scholarship, Knight Scholarship, Atlanta Fire Rescue Scholarship, Alumni Scholarship, and Learning Partner Scholarship. National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) members with minimum 2.0 GPAs apply for the Columbia Southern Scholarship through August 31st. Filing FAFSA forms coded 041215 determines Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan amounts. Alabamans also pursue the Student Assistance Grant, American Legion Scholarship, Scholarship for Dependents of Blind Parents, National Guard Grant, and more.

Continue reading about Columbia Southern University at the Online Degree Programs website.

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