South University is off probation and has been approved as a nonprofit institution.
The Savannah-based school received word this week that the university’s sale and status change had been approved by the accrediting body for the 11 Southern states, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The university was purchased in October by the Dream Center Foundation, a California nonprofit dedicated to helping people transform their lives. The foundation helps families in crisis, including the homeless and those with drug addictions in Los Angeles.
“This purchase expands their mission,” Assistant Chancellor for Communications Betsy Nolen said.
South was placed on 12 months probation last year due to financial problems of their now former parent company, Education Management Corporation. EDMC was part of a predatory recruitment and loan scandal.
The sale will not change academic programs, graduation requirements or the day-to-day operations, officials said.
John T. South III will remain as chancellor and no faculty or staff changes will take place.
“This is an exciting time at South University, and we are looking forward to the new opportunities that will be available to our students, faculty and staff as a result of this acquisition,” South said. “South University’s mission will not change, and we will be steadfast in our efforts as we continue to educate students who graduate from our institution poised to take on crucial roles in their chosen fields.”
The change to a nonprofit has benefits for local students, officials said.
“Because of our nonprofit status, we will now be able to establish scholarship funds through donations that are tax deductible (which were not allowed before under our for-profit status), develop our own endowment for future scholarships, and we can earmark our own University resources to fund new need-based scholarships,” Nolen said.
More than 70 percent of South’s students are enrolled in health care or related programs and more than 40 percent are pursuing graduate degrees.
The university currently has more than 75 Master of Science in Physician Assistant alumni working in the Savannah area.
South’s flagship campus is in Savannah with 11 other campuses across the United States. It also has an online division where more than 50 percent of its 14,400 students are enrolled.
The class of 2017 had 5,500 graduates with 2,400 as pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, anesthesiology anesthetists and nurse practitioners.
A School of Pharmacy began offering Doctor of Pharmacy degrees in 2002.
Board of Trustees: Eric R. Winger, chairman, William W. Hubbard, Pam Carter-Mendenhall, Holden T. Hayes, Charles McMillan, and John T. South, III.
Established in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College. Acquired by the South family in 1974.
Students are enrolled from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The university has a School of Pharmacy, College of Health Professions, College of Nursing and Public Health, College of Business, College of Theology and College of Arts and Sciences.
South University has been awarded the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Caring Cup Awards every year since 2005. Students, faculty and staff are involved in a variety of charitable fundraising projects including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, AMBUCS, the Ready, Set, Go! Back to School Expo, the T.E.A.L. walk and more.