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  1. #1
    egam is offline Registered User
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    How to Start an Online University?

    Hi,

    I was wondering does anyone here have any knowledge as to how to start an online university? Any online references would be especially helpful. I would like to start a small university that would eventually achieve DETC accreditation.

    Specific Questions:
    Which states are easiest to start something like this, in terms of licensing/approval requirements?

    Realistically speaking, how much of an investment would it take to get this started and to give this university a reasonable chance at being successful?

    How would it take before ownership begins to see a decent return on investment?

    Any other relevant info would welcome.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Garp is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by egam View Post
    Hi,

    I was wondering does anyone here have any knowledge as to how to start an online university? Any online references would be especially helpful. I would like to start a small university that would eventually achieve DETC accreditation.

    Specific Questions:
    Which states are easiest to start something like this, in terms of licensing/approval requirements?

    Realistically speaking, how much of an investment would it take to get this started and to give this university a reasonable chance at being successful?

    How would it take before ownership begins to see a decent return on investment?

    Any other relevant info would welcome.

    Thank you.
    What I am about to say is NOT coming from an expert (I would contact DETC). Someone applying to another (ie not DETC) accreditor once told me the application process was 10,000 dollars. This does not include all of the other things accreditors want such as qualified faculty, financial stability and course design (which takes experts).

    Some accreditors, such as TRACS, will not accredit on line only school. In that case you must have a physical plant and a library with a certain number of volumes for student populations and so on.

    DETC would obviously allow on line only but you need to check with them on specifics.

    Not a cheap process and will likely take years to get accredited. Then you have to consider what you are offering. If it is something like an MBA program, how many online MBA programs are out there from both Regionally and Nationally accredited schools (thousands). So, simply investing all that money will not guarantee students.

  3. #3
    rmm0484 is offline Registered User
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    My thoughts are this:
    (a) Do you have an e--commerce and or education background? Have you taught online yourself? If not, I would suggest that you apprentice yourself to an online school for a while.
    (b) If you have any online credentials, I would suggest marketing yourself to a small accredited not for profit school that would like to expand its online presence, and not just offer courses online. Some of the seminaries may be interested.
    (c) Perhaps you could work with your local school /church school district to offer high school online.

    My 2 cents
    MBA Cal Coast
    MSM Florida Tech
    PhD in progress (dissertation phase), University of the Free State

    "I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor."
    _ Pope Francis

  4. #4
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Three questions to start:

    1. Have you ever started a business before?

    2. How many years of experience do you have as a university administrator?

    3. How many people are on your team?
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  5. #5
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    Three questions to start:

    1. Have you ever started a business before?

    2. How many years of experience do you have as a university administrator?

    3. How many people are on your team?
    Good questions. Here's some more:

    1) How do you plan to attract people to work for you?

    2) How do you plan to pay your staff while you're waiting for students to show up?

    3) How do you plan to attract paying students to an unaccredited, fledgling school?

    Having never even contemplated such a project my first thought is that you will need to have a vision (and a very good plan) for creating a school that is unique in some way. There are already so many colleges, why would someone choose yours over a better known, well established (accredited) school. You will probably need to sell that vision to investors or, if you plan to be non-profit, you'll need to have another means of raising funds. As a previous member pointed out, on a basic level this is no different that starting another other sort of business.
    Wentworth Institute of Technology
    Building/fixing expensive stuff

  6. #6
    AviTerra is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by egam View Post
    Hi,

    I was wondering does anyone here have any knowledge as to how to start an online university? Any online references would be especially helpful. I would like to start a small university that would eventually achieve DETC accreditation.

    Specific Questions:
    Which states are easiest to start something like this, in terms of licensing/approval requirements?

    Realistically speaking, how much of an investment would it take to get this started and to give this university a reasonable chance at being successful?

    How would it take before ownership begins to see a decent return on investment?

    Any other relevant info would welcome.

    Thank you.
    I think most of your questions can be answered by practical common sense:
    Which States? Check where colleges similar to the one you envision starting are domiciled. These States will obviously consider your institution. One caveat is that some of these States will require you to become accredited within one or two years if you are degree granting. Therefore, I would consider starting out as non-degree (certificate) granting.

    How much investment and how much ROI? The two are interconnected. It depends on how quickly you can attract students and break-even. It’s a crowded market right now and carrying costs to break-even can be many times the initial investment.
    The important question is; do you have a clear vision that fulfills a particular gap/need in the education market? If you do, and execute properly, then you have a chance to succeed.

  7. #7
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    That would be a very long, slow and difficult process since a university is built on reputation. It would be very difficult to be able to begin by offering legitimate accredited degrees. Most schools I know of have had to work their way up from the bottom of the heap unless there are huge dollar amounts of investment in infrastructure and personnel. The only way around that I could foresee would be someone who is established at another school breaking off to form their own. This appears to be what Dr. Lady is doing with his AIMS venture. He already is established in the academic world and has the goodwill to build upon.
    "If ignorance is bliss, why are the ignorant so angry?" Shannon Wheeler

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  9. #8
    shawn3500 is offline Registered User
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    Email me I was also interested in starting one. Can get the capital backing.

    shawn19837@gmail.com

  10. #9
    rmm0484 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawn3500 View Post
    Email me I was also interested in starting one. Can get the capital backing.

    shawn19837@gmail.com
    The thought occurred to me that you have quite a cadre of potential staff members and faculty right here at DegreeInfo.
    MBA Cal Coast
    MSM Florida Tech
    PhD in progress (dissertation phase), University of the Free State

    "I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor."
    _ Pope Francis

  11. #10
    Anthony Pina is offline Registered User
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    Running a school (online or otherwise) is such a multifaceted endeavor with organizational, infrastructure, personnel, regulatory, marketing , accounting and other issues. If you do not have previous experience in this arena, you will do well to spend some time working for the type of school that you plan on developing. You will become acquainted with the myriad of issues that you will have to address in order to be successful. Since your intention is to run a school with the intention of having it become accredited, it is an entirely different venture than running a retail outlet (or a diploma mill, for that matter)..
    Anthony Piña, Ed.D.
    Dean of Online Studies

  12. #11
    egam is offline Registered User
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    Very good points made by everyone here.....Thanks.

  13. #12
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawn3500 View Post
    Email me I was also interested in starting one.
    While you're in law school?
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  14. #13
    airtorn is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFoerster View Post
    While you're in law school?
    Maybe he wants to start a two year DL law school.

  15. #14
    major56 is offline Registered User
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    My first thought, way prior to regulatory, capital investment, ROI, infrastructure, personnel, and/or accreditation issues /questions, etc., as to your entrepreneurial endeavor is the consideration of:

    As a late entrant, what will be the differentiator (not asking that you disclose this) as regards your online college /university; where’s the potential buy-in (e.g., what would your school offer that’s not already available from an inordinate number of purveyors with a large array of pricing structures along with competing program qualities and brands)? As has already been mentioned, it’s a VERY /VERY crowded and highly competitive industry /marketplace! And in my view, without a business model that truly separates your virtual school initiative from the crowd, would merely place such a school in just another “me too” category. And there’s already far too many of those options that consumers can choose from now, be they virtual, B&M (w/a virtual presence), for- or non-profit, RA, NA or unaccredited. Moreover with the technologies available, even a somewhat unique virtual school model can generally be easily, cheaply and quickly replicated. How would your exclusive idea prevent (e.g., cost prohibitive) this from happening via other market players?

    I’m not in any way attempting to discourage your initiative; nonetheless, I’m approaching this as say an investor would. On the upswing, I’d personally welcome a genuine new entrant with an innovative model; it’s needed! It’s my observation that the current virtual college /university industry has already become a mature industry lacking any authentic ground-breaking originality … just more me-too tweaking.
    Major56
    ___________________________________
    M.B.A., West Texas A&M
    M.Ed., Prairie View A&M
    Command and General Staff School, U.S. Army Command & General Staff College
    B.B.A., Sam Houston State

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  17. #15
    egam is offline Registered User
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    Major56,

    Good points.

  18. #16
    GeeBee is offline Registered User
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    I don't intend for this to be as mean as it is probably going to sound: If you have to ask a message board how to do it, you probably aren't qualified for it.

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