Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Tuition for Columbia Southern University is $5,280 for the 2017/2018 academic year. This is 63% cheaper than the national average private for-profit four year college tuition of $14,395. The cost is 59% cheaper than the average Alabama tuition of $12,886 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 2nd in Alabama amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 36th most expensive 4 year college in the state. Price does not vary by residence.

The school charges an additional fees of $135 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $5,415.

Housing Costs

Columbia Southern University doesn't offer on campus housing. If you're not living with family you will need to budget for food and housing in the Orange Beach area just like you would for a college with dorms. The estimated rent and meal expense per academic year for off campus housing is $6,327.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $728.

Other Living Expenses

Off-campus students should budget for $3,465 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The annual tuition and living expense budget to go to Columbia Southern University was $15,935 for the 2017/2018 academic year. The cost is the same for all students regardless of Alabama residence status as there is no in-state discount. Students residing at home with parents providing food and housing can expect a total cost of $9,608.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2017-2018 and 2016-2017 IPEDS survey response for Columbia Southern University and represent reported costs for the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for Columbia Southern University
Estimated Budgets
Alabama Resident Total Budget (Living Off Campus)$15,935
   In-State Tuition$5,280
   Other Fees$135
   Off-Campus Housing Budget$6,327
   Off-Campus Other Budget$3,465
   Books and Supplies$728
Alabama Resident Total Budget (Living with Parents)$9,608
   In-State Tuition$5,280
   Other Fees$135
   Family Provided Room and Board$0
   With-Family Other Living Budget$3,465
   Books and Supplies$728
Non-Resident Total Budget (Living Off Campus)$15,935
   Out-of-State Tuition$5,280
   Other Fees$135
   Off-Campus Housing Budget$6,327
   Off-Campus Other Budget$3,465
   Books and Supplies$728


What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $15,935 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported Columbia Southern University net price for in-state students is $10,054* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

96% of Columbia Southern University students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $3,439. 75 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $3,800. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend Columbia Southern University, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for Columbia Southern University
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$10,054*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid96%
Average Total Grant Aid$3,439
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants75%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$3,800

Average Net Price by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$9,726
$30,001 to $48,000$10,806
$48,001 to $75,000$7,721
$75,001 to $110,000$11,650

Average Financial Aid Mix - $15,935 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $15,935. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 28% - $3,439

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, Columbia Southern University or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 50% - $6,212

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 23% -  $2,819

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Private Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. Columbia Southern University
University of Phoenix Louisiana Campus79.5% more expensive
University of Phoenix Jackson Campus79.5% more expensive
University of Phoenix Baton Rouge79.5% more expensive
University of Phoenix Columbus Georgia Campus90.9% more expensive
University of Phoenix Birmingham Campus100% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at Columbia Southern University.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at Columbia Southern University is $63,740 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $7,838 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $31,352**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $79,675 or $39,190 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Cost Per Credit Hour and Cost for a Class

Some schools offer the ability to take single classes by paying on a per credit hour basis. The reported price per credit hour and estimated cost for one class at Columbia Southern University are as follows. Per credit costs are for reference only as many schools will not allow students to pay by credit hour.

Cost per credit hour and per class at Columbia Southern University
Price per credit hour$220
Cost for one class (3 credit hours)$660
Cost for one class (4 credit hours)$880


Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 79% of Columbia Southern University students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $6,212.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for Columbia Southern University? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $31,352, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $38,900.64. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at Columbia Southern University. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 96% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $7,838. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our Columbia Southern University student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

Columbia Southern University Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$324.17
Amount Borrowed$31,352.00
Interest Rate4.5%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$7,548.64
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$38,900.64

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend Columbia Southern University? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending Columbia Southern University, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $38,900.64 would be needed to afford a $324.17 monthly payment in the example $31,352.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to Columbia Southern University in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $4,800 to $5,280. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 2%. Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current 4 year cost of $63,740.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for Columbia Southern University.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2024$21,914$87,657
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2029$27,969$111,875
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2034 $35,696$142,785
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2037 $41,323$165,291

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at Columbia Southern University to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
Fire Science/Fire-fighting Associate's Degree 298 13% cheaper
Business Administration and Management, General Associate's Degree 110 26% cheaper
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 100 67% cheaper
Health/Health Care Administration/Management Bachelor's Degree 79 51% cheaper
General Studies Associate's Degree 78 25% cheaper
Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General Bachelor's Degree 77 54% cheaper
Information Technology Bachelor's Degree 68 53% cheaper
Criminal Justice/Police Science Associate's Degree 66 18% cheaper
Occupational Safety and Health Technology/Technician Associate's Degree 57 1% cheaper
Behavioral Sciences Bachelor's Degree 45 39% cheaper
Hospitality Administration/Management, General Bachelor's Degree 16 56% cheaper
Organizational Leadership Bachelor's Degree 15 57% cheaper
Marketing/Marketing Management, General Bachelor's Degree 10 56% cheaper


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for Columbia Southern University or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford Columbia Southern University in the future.

Student Loan Calculator

Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a Columbia Southern University student loan.

Prepayment Option

About Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University is a four year private college located in Orange Beach, Alabama.  Full time enrollment is 14,833 and part time is 6,609.  Columbia Southern University has an open admission policy meaning that any prospective student who has completed high school or attained a GED certificate may enroll in classes.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Columbia Southern University
21982 University Lane
Orange Beach, Alabama

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

Columbia Southern University is a private, for profit school.

Columbia Southern University cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=450933 IPEDS survey data.