How to start a legitimate Distance Education Program In Ca

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Entrepreneur, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneur New Member

    I am a recent graduate (Master of Arts) from an accredited regional university in southern California and I am thinking about starting Distance Education College in southern California. I have some questions so any help will be highly appreciated.

    First of all, I will be honest that I want to open Distance Education because I want to make money: this business is a lucrative business because there are needs from the public for a college degree by nontradtional means. Second of all, I will STRESS that I will not run a degree/diploma mills because I don't really want to run afoul with the FBI, the Federal Gov't, the State of California, or the IRS. In addition, the advance of Internet means the information on degree/diploma mills have become available to the general public. Finally, I really like southern California and am not interested in moving from one state to another.

    The first question I have is how do one get start in California. Do one has to be registered in California before one open for business or do one open the school then get the school registered?

    Second, how long does accreditation from DETC usually takes and how many faculties are needed for them?

    Third, is there any books out there that can help me get started?

    Fourth, probably the most important question, how much money is needed to start the program and how much money is needed to sustain it each year?
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    $50,000. Oh, and gas money for the time machine.

    Rich Douglas
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I don't believe that you have a masters degree. Your English grammar is too poor.

    But even if you do have a graduate degree, it's ridiculous for one ill-prepared person to even think about opening a university all by himself. You yourself admit that you don't have a clue, so you are obviously in no position to do it. If you try, your "school" will never achieve accreditation and will be a degree mill by default. It will also be illegal in California.

    My advice is that if you are legitimately interested in distance education, then try to get a job working for one of the colleges or universities that offers it. Get some first-hand experience in how legitimate courses are administered and delivered. See for yourself what goes into program development.

    You will only be in a position to think about opening a school when you know in detail what is involved.

    You might also think about pursuing a doctorate in education from some place that has a DL specialization. And work on your English if you are a non-native speaker.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    First of all, you haven't identified yourself. That immediately raises a very bright neon red flag. Secondly, since you purport to have earned a regionally accredited masters degree from a regional southern california university, you would have experienced some ongoing theme of research within your curriculum (well, at least I would hope so).

    Given the above, you are indeed already equipped to go forth and do research and find out what you are looking for. So, c-a-l-m yourself down, r-e-l-a-x, and think for a moment ... or l-e-s-s. Now, l-i-f-t up your local state phonebook and let your fingers do the walking. Go into the state government directory and see what you find regarding postsecondary education.

    By following the above suggestions you will surely and certainly pave the way for your imaginary students by knowing how to access information without having to ask people here to do it for you. As that famous operator of sweatshops employing children in third world countries states: "Just Do It!", .... or not. Either way, you will certainly provide the denizens here (including myself)with a new topic of entertainment. And the responses to your post may be an early indicator of the gauntlet you will walk should you proceed.
    Go forth and nullify.

  5. SPorter

    SPorter New Member

    As long as you're going to start your own school with no experience, why don't you start your own accrediting agency too? [​IMG]

  6. BizGuy

    BizGuy New Member

    Don't let the crying nellies that reside here dissuade you if that's what you want to do. It's just a matter of learning the requirements in California and doing it. Creating a school from scratch can be done. Schools are, after all, just a business
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    DAD: Hey, son, how did your driving test go?

    SON: Great, dad! I passed, and now I have my first driver's license.

    DAD: That's great, son. Where are you going to do first with your new license?

    SON: To start my own driving school!

    DAD: Gee son, that's swell.

    Or not.

    Rich Douglas
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    It isn't necessary to move from southern California to begin your very own school. Simply fly to Gilligan's Island, which is located just off the Australian mainland, or any other remote place, and implement the following process:

    1. Legislate the Entrepreneur University Act.
    2. Rent a small one-room office (10 X 12).
    3. Contract a telephone answering service.
    4. Secure faculty (optional!).
    5. Purchase a top notch Xerox copier.
    6. Purchase a ream of diploma paper.

    In this manner, when your students graduate, the diploma will be mailed from outside the US, which means no US involvement. This gives the diploma an international appeal.

    If your sole purpose is to make money, this should facilitate your objective.

  9. Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneur New Member

    Subject: Some clarifications

    1. I currently hold a MA degree from UCLA. My email address which the administer knows is an UCLA email address.
    1a. I don’t want to reveal my name (or my email) because I have too much emails to go over everyday already and I don’t really want to deal with spam.

    2. I am awared that my grammer is problematic which is part of reason that I am not pursuring a PhD degree. In addition, I don’t proofread my writing when using email or discussion groups because I feel that the email forum is similar to conversation not professional writing.

    3. The reason I ask for material at this forum rather than going down to the local library is that I want to read some literatures about formation of Distance Education Program before looking at official source since official info (which I already look at it) are complex and difficult to understand. If no information is available, then I would probably go to the source at Sacramento: California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary & Vocational Education. I’ll probably go to the the law library to look at the related information rather than reading them online, too.

    4. It is not my intention to start this venture with no expense. I intend to spend around 50K for setup and 1st year funding of this venture. Which is why I want to know as much information as possible about it before I talk to my partners. They told me to come up with a tentative proposal if I need to spend more than 50K.

    5. Another reason that I think this venture might be doable is that there are many unemployed PhDs or PhD candidates in southern California.
    a. An increasing number of PhDs without corresponding increase in teaching/professor positions.
    b. Many colleges/universities in southern California that award PhDs.
    c. The aversion to hiring PhDs because of overqualifications.
    d. Loss of job seeking skills because one stay in academia for too long.

    6. Getting a PhD degree in Education or working for someone else is not realisitc because it takes too long.
    a. A PhD degree usually takes 4 years. Moreover, Education Departments that concentrate on Distance Learing often treat DL as a part/component of the main program rather than a stand-alone program.
    b. If I work for DL owned by individual or corporations, then I run across 2 problems
    1. These programs are often run by core members and their staff are usually fairly small (3-20).
    2. Moreover, they will most likely ask me to sign a non-competitive agreement.
  10. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Okay, you sound like you're serious -- and if you're not, maybe someone who is will eventually read this and take advantage of my humble advice. If I were in your shoes, I'd try this:

    1. If you're thinking of firing up a DL school, why not pursue an inexpensive, nonresidential doctoral program in education? For instance: you might try the University of Southern Queensland (, which offers an Ed.D. in leadership.

    2. The Distance Education and Training Council ( is staffed by helpful and well-meaning folks. I don't always agree with the way they evaluate schools, but I think they're basically nice people -- and if you contact them, I think they'll help.

    3. Every successful school I've seen has been run with a vision; I have yet to see any school get fired up with the slogan "We're here to make money." (Even Harcourt and the University of Phoenix, both for-profit entities, are ostensibly set up to serve working adults who might not otherwise be looking for a degree.) So for the sake of everyone involved -- and mainly for the sake of your school -- try to come up with an "and." In other words, you're firing up the school to make money _and_ provide working adults with the opportunity to do X, where X is something they can't just as easily do somewhere else. There are over 200 GAAP distance learning MBA programs out there. If you want yours to stand out, it should be the cheapest accredited MBA in the United States, or the fastest accredited MBA in the United States, or the only accredited MBA in the United States focusing on bulk solids management, or whatever.

    I'd say good luck, but I don't know enough about exactly what you've got in mind to say I want you to succeed. :p But I'm always happy to see a new legitimate distance learning school.


  11. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I don't believe that you have a masters degree.

    I don't believe that UCLA would grant a masters degree to anyone who writes as poorly as you do. In fact, I don't believe that you are for real. I think that you are just somebody having fun jerking this discussion group's chain.

    You have a masters degree from UCLA and you propose to start a university. How can you write something like that?

    You already have partners, but you know so little about the business that you propose to enter that you are asking totally naive questions on an internet discussion group? And where did you get that $50,000 figure? From Rich Douglas' post? That's dreaming. In real life it's gonna cost a lot more than that in start-up costs, unless you propose to start a mill.

    You obviously know nothing at all about education. So you are going to have to hire professional educators with experience in distance education to design your school and its programs. You are going to need some legal staff. You will need clerical people. If you propose to offer on-line courses, you will have to think about everything from servers to course design. You are going to have to hire subject matter specialists to design a curriculum and you will have to hire a faculty to teach it, every one of which is going to expect your entire $50K/year.

    You propose to enter a field that you know absolutely nothing about because taking the time to learn the business first is just too slow?

    "Entrepeneur" doesn't mean "idiot".

    That's interesting. Could you give me even one example of a legitimate distance education institution with a staff of three?

    Bullshit. If you really have any relationship with UCLA, walk across campus to their extension department building and see what you can find out about designing, administering and delivering DL courses from UCLA Extension. They offer a great many distance learning courses, and they may have job openings. Even if they don't, you could perhaps talk them into taking you on as a volunteer of some sort.

    How in the world do you propose to become a university founder/president if you don't have any knowledge of, or experience in, what you plan to do?
  12. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    I agree with Tom's comments with the exception of DETC help. DETC will not look at an Ed.D. program. (This is not within their pilot program for first professional degrees.)

    Start with one program and make that program the best you can before developing others.

    $50,000 will not be sufficent. The BPPVE will require you have sufficent recources. What is sufficent will vary from case-to-case but the BPPVE fees alone including the site visit will exceed $5,000.
  13. Dan Snelson

    Dan Snelson New Member

    Talking to a co-worker today, she told me this story....

    I lady walking into a hospital and applied for a registered Nurse position. When she was asked for her License, She said she did not have one. When she was asked when she would graduate from Nursing school she replied "Oh, I have not gone to school, I just think it would be a good job".

    Kind of sounds like a guy that wants to start a shcool at the PhD level with a Master's Degree [​IMG]

    Dude giving your NAME does not cause spam. Do you CARE what type of courses or do you just want to get $$$$? I am sorry this is just TOO lame!

    I think the poster is doing way too much receational pharmaceuticals...

    Sorry Tom, Just can't take this guy serious.

  14. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I'm with Bill on this one. This guy's story sounds too fishy to me. I'm guessing that he's either a troll or a fraud wannabe.
  15. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    On a second read, neither can I; I blame all this on my new coffee maker, which is obviously diluting the goods.


  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

    My point exactly Bill!

    This is why Entrepreneur needs a good Xerox copier and a ream of diploma paper. The combination will produce excellent diplomas, which can be beautifully framed and hung with pride in a prominent place.

    This would appear to be the most direct route to founding a recognized university, which awards credible and reputable degrees. Experience and education as a president can come later, the main thing is to get the cash flow started. Entrepreneur can earn his Ph.D. in education while the Xerox is printing, or better yet, award himself an honorary doctorate from his own school!

  17. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    Not particularly accurate. I went to school with many people whose English language skills were similar. Didn't mean that they didn't have the critical thinking skills required to complete an MA. They actually did quite well.

    Did they have problems with terms papers and such? Sure. Insurmountable? No. I should mention, though, that my MA program required comprehensive exams, but no thesis. Certainly a better option for second language learners.

    Tom Nixon
  18. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Tom Nixon raised an interesting and relevant issue. Namely, what about all the people enrolling in programs that are offered in something other than their native language? Given the increasingly international nature of distance learning, we are going to be seeing a lot more students pursuing degrees in languages in which they are not competent.

    Wouldn't that largely depend on their major subject? I can easily imagine it in something like mathematics, but I can't see it in any of the more writing-intensive subjects. From history to business adminstration, writing is part of what a professional does.

    Didn't you do your MA at CSU Fresno? And doesn't CSU Fresno, like all CSU campuses, require the GWE? So, is it really possible to pass the GWE with writing skills as poor as 'Entrepeneur's'? And doesn't the fact that the CSU instituted this mandatory systemwide requirement indicate that they consider this to be a serious problem? I can't imagine that UCLA sees things any differently.

    I find it hard to believe that a graduate level course would pass papers written at a grade-school level. Whatever the field, a professional has to be able to express his or her self in a professional manner. Even engineers and MBAs write reports.

    I expect so. Although weren't the comps written?

    I don't know Tom. I realize that you and I are approaching this from diametrically opposite directions, you being an ESL instructor, while I'm coming from a very writing intensive humanities program.

    But I can't help but see this as just another example of the "dumbing down" of American higher education. We have literally reached the point that a graduate degree from a prestige university is less demanding in terms of professional written communication than my 1966 high school diploma.
  19. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    This reminds me of a couple of cases of a where a few of my master students have written poorly.

    One student in a course of mine was heavily docked on a paper for writing poorly. He complained and stated that I did not understand the "Queens" English of which he was trained. I then proceeded to point out, in more detail, over 20 significant grammar errors. He then conceded and did improve for future assignmets.

    In another case, a student was submitting papers that were close to the grade school level. The sentence structure was on the order of "The sky is blue. Clouds are in the sky. We breath air." After several attempts to work with the student I went back to the University and asked them how was this person ever admitted to the program. Since he was admitted I was informed that I needed to work with him as a student.

    To make a long story short. This student received a low grade, I am sure he wrote the one scathing review of my teaching methods, and later I learned he dropped out of the program.

    As an IT guy I hate having to grade grammar (not my field) but I also look at technical communications as an important IT function.

    Anyway, faculty need to create the hurdles to avoid the "dumbing down" syndrome. Oftentimes they do not get the support thy need.

  20. Guest

    Guest Guest


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