How To Start Your Own University or College
I get a lot of inquiries from individuals who want to open a degree granting school and who usually want to offer their programs online. The majority of these inquiries are from people who seem to believe that all you have to do is hang your shingle out there and the people will flock to study with you. I have been responsible for several applications to operate degree granting institutions, all of which resulted in approval because I am very careful who I agree to work with. That having been said, I believe the best way to realize such a project is to write a thorough business plan. A well written business plan for a college will incorporate many of the items that are required for a successful application. All State Approval Agencies from New York to California expect to see that an organization has a well thought out and researched strategic plan for the launching of a university or college before it is willing to grant an approval. Each State’s Department of Education is responsible for student protection as well as a quality assurance. They don’t issue approvals without serious scrutiny.
A Development Process
A good business plan and/or application to your State’s Postsecondary Approval Agency can be seen as a using a development process. The point of using a development process is to succeed at “product development” or in this case establishing a degree granting institution. You must first consider how you will meet our students’ needs in the field or profession you are offering our degree in. You are also going to want to do this in the right time frame and at the right cost, in a way that maximizes your financial return on the venture. Since establishing a degree granting institution is inherently complex and often risky, and since the push for financial return often mandates speedy development, the process should geared to providing a framework and specific tools for efficiently and predictably reaching goals.
Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. The information that should be gathered before you start on such a project could look something like this:
- an executive summary.
- description of your company.
- spell out the purpose of your school.
- write a mission statement.
- assess the skills you and your management team have.
- the course outlines,
- draft your program offerings,
- write the curriculum,
- detail how you will teach them,
- qualifications of faculty needed to teach the courses you are intended to offer,
- analyze the costs associated with this process,
- list your supply sources for equipment and books etc,
- establish a need for the program by researching the demographics of the area
- analyze placement possibilities for your graduates,
- investigate the market you’re entering,
- research the general trends in the industry
- analyze market segment you are pursuing,
- research the niche you are targeting
- analyze your target customer/student,
- find the demographics on your potential customers/students,
- analyze your competition,
- formulate a admission/marketing plan,
- decide how you will generate enrollment through advertising,
- estimate promotion and public relations costs,
- analyze the type of students that you would be targeting,
- analyze of the area you want to establish the school,
- study other schools of the same type in the area,
- estimate all costs conservatively.
- detail your yearly revenue projections and your expenses.
It is also true that strategic planning may be a tool for effectively plotting the direction of a company; however, strategic planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market will evolve and what issues will surface in the coming days in order to plan your organizational strategy. Therefore, strategic innovation and tinkering with the ‘strategic plan’ have to be a cornerstone strategy for an organization to survive the turbulent business climate.
I can offer you a wide range of services to assist you to achieve your vision of establishing a degree granting institution. I will work with you to develop a detailed business plan and that will incorporate start up and operational costs and ease the task of applying for licensure from your State’s Department of Education. I will assist you to write the application and create the corresponding exhibits, such as catalogs, enrollments, faculty and staff manuals that are required for approval. I can also assist you with ongoing management of the college once you have started. I have developed a student tracking database that can tracks students progress from enrollment to graduation.