One of the nation’s first completely online universities, Columbia Southern University (CSU) was developed to meet the demand for alternatives to the traditional university experience. Established in 1993, Dr. Robert Mayes founded the university to offer individuals with demanding and unpredictable schedules a way to achieve their dreams of higher education. Through the years, features such as open enrollment, and flexible course structures have allowed thousands of students worldwide to fit their education around career and family commitments.
CSU began its venture into online education with environmental management and safety degrees. After two years of increasing enrollments and satisfied students, degrees in business administration, computer science, criminal justice administration, and health administration were soon added to the list. By 2001, CSU was granted accreditation through the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Five years later, CSU was approved by the DETC to offer a Doctor of Business Administration degree, becoming the first accredited doctoral program offered by the university.
Following the accreditation of CSU, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) and Veterans Affairs approved tuition assistance for all active-duty and retired military members. Nearly half of the student body is currently comprised of active-duty military. CSU is also one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer upfront tuition assistance through the U.S. Army centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.
Since 2004, CSU has developed Learning Partnerships with hundreds of corporations, municipalities, police and fire organizations around the world. Partner benefits range from tuition discounts to application fee waivers and also extend to the spouses and children of employees. Other advantages include promotion of the organization on the CSU website, marketing materials, and at conferences and speaking engagements. Delta Airlines, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and New York Fire Department are just a few of the organizations affiliated with CSU.
While the popularity of CSU online degree programs continued to climb, 2005 began an era of change for the university. In September, Dr. Mayes passed away after 19 weeks of hospitalization. This transition triggered restructuring of the administration including the appointment of Robert Mayes, Jr., Dr. Mayes’ son and former executive vice president of CSU, to assume the role of president.
Today, CSU is one of the most rapidly growing universities in the U.S. with a record enrollment of more than 30,000 students. At the beginning of 2009, a new 67,000-square-foot facility was completed to accommodate the growth. Dr. Mayes’ vision of creating a university designed to give educational opportunities to those trying to build a better future lives on. CSU remains committed to its three core values – providing excellent student service, a flexible learning format for the working professional, and a family oriented working environment for staff and faculty.