How to Start Your Own Online College

When I initially wrote this eight years ago, it was relatively easy to set up online colleges here in California because of the lack of regulation. My online university start up is on hold due to my personal finances, failed partnership, and to be frank a lack of commitment. My friends and family think it is strange for me to share my knowledge on starting an online college when I have for the most part failed. I don't. I successfully completed all steps, but was not able to maintain momentum. My goal is to show people that with effort and commitment, it is relatively easy to create an online college.

With a day job, doctorate courses, and a family, it took me 6 months to complete and take my school to the market place, and thats where it ended. These days I promote and am a part of the Free Openware College Education Movement, and I am attempting to reboot my online university, and I'm looking for help. I'll explain later in the article.

Another thing I would like to add is that it takes a strong and committed attitude to see this process through from beginning to end. Secondly, you must hold a Masters Degree in any major. Can a person with a Bachelors or non degree person, follow these steps and be successful? Probably. But you want to start this project with some sense of legitamacy and you also want to reflect that legitamacy to your students. Also, believe it or not, the start up costs are very minimal compared to other start ups ventures.

Here are the step that I took to create my online college:

Educating yourself on web-based training and instruction, online learning, and technology education.

Create A Clear Mission and Goal Statement

Get Partners and Co Founders Who Share Your Vision

Create A Business Plan

Establish Costs

Develop Your Majors Cirriculums, and Courses

Create A Web Page

Become Legal

Investigate And Follow Accrediting Guidelines

Setting Admissions Standards

Recruit

Charge Small Fees

Apply For Accreditation

Educating yourself on web-based training and instruction, online learning, and technology education.

Understand The Basics of Learning

The three basic learning styles that are highlighted by learning experts are the following: Auditory learning occurs through hearing ; Kinesthetic learning occurs mostly through interacting; Visual learning occurs through looking at facial expressions,, body language, and giving examples. There is evidence that if teaching tactics were to at least cover some aspects of all learning styles, there would be a greater degree of success. Studies have shown that when an instructor connects teaching techniques to the ways in which students learn, this can significantly enhance academic achievement, student attitudes, and student behavior at all levels of education.

Using a student's preferred way of instruction exclusively may not be the best thing you can do when teaching a class. Students will eventually have to perform in a class and face issues that require the use of their less preferred learning style. Some education experts caution that stress, frustration, and burnout may occur when students have to endure over time teaching styles that do not match the learning style choice of instructions.

Within these various formats online education course developers must include some degree of learning development theories. In developing on line courses, course developers must keep in mind and account for various learning styles. When courses are given on line, instructors cannot interact the classroom to see if students are falling asleep or in a zombie like trance, and because of this, instructors do not know the best method to use thus course developers must account for all learning styles

What Tools and Technology Is Used To Teach Online Courses.

At first start small. Simply use e-mail to teach your course. Updated e-mail programs allow you not only to send text, but also video and audio streams.

Companies such as Apple Computers, Web CT, and Blackboard have packaged all of these formats and offered them to various colleges and universities. Through ITunes, owned by Apple Computers, colleges and universities can offer web cam and audio streaming technology so that students can listen and view courses through their iPods. Apple also now offers customized web pages for instructors to administer their courses. Students can not only listen or view their lectures through their iPods, but also upload their assignments via the web site. Despite these technological advances, critics center their attention on technology as a reason for the lack of academic rigor in on line courses. Continued

Get To Know People Who Share Your Vision

Get Partners and Co Founders Who Share Your Vision

Place a free ad in Craig's List Small Business section. State that you are a small online private college that offers degrees and low cost courses in the areas you choose. Also state your mission statement, and state that you are looking for prospective students, teachers, and co founders to help establish the institution. When I did this, I received a tremendous response

The most effective ad that you could place is a Craigslist job ad where you would state that you are looking for Co founders for your online school. If you choose to do this, you must emphasize that this as a business opportunity. You must also state the time commitments, how costs will be divided, and how profits will be shared. Decide how many fields or majors you would like to emphasize, and choose that many partners. Divide task among the partner such developing cirriculums, recruiting, developing a business plan, or any tasks you wish to be divided.

Can you do this by yourself? Yes you can, but I would suggest the focus should be on one major, preferrably, your major.

I would also recommend that you establish a legal binding partnership, or if you are doing this yourself, establish a sole proprietorship.

Create A Business Plan

I assume that anyone who puts in the effort to create an online school will want to make some money, but there may be some who are doing this for philanthropic reasons. If you wish to know how to set up your school as a non profit organization go to this site. The world of business and education often do not mix. As long as schools reflect fairness, transparency, and flexibility in pricing out tuition and fees, online colleges can successfully make profits while serving the needs of students.

Why Write a Business Plan?

Why should a business go through the trouble of constructing a business plan? There are five major reasons : (http://www.va-interactive.com/inbusiness/editorial/bizdev/ibt/business_plan.html#1)

  1. It assists in creating a niche where you address these question what type of courses will I be teaching? Are these courses in demand.
  2. It helps to focus ideas and serves as a feasibility study of the business's chances for success and growth.
  3. The finished report serves as an operational tool to define the company's present status and future possibilities.
  4. It can help you manage the business and prepare you for success.
  5. It is a strong communication tool for your business. It defines your purpose, your competition, your management and personnel. The process of constructing a business plan can be a strong reality check.
  6. The finished business plan provides the basis for your financing proposal.

The Small Business Administration web page has free business plan templates and free easy to follow instructions on how to set up your business.

Costs

The start up costs for your online college is extremely minimal. Here is a list of potential expenditures:

$11.00 per year- Web Page W/ Online Form Making Capability, priced at Go Daddy

$185.00- Based on 500 bw and 500 color copies. Copying Charges For Flyers Both Color & B/W $.07 per copy (BW) and $.30 per year (color)

$75 per week Craigslist Job/Business Opportunity Advertising

$129.00 Legal Zoom Partnership Services

$15 per month SBC Yahoo High Speed Internet

$30-$50 Service Charges To Establish A New School In Your State. Prices vary from state to state.

$900-$2000 Accreditation Fee (Optional), This depends what type of accreditation suits your school.

Your Majors, Cirriculums, and Courses Are The School's Selling Points!

Develop Your Majors and Curriculums

After you have established your partnerships both legally and logistically, plan and plot out your college course offerings in this order; majors, cirriculums, and courses.

Developing Majors and Deciding Who Teaches What

Developing majors around your expertise and your base knowledge is the way to begin. Understand the differences between Associates Masters and PHD Degrees. I would advise all stake holders to at least have a Masters Degrees since it is these degree holders that can teach Associate and Bachelors students. Colleges with PhD holders can teach and offer any or certain degree programs. Most accrediting agencies require most courses at 2 year and 4 year schools to be taught by Masters Degree holders. Another strategy would be to develop majors around in demand industries/careers.

Developing Majors


You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Established colleges have been developing curriculums and courses for years and some for centuries. And since most colleges and universities place their Major and cirriculm descriptions online, you can simply go to any school’s site to get an idea how to develop courses and majors. Understand the differences between: Associates, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorates Degrees.

From my research, I have not found one state that has mandates on how colleges and universities should organize programs, but despite this remember these rules:

Offer 3 unit courses- At traditional schools 3 units/credits represent how many hours spent in class per week. In terms of online courses, developers organize assignements and activities that would reflect 3 hours per week of online activity.

Here are some suggestions of how to set up your degree programs. Associates and Bachelors degrees are somewhat similar in that they both have General Education and Major related courses, but they are different in terms of the number of courses. Masters and PhD programs focus heavily on research.

Associate Degrees- These are usually 63 units. Completed within 1-2 years

Bachelors Degrees- These are 120 units. Be aware that in order to make degrees competitive and uphold standards, you may need to have certain program meet certain accreditation guidelines—though this may not be nessesary. These degress are usually finished within 2-4 years.

Masters Degrees- Research related degree that shows mastery of knowledge. Are usually 36 units.

PhD or Doctorates- Between 51-81 depending upon whether or not the college will accept Master's Level courses. Since Doctorates are intensely specialized, there is not really a definite template. If you do plan to offer doctorates, look at other colleges web pages to see how the school has structured their courses.

Associate Degree Template

General Studies- Every Associate and Bachelors degree program has a general education or studies component. The ideas behind this, is the need for students to have general knowledge of the world a part from their career endeavors. College Level Math, English, Science, and the Social Sciences are examples of General Studies courses. General Studies is what separates college and universities from trade schools. Below is a general idea of how general education should be distributed,

Basic Skills: 6 Units

College English: 3

Critical Thinking: 3

Math & Science: 9 Units

College Level Math: 3

Physical Science: 3

Life Science: 3

Arts & Humanities: 9 Units

Arts Appreciation: 3

Humanities: 3

Research Writing: 3

Social Sciences: 9 Units

Human Nature: 3

History: 3

Social Issues: 3

Cultural Diversity: 6

Major Requirements- These courses emphasize major/career courses.

Lower Division Major Courses: 12

Fundamentals: 6

Practices: 6

Research Project Courses: 3

Total Units= 66


Bachelor Degrees Template

General Studies

Basic Skills: 3 Units

College English: 3

Critical Thinking: 3

Math & Science: 9 Units

College Level Math: 3

Physical Science: 3

Life Science: 3

Arts & Humanities: 9 Units

Arts Appreciation: 3

Humanities: 3

Research Writing: 3

Social Sciences: 9 Units

Human Nature: 3

History: 3

Social Issues: 3

Cultural Diversity: 12

Major Courses: 49

Core Courses: 24

Theory Courses: 15

Practical Application: 18

Research Project: 3

Electives: 15

Total= 120 Units



Masters Degrees Template

Foundation: 3 Units

Emphasis: 18 Units

Research: 9 Units

Electives: 6 Units

Total Units= 36

When deciding to place course in these template simple use another universities example. You and your partner should comb different university web pages and decide which courses to plug in.

It Is Time To Develop Your Courses And Learn How To Teach Online

Simply posting a syllabus online and having students complete assignments does not constitute an online class. Many students who have taken online courses will tell you that they had received the best learning experience from an online course where they had interactive teachers and a user friendly web site. Online instructors do not have the luxury of looking at a lecture hall and determine the interest level of the students nor can they easily determine if students are actually learning the material. Attentiveness and comprehension are top concerns of online instructors.

Keep Teaching Simple At First

I would keep it simple at first and have students turn in assigments and communicate through e-mail, and as time goes by, you can update your delivery systems. Also allow students to call you if nessesary.

Create Student Files

As students, turn in assignment, keep records of everything; e-mails, tests, quizzes, and papers. Create word document folders for all students that contain the above items Continued

Create A Basic Webpage

If you have taken online courses, you may have noticed, a main web page, with a message board function, your instructors contact information, a place where you can upload your assignments/files, and updates. This is not nessesary at first, your basic web page should consist of five pages:

Introduction Page: This shows you mission and goal statements, a basic outline of your majors, the types of degrees, your goals for the student

Course Catalog Page- After you and your partners search for courses to plug in your templates from various web pages, create a word document, cut and paste course descriptions on the document. Be sure to re word each course entry to avoid copyright infringement.

  • You may also want to look and possibly copy a similar online university’s policy and procedures to think about establishing similar polices and procedures. Discuss this fully with your partners. This process may take days or weeks depending on how many majors and courses you are going offer.
  • This page should also explain and outline your programs and majors
  • This document is amorphous. It can constantly change. Once you have established admissions, recruitment, grading procedures, place these in the catalog. Think for your school's catalog as an intruction manual to your school.

Contact- This page lists all of the instructors and contact information.

Accreditation- This page explains where you are at in the accreditation process, and which agency you are focuisng on. State cleary, that your accreditation is pending. State clearly that your school is state approved. I would provide a link to your potential accreditor.

Apply Page. This page will have an interactive application form for your students to fill out and submit. Your web page should have this functionality, if not call your Web Service Provider.



Setting Up Your Online Course

Become A Legal Institution

Can you create and run an institution without state approval? Yes, but I would not recommend this. If caught, fines could be rather high. There are a number of degree mills that operate in every state that teach unstructured courses, grant course credit based on life experience and award illegitimate degrees. Obtain the proper licencing to operate a college in your state. It is a simple process, but it could take 1-2 months to confirm approval. Just simply go to Google and look up your state’s Board of Education. For example if you live in Montana, type in Montana Board of Education, and click the appropriate links, and download the proper forms. Most states have a clear process on how to become a college or trade school, but with some states, you are going to have to do some digging. Florida and New York’s board of education have a clear understandable process where my state California, has a confusing process where new college start ups are governed by Consumer Affairs. I found the Post Secondary Consultant site where the owner of the site specializes in helping people obtain proper liscening to operate a college or trade school anywhere in the U.S. I believe it will be worth your while to look at his site.

Investigate Accreditation Requirements

Accreditation is simply a validation process by which institutions of higher education are evaluated against established standards to ensure a high level of educational quality. It is typically accomplished through a peer-review process in which faculty from accredited institutions help to conduct evaluations of either new non-accredited institutions or accredited institutions seeking renewal. The standards used to conduct these evaluations vary but in general they assess: the institution's mission, goals and objectives, resources and resource allocation, student admission requirements, student support services and the quality of the faculty and educational offerings (Elearners).

Unlike the practices of most other countries, in the United States accreditation of institutions of higher education is not conducted by the government. Instead, it is a voluntary process that is implemented by private nongovernmental accrediting agencies. At present, there are both regional as well as national agencies involved in the accreditation process. The only role that the government plays is to evaluate these accrediting agencies using well developed criteria in order to identify those considered to be "reliable authorities" on the quality of institutions of higher education (Elearners).

Simply choose the type of accreditation that best suits your school, and follow those guidelines. Here is a list of accrediting agencies.

Seeking accreditation is an option, but unaccredited colleges cannot compete, because of its negative stigma. In my opinion, an accreditation is stamp of approval, and it sets guidelines and policies that should be modeled by all learning institutions.

Setting Admissions Standards

My online university had an open admissions policy for Associates and Bachelors, but had the requirement of a Bachelors Degree to be admitted to the Masters programs. Your admissions standards should reflect your mission and goal statement. If your school’s focus is in on academic achievement, then you and your stakeholders holders must have requirements that reflect this idea. This is an important issue that needs to be discussed with you and your partners.

Charge Fees

The goal in the beginning phase of the creation of your school, is getting students. The lower your fees, the better. The rule is charge low for some time then charge higher when you have reached an enrollment target. There are two school's of thinking when it comes to college tuition. Schools with higher fees are sometimes seen as "worthy", while colleges with low fees are seen as cheap. I do not believe this. I would charge a bit more than your local community college. I did not charge tuition, rather I charged for grading papers and tests.

Attracting Students

Recruiting

I would start by offering free to low cost courses just to spark interest and get actual students. Also begin with a very open admissions policy, and over time when your enrollement grows you can change to a more challenging admissions policy. Here are some ways to recruit:

  • Enter appropriate online chat rooms through Google and Yahoo and announc e your courses.
  • Initially offer courses and not degree programs
  • Post certain courses on Craiglists classes section.
  • Go to every free online advertising source and advertise your school.
  • Create low cost flyers, and go to your local unemployment and job training center and post flyers
  • Go to local coffee houses and post flyers.

Home or Outside Office

Me and my partners had around 10 students, and we all operated out of our separate homes. If my college start up starts up again, and we find that our enrollment is growing and the need for additional staff increases, then I think we will go with an outside office. That is the rule of thumb; if revenues, and enrollment increases, an outside office is neseseary. With those increases come the need to hire additional staff to help keep up with recruiting and admissions.

Note that some accrediting agencies may require a physical office structure and some sort of library. Accrediting agencies may have flexible interpretation of a centralized space, and a library. Investigate these two aspects carefully on your potential accreditors website.

I would sign up with officelist.com to find the cheapest office space in your area.

Apply For Accreditation

Before applying, have NCAC review your colleges progress. They charge a small nominal fee.

The NCAC independently determines if a college meets the high standards and stringent requirements of traditional and distance learning practices. We evaluate the policies and procedures to ensure they meet our established criteria. There are literally hundreds of accrediting institutions in the United States and each have their own method of accrediting a school...click to continue

Remember. You can operate your university unaccredited, but not state approved. I believe that you will need to work harder to recruit students and compete with other accredited schools.



Getting your school up and running is easy. The difficult part is maintaining momentum.

You know that expression "Life Happens." Well that was the main reason for me to push aside my online college venture. After applying for accredititation, I got a steady stream of students. I had 100 students when I closed shop. Life pulled me and my partners in different directions, and we were not able to keep up. My students went on to be accepted to other online schools, and my partners continued on with their lives.

The lesson to be learned here is that yes, life happens, but you and your partners need to literally work on this everyday. Grading papers. interacting with students, updating policy, recruiting, etc needs to be an everyday thing. If you can not commit at least 2 hours per day, don't proceed. If anyone needs additional help, please feel free to contact me.

My New Venture..Central University

I'm looking for partners , collaborators, instructors, and students!
I'm looking for partners , collaborators, instructors, and students!

After a long layoff, I'm now trying to restart my venture as a one man operation. Due to the tiring nature of this, I'm looking for help. I'm looking for partners (CA preferred), contributors, collaborators, instructors and potential students. If you're interested in helping to create an online university that is geared towards anyone who has the drive to learn, please contact me at central.university.edu@gmail.com

Feel free to explore the site. I'm constantly updating and modifying. I urge all to thoroughly review the site, before inquiring to assist.

More by this Author


Comments 55 comments

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting, enlightening Hub. Well done and I hope you give it another go. Good things take a lot of work. Personally, I think you need someone to come into Partnership with you or a sleeping Partner (business wise) if you like to just be in Control.

In Projects like this you also need to know a lot of people in the right places, so I hope you are stepping it up on the Networking side.

Your Profile indicates you work in a High Profile Educative Place - there must be people there also who are willing to support you with this vision.

Looking forward to Part 2. Best Wishes.


tg 6 years ago

This was an awesome and very informative article.....

Thanks a million!!!


jg/TX 6 years ago

Gr8t Info.... I have spent over 12 years as a specialist in an Auditing Firm with an additional 8 yrs as a Contract Administrator. That said, I now desire to teach my trade to others. Fortunately I only want to create very specific and specialized certification[s]programs,not degrees. I will continue to read your info when I feel as if I can't go any further.

Hope to hear from you, thanks for sharing!.


geri Longino 6 years ago

u are so brilliant u have help me to not give up on my university i would love to speak with u 9723301179 geri


tb 6 years ago

I found this extremely helpful.I am researching into starting a college in my home country and this was exactly what i needed to polish off info from my ministry of education. I feel focused again.

What would you say to buying prepackaged courses to offer in your school? For eg. CNA, Mediation, Counseling certificates? And would you recommend any sources in particular? Thanks for a great article.


LPogue profile image

LPogue 6 years ago from Missouri

I have been thinking of starting an online private high school. Do you have any ideas for that?


Hi, loved the post 6 years ago

Hi, as i said i loved the post. I am going to try and run a online university from Venezuela but would love to be accredited in the States. My idea is to have Venezuelans study for free and have people from other countries pay a nominal fee. Basically I would offer two degrees- one is a Masters in TEFL and the other is a Masters in Online Education. Well, not completely online, because the TEFL one will have the option of taking some courses in Venezuela.

Anyway, any suggestions you can give me will be appreciated.

samfoxwell@hotmail.com


sol 6 years ago

It is helpful, right to the point, interesting- well done and thanks.


Zoloo 6 years ago

thanx a lot. This is what i was looking for.

good luck


pjl1 6 years ago

This is a great start for my research...I would like to open an online University in South Africa!


Di 6 years ago

Very useful!!!! thanks a lot!!!!!! i would like to open an online college, just started thinkin about this project. the only thing im worried about is how to find instructors and where.... can anyone help me with this????


kumar 5 years ago

heyy..I'm planning to start a online college, veru soon.I would like to get in touch with you. Give me your contact details. I will be glad, if you do that. so that i can discuss further. Email: yakreddys@gmail.com


Myykkel 5 years ago

I am a college counselor/instructor interested in joining an online start up college. Email me!

myykkel2010@yahoo.com


Ernie, M 5 years ago

I am in US. I am researching starting a on-line University offering DD and PhD degrees. DD for writing life experience in religion and spiritual growth. PhD for writing a thesis on a subject they are excited and wants to share with the humanity. Will offer several PhD's in various areas.this is about learners enrichment and sharing knowledge, not competing to make more money.

About the accreditation, I do not know which one to apply, since the type of degree programs I am considering is personal, experiential,and shared with humanity. Yes, I will be recruiting people with DD's and PhD's as advisors for the students.

Thank you for the guidance. Your information is very useful. I might look into DBA type of business.


Alex 5 years ago

This was the type of information I have been looking for for the past two to three years. I wish we were in contact, your university would be running now. I'm so inspired and I will definitely look into it.

I'm currently a full-time professor and have worked for over 15 years and have thought of starting a university in the past three years or so. Now I can continue researching on this issue. Thank you so much for information. I definitely will like to contact you . . . My contact is mwa2200@yahoo.com


Alex 5 years ago

This was the type of information I have been looking for for the past two to three years. I wish we were in contact, your university would be running now. I'm so inspired and I will definitely look into it.

I'm currently a full-time professor and have worked for over 15 years and have thought of starting a university in the past three years or so. Now I can continue researching on this issue. Thank you so much for information. I definitely will like to contact you . . . My contact is mwa2200@yahoo.com


Sun Pen 50 profile image

Sun Pen 50 5 years ago from Srilanka

Well researched. And you have done lot of spadework that goes into starting it. I am sure your college is running now. Please let us know the courses you offer etc. Great hub. Wish you success in your great ambition


Thomas O'Hearn 5 years ago

This is a great post. I am starting on the path of my own internet college, I am a combat veteran and want to open an online internet marketing college for veterans. I've got a lot of support and we're making some changes at our home site http://PRLuv.com (it will be changing to reflect our school in the next couple days). I would LOVE to hear from you if you have the time! I am bursting with ideas, questions, and potential with my military connections and the support I've already received!


Troy 5 years ago

This was some great info. I hope you eventually got your school off the ground. I've been tossing around the idea of starting an online university for years now and have finally decided to do it. My background is in IT Infrastructure and Management so I have all of the backoffice bases covered. My only current partner is a CPA who will be handling all of the financial aspects of the school. What I'm lacking and currently looking for is one or two more partners. The type of partners I'm looking for will be seasoned professors with online experience. I'll need that expertise to get the university fully of the ground initially. If anyone is interested, just email me at teec72@mmsionline.net and we can talk offline.


IFS 5 years ago

We began our own seminary on line a few years back, it has been slow going but we are getting there. We offered only a few courses in the beginning now we are offering a few more, mostly in the area of counseling and religious studies

www.i-f-s.org


bhaskara 5 years ago

brother thanks a lot. This is what i was looking for.

I'm planning to start a online college, veru soon.I would like to get in touch with you. Give me your contact details. I will be glad. so that i can discuss further. Email: bhaskarrao.a@gmail.com


heymeow profile image

heymeow 5 years ago from Boston

The open movement is very interesting, and I like the entrepreneurial take.


Sharon 4 years ago

Hello guys, I am in touch with a professor from Stanford who is vital in helping one online university grow. In order to start a college, you will most likely need a Masters or a Phd. You will not be successful, if you do not have a masters or phd as students look for quality in their education and second they would like something coming out from the program which will help them in the long term after graduation. So if you have a masters or phd, email me right away at sharongphilip1979@yahoo.com.


bhendricks11 4 years ago

I myself, would like to begin an online college. I have an M.B.A. and I am a GED teacher. Ideally, I am needing a professional website that's interactive with the students. On my site I would like e-books for students to read, even though I have materials. Also, I would like to implement management training programs. I would like my own site. Not a site where I have to pay per student enrolled. Do you (by any chance) know who could build an interactive website, but at a cost that's not going to eat me alive, or better yet, point me to a website where I can do it. Thanks


CPDInteractive profile image

CPDInteractive 4 years ago from Suite 606, 343 Lt Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Thanks for sharing great and helpful link. Nice guide for the uninitiated. i really like this links. Again thanks.


melbrown1 profile image

melbrown1 4 years ago Author

Hello everyone. It's been sometime since I last visited Hubpages. A small amount of information has changed on the creating an online college article. I'll make those small adjustments. I am trying to re-start my online college with a few new twists.

http://centraluniversity.webs.com/

Feel free to check it out. I'll try and reply to all of your responses asap.


Jim 4 years ago

This is ridiculous.


Bhendricks11 4 years ago

What do you mean; This is ridiculous?


Wanda Jones 4 years ago

I would love to help you. I have a PhD in engineering. Please reach out to me. I would like to have more teaching experience and this is one of the ways I would like to go!


Lisa 4 years ago

Hello, just came upon your site today! Thank you for this much information. I went online for further information and realized accreditation is not that simple. It requires 2 years of continuous enrollment, thousands of dollars and a well constructed platform such as webtycho to obtain. I dont know if your school is up and running, i need some help please. Thanks.


professorjeff profile image

professorjeff 4 years ago from Los Angees

All interesting, and I like what you have. However, the amount of work to get it up, off the ground, going, and sustained is ginormous. I'm wondering how you go about creating a college with many types of majors and degrees. Doesn't that require recruiting a lot of teachers? It seems like the time and money investment would require a team to, as I said, not only get it up and going but to maintain and grow it.

I am not so much interested in starting a college per se, but starting a school that will aid students in the 80% they are lacking in an education. Yes, even a college education. Most students graduate having little to no clue as to the realities of the day-to-day workforce and skills, attitudes, knowledge needed to not only survive but thrive. Most students don't obtain these critical needs. Some stumble onto them, but many fail. Looking at the statistics, within 5-10 years after college 70% of grads are no longer working in a field related to their major. Some of this is acceptable as the individual grows and fields change / come and go, but 70%is too high and attributed to the fact that a public education, school through college, does not prepare the student with maximum results.


sameer hassan 4 years ago

i am really impressed to read all yr way of working and the programme regarding joining new avenews its really wondeful and helping for the new era..and great guide line for students...


Nabil 4 years ago

Wonderful hub and if you are still interested in getting partners, I'm ready to start right away. I'm full time free for this project and I hold a Ph.D. so just contact me at jassy.rock@yahoo.com

Thanks,


professorjeff profile image

professorjeff 4 years ago from Los Angees

One thing to note are the number of out of work PhDs coming here looking for a job. Something to think about high school and college grads.


zheng 4 years ago

Like to be an online instructor. Email is sribayu88@yahoo.com


Chaplain Fowler 4 years ago

Besides working as a full time Navy Chaplain, I have been working since 2000 towards the idea of either starting up my own university or a satellite campus location for an existing university. I have a MAPT, MSLM, M.EdLHE and just need to defend my dissertation for my Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy. I've also been teaching for the past several years for Grand Canyon University. Instead of beginning my own venture, I wouldn't mind just joining some else in theirs. todd.d.fowler@navy.mil


Nick 3 years ago

Hello I thinking of starting a realistic online college like no other thats unigue.


Angela White Narain 3 years ago

This information was invaluable. In my quest to looking at the next phrase of my life and legancy as well as income. Higher education as well as real life learning is the way to go. I already have an MBA and number of years of travel, working in communities as well as empowering low wealth and middle class people, especially women. I have been invited to a third world country to attend first ever graduating class for this awesome institution in which I want to model my university after. I am here in Washington, DC, but for me to get on the presidential track for a university will take years, but I like the fact that I can operate an business, make a difference in the lives of people and get paid for it. It that is not America as apple pie I cant say what is. I have created for profit ventures to support this vision. So if you want to be involved with a liberal arts and technology university, are committed to a movement and different way of teaching (empowering people), let's talk. Pleae send me a letter of interest and resume and let me know the best time to reach you. Only bachelor, masters and phd need apply, but if you have a very unique set of skills in an area of demand, I want to hear from you as well, such as social media manger, herbalist, webmaster and designer, arts & crafts (manufacturer of unique items, etc.) This will be a world class institution. email me at thesolutionproject@outlook.com or angelawhitenarain@gmail.com. The revolution will not be televised and you need to be part of it. Let's be solution solvers for 2013, be brave and be empowering in 2013.


Carol McKellar 3 years ago

I cannot take this information seriously. I got as far as your second paragraph and had to stop. Legitimacy not legitamacy.


MH 3 years ago

here is my big question...I have been researching quite a bit but am confused about licensing/accreditation. It can take years to get accredited, and for instance, many accreditation boards require the school to operate for at least 2 years enrolling students continuously. If new, is it legal to offer "degrees" or "certificates" to students even if you clearly state that it is not accredited yet? I am not attempting to open a "diploma mill" or anything like that, but to become legitimate it seems like you get initially clumped into that category without accreditation. Chicken or the egg problem. SO what legally can you offer students without yet being accredited?? I do not think accreditation will be a problem in the future, but without it i don't want to break any laws or create problems with the future of my accreditation. Can you initially offer courses or training and segway that into accreditation later that allows you to legally offer degrees? If you have any idea, help would be GREATLY appreciated.


Ravindra Narsiah Ph.D 3 years ago

I have an abiding interest in providing useful educational opportunities for those who cannot attend a traditional university. I have been impressed by your emphasis on providing a legitimate learning center that can educate the public. I am interested in partnerships and talking to others. My email address is rnarsiah@gmail.com


Ricky Shah 3 years ago

I am impressed by your commitment to higher education. I have a law degree and maybe I can help. Email me at rahil35@hotmail.com


skf 3 years ago

You idiots are going to be the ruination of this country.


hr 2 years ago

I have a plan to create online high school and university in the U.S. or other country. If someone are interested, please email HR at hongbeomr@gmail.com


axetone 2 years ago

All if these costs wrong. The accreditation fees, state licensure, web hosting, et-al... are all wrong, not to mention a large number of basic operating costs that are not even identified. Do NOT follow this advice...it's takes years of planning, development and lots of money to do this...-how do I know?...because I'm half-way through the process of doing just that!


rodclarkson 2 years ago

Guys, I am going to be honest with you. When you have $ 500K-1M cash in hand, you can start thinking about how to open a legitimate, State approved, online degree granting college. When you go for USDOE recognized accreditation, have another $ 500K-1m cash in hand a good operating track record with the State and perfect audited financials.

The State will never license or approve you without substantial capital, certified and audited tax returns (for three years), balance sheets and personal credit checks, bonding, etc. You need to be fully operational as a college on day one of State approval. This should not be a work in progress. Commitment to ongoing quality improvement is the work in progress.

The State Office of Higher Education, State Board of Regents, etc. will always perform an onsite inspection visit during the approval process. Be ready! There is so much more to this dream than you could ever image.

You need a qualified staff, a developed curriculum, a learning management system, a student information management system, and an approved commercial office space. For example, our commercial office space is $ 5K per month x 12 months, x 10 year lease. The State and the accrediting agencies know we plan to stick around a while.

PhD, MBA, JD, etc. behind your name does not mean you will be approved by the State to operate a college; or eventually become accredited by an agency recognized by the USDOE. Google search why established colleges are losing their accreditation and going under… Under capitalization and unqualified PhDs managing the business! Hire the MBAs to run the business and the PhDs to teach.

If an established college or university cannot keep it together, when they already have everything in place, what makes you think you can start a State approved college, gain USDEO accreditation and be successful as a school operator? You need to ask yourself these questions.

You cannot run an online college from your basement. You really need to have your act together 100%; especially when doing onsite visits with the accreditors. They will pick you apart and spit you out with a smile on their face, if you are not following the highest quality standards.

Be over devoted and over committed. I work 80-100 hours a week, every week. I just took my first vacation in 5-years last spring. Love what you do!

I am not trying to say it cannot be done. Heck, I did it with an amazing team and with some favor from above over the course of 10-years. But we had been operating an NCA regionally accredited school for a decade before we even made application to the Sate for our college. It has been long process; and we had everything in place before making initial application.

Also, everything moves in slow motion with the regulatory agencies. For example, after getting initial State approval… the State said we cannot submit any additional degree offerings for approval, until we are operational for another full year. Wait some more...

The State also requires surveys from students and faculty after each semester to follow our progress. These reports go directly to the State for review.

We are just getting ready to submit our BS and MBA programs for State approval. I am sure it will take 6-8 months for this approval. In 24-months from now, we will submit our application to a USDEO recognized accrediting agency requesting initial candidacy. We expect that process to take an additional 24-36+ months. Take into consideration; we have already gotten one school regionally accredited school two years ago. The regulation and quality controls and measures take time to implement. You must be patient.

The reality is you are $1.5-2m+ until this endeavor before you can even hope to have accreditation. That is the starting point. So if you have to have 5-6 years and a couple of million dollars, do it! I’ve seen too many people quit their good jobs and try to start online schools and fail.

Just be prepared, be patient, be over capitalized, be perseverant and be ready for some letdowns along the way. In the end, it is worth it! I have been working in online education for over a decade. I don’t do this for the money; believe me. I do it because I care about helping people achieve their life long career goals. Our students are individual people with lives, families, hopes and dreams; and they mean a lot to me personally. This should be your first motivation. Serving your students should drive the culture in your organization.

I hope this did not get you down. Please don’t pick apart my observations and suggestions. What I cite, I know to be true for my State. This was not the case back in the days of the online diploma mills, but we don’t need these criminals operating State approved colleges. We need people who are personally invested and prepared to go the distance.

Of course, if you do already have $ 2m in the bank, you can always buy a small accredited college and re-purposes it for online. You need to be approved by the State and the accrediting agencies for this, too.

That’s all folks. I hope this was insightful.


Prof. Leow 2 years ago

Dear Sir, I am starting a online school. However, I have designed more than 10 programs with all the teaching materials are ready. I am looking for business partner that would work with me to get accreditation and legal perspective. Do email me at drleowcs32@gmail.com if you wish to work with me.


McLere 2 years ago

Thank you all. It's been educative and insightful, with caution. @rodclarkson I would like to have your email contact pls. I do intend to ride on your wealth of experience. @melbrown1, kudos. Cheers.


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Kevin Duggan 2 years ago

Hi any idea where I might find a template to create a business plan geared towards starting a Online School?

Thanks

Kevin


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sarahcherbert 2 years ago from Grass Valley, California

Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I no longer feeling so overwhelmed :)


george 2 years ago

hello, i have a small a/c and refrigeration company and i noticed after reading all the comments most of you guys are very negative and have the motivation of a dead dog on the road,who ever wrote this thank you,i have sisters with masters degrees,and we plan on constructing an online university and with this acticle i feel better doing it.

thanks again!


Alicevo 2 years ago

After having gone through the process of applying to have an online college registered and accredited with the right bodies, I would have to agree with "rodclarkson" and strongly suggest to NOT under-estimate the budget required to turn this dream into reality.

I would also say however, that it is possible and for those who are successful in bringing this dream to reality, you should visit the International Student Loan Exchange, who specialize in facilitating private student loan assistance for students in other countries who do online /distance learning studies. http:// www.islexchange.com


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bestonlineschools 2 years ago from UK

Great share Melbrown; I feel inspired to start my own College.


Rashid Hassan 2 years ago

Thank you all. It's been educative and insightful, with caution. @rodclarkson I would like to have your email contact pls. I do intend to ride on your wealth of experience. @melbrown1, kudos. Cheers


Maggie 14 months ago

Fantastic research. I hope this works out for you. I intend to start my own online University but with only a few majors geared towards mind body holistic health. My background is in psychology is you need a professor e-mail me maggie.lafontant@yahoo.com

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