For higher education and cultural offerings, Maury County turns to Columbia State Community College.
The two-year college has five campuses throughout southern middle Tennessee and offers more than 50 programs of study, with day, evening and online classes. Established in 1966, Columbia State is Tennessee’s first and oldest community college with retention and transfer rates that are among the highest in the state. And enrollment has been steadily climbing.
“Students need higher education, and they can complete their first two years of college at a much lower price at Columbia State compared to most universities,” says Paul Hickey, director of public relations at the college. “And they can take the exact same core classes here that they can at any four-year school.”
Columbia State is accredited by the same Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits universities such as Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Belmont, Lipscomb and Middle Tennessee State.
“Every professor at Columbia State is required to have a master's degree, and 85 percent of our faculty and staff hold even more advanced degrees,” Hickey says.
Columbia State is headquartered in Maury County but serves a total of nine south-central Tennessee counties with its five campuses.
The majority of students complete their two-year associate degrees and transfer to four-year institutions. It offers strong workforce training and development courses in partnership with more than 50 local companies, and it’s also known for its nursing and allied health programs.
The school awards more than $10 million in financial aid each year. And with the Cherry Theatre and the Pryor Art Gallery, Columbia State is also a growing cultural center for south-central Tennessee.
Pryor Art Gallery, located in the Waymon L. Hickman building on Columbia State’s Columbia Campus, features rotating monthly art exhibits from both working artists, college students and school groups.
The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Visit www.columbiastate.edu to learn more.