When I started my school, the Internet Marketing Training Center, I worked on it for about three years part time. Now my intention on this episode is to get you to the point where if you worked on it really hard you could have a school open in about six months to a year, fully certified by the state where you reside.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 151
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[02:53] Tom's introduction to Starting a For Profit School [05:00] Pick a topic [09:27] Check out demands for your school [11:19] Certificate or degree program [12:02] Why do you need a license? [13:49] Accreditation [17:01] Where will you have a school? [21:53] Distance learning software [22:40] Leasing or Buying a location [31:40] Marketing your school [36:15] How to apply to start your school [42:11] Fees and other requirements for application submission [47:10] Office furniture [48:24] Signage [49:10] Suggested books and other resources
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – email@example.com
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Program – https://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/
Schools for Sale – http://schoolsforsale.com/
Halladay Education Group – https://www.halladayeducationgroup.com/schools-for-sale/
Craigslist – https://craigslist.org/
Facebook Marketplace – https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/
OfferUp – https://offerup.com/
LetGo – https://letgo.com/
National Association of State Boards of Education – http://www.nasbe.org/
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia – https://schev.edu/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Advisory Boards – https://screwthecommute.com/148/
Dr. Jeff Hockings – https://screwthecommute.com/150/
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Want The Transcript for this episode?
Episode 151 For Profit Schools This is will the things you need to think about and the requirements of starting a licensed for profit school. I’ll only be talking about what it takes to get started and in a future episode I’ll talk about running such a school. Owning and founding one of these schools can really set you apart from your competitors.
Episode 150 Jeff Hockings this guy is saving lives by the hundreds with diabetes reversal clinics all over the country.
I’ve got a big Freebie to thank you for listening to this podcast. It’s my $27.00 e-book “How to Automate Your business” Just one of the tips in this e-book has saved me over 7 million keystrokes. And I just might have something else for you over there I’ll know you’ll like. Visit: https://www.ScrewTheCommute.com/automatefree
Our Podcast App. Is in the iTunes store. You can also go to https://www.ScrewTheCommute.com/app where we have complete instructions to show you how to use all the fancy features so you can take us with you on the road and put it on your cell phone and tablet. If you would be so kind, please visit iTunes and leave us a review and rating. It really helps out the show.
And also, please tell your friends about this podcast. The more successful it is, the more freebies I’ll be giving to our faithful listeners.
Our sponsor today is my School the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia and even though it is in Virginia, it’s a distance learning school so you can study from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. It’s the only licensed, dedicated school of its kind in the country where you learn the nuts and bolts of either having your own online business, working for others running theirs or both. That’s IMTCVA.org
It is education for profit. How to start a profitable adult or child education facility. All right let's get to today’s topic. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to tell you about. When I started my school the Internet Marketing Training Center I worked on it for about three years part time. Now my intention on this episode is to get you to the point where if you worked on it really hard you could have a school open in about six months to a year for a fully certified by the state where you reside. Some of that depends on when they have their board meeting to approve your school. Sometimes you’re just sitting and waiting to be approved.
Now for me this has been a little bit of a frustration. Dealing with bureaucracy is not my best suit. I'm a hard-hitting entrepreneur. Make it happen. Ready. shoot aim kind of guy. So, I quite happily found a person his name is Dr. Howard Haller to help me. I call him Big Dog PhD. He’s a guy that's got credentials out the wazoo in the education field but what I really like about Doc Haller is that he also is an entrepreneur and understands the whole entrepreneurial side. So, I call him kind of like my interpreter because without him I might never have gotten the license. .
You know it's just I want to get a straight answer and I want to get things done and things move too slowly in the in the bureaucracy world. But I finally got through that and also with the help of Doctor Haller’s wife on the course development. So, the red tape is the biggest frustration so if you have a tolerance for that you'll be alright. If you don't, then you need to find somebody like Howard to help you.
The first thing you’ve got to do is pick a topic. Now this doesn't mean that you have to know anything at all about the topic. I figure most of you will want to do a school based around your expertise or hobbies or something like that but you don't have to.
You could simply be the owner of the school and have other people that are experts be your teachers and administrators. So, you do not have to know about the topic. Now one book that I recommend that's perfect for our topic is “Your certifiable the alternative career guide to more than 700 certificate programs, trade schools, and job opportunities.”
That's by Lee and Joel Naftali Now this is an older book still available on Amazon but you'd just be amazed at the number of schools that are out there and in the topics that they cover anything from horse massaging to standard degrees. If you don’t want to buy it, just use the “look in” function on Amazon. Check out the table of contents and you’ll be amazed at the kinds of schools people are running.
So, there are schools for everything out there and the beauty of this is this is a perfect time to be doing this because adult learning is booming and there’s a big backlash against traditional colleges and universities that I believe are ripping students and parents off. So, this is a perfect time to be in a for profit field and start a school. And you might also want to watch my webinar about this https://www.ScrewTheCommute.com/webinars It show all the things colleges and universities are doing to rip students off.
Now in the USA there is a government agency that can help you pick your topic. It is called the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And when you go there you want to look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Now this is if you have a school where you're preparing people for jobs. This wouldn't be for a little children's ballet school. But if you have anything to do where you're training somebody where they can go out and get a job.
For my school when I went there. I found out that what I teach probably won't get outsourced. Many of the things like programming and things of that nature are outsourced to other countries where the labor is much cheaper. I used a lot of the information that I found in this Occupational Outlook Handbook in my actual school application because one of the questions they ask you is “Why do you think your school will succeed?”.
One of the things I took directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and I had a whole bunch of stuff from them. But here's a quote from them. Now remember I'm teaching Internet marketing skills. Here's the quote.
“In order to compete successfully in the online world, firms employ marketing and sales workers to improve the presentation and features of Web sites and other web related content. These workers are vital for the successful promotion and sales of the products and services offered by the industry.” And then I put the reference to the exact U.R.L. to where I found that at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So that's pretty impressive and certainly a non-interested third party saying that what I'm doing makes sense.
Programming jobs are getting outsourced, but marketing jobs are not. With the US market being gigantic, companies want US Native speakers, or at least people who have been westernized to handle their marketing things. So, there was a whole bunch of stuff like that.
Some States make you attend a mandatory orientation before you're even allowed to fill out the application. I was expecting that orientation it to be worthless and it turned out to be very, very effective. And I do recall one person that was in our meeting that was going to open a nursing school and I saw all the people from State Council on Higher education look at each other. They asked him where are you doing it? And he said in Northern Virginia and they look at each other like he’s crazy and they said, “Do you realize there are 35 nursing schools in Northern Virginia?”
Now something like that could really discourage you. They were trying to tell the guy look you invest in all this stuff and you've got 35 competitors already in front of you and many of them are probably hurting for students. How are you going to start a new school and compete? So, they were pretty fair about it. But if he would have gone to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and then maybe narrowed it down to try to find the demand in that area, he may not have picked nursing as a good idea to start in Northern Virginia. Maybe he would have picked someplace else, but not Northern Virginia.
So, make sure you check out the demand for a particular type of school overall and what competitors you have in the area you plan to have it. It won’t be so critical about demand in a certain area if you’re doing a distance learning school but you still want to know what’s out there. If they’re big and established, they probably have enormous advertising budgets and alumni helping them to attract new students. You won’t as a newbie.
The next thing you have to decide if you want a certificate or degree program. I only have experience preparing for a certificate program and that I mean this has been a ton of work. I can't imagine how tough it would be for a degree school. So, all I'm talking about is from my experience starting a certificate school.
What’s good is that a certificate school has less stringent requirements than degree granting institutions. With degrees becoming more and more worthless, having a school that teaches a career skill becomes more and more valuable.
All right well why do you need a license. Well actually in most states it's illegal to have a school that's not licensed. The Government wants to protect the public from these diploma mills and they want to have some control that the quality of education people are purchasing. Remember this isn't public school kind of stuff. People are paying money for this and or getting loans to buy this education. The Government wants to have some control over it.
The inspector lady at this orientation said they weren't trying to be mercenary about this but she said that she gives a school plenty a chance to go through the licensing process and if they refuse to do it, she actually turns them over to the state attorney general's office. So, if you're operating a school and you haven't gone for your licensing you better check your state because as more and more of these diploma mills are in the news and getting shut down, they may target you. And I'd rather get the license legitimately than have to go through a state investigation. So, I suggest getting it.
Now you know people say well Tom you've been teaching this stuff Tom for ages without a license. Why go through all the hassle.
Well I'm teaching on a consulting basis. I'm not advertising to the public per say that I'm operating a school that gives a certificate. The Mentor Program that I have is more of a consulting arrangement between me and other people. Yeah. They see me speak and sign up for it but it's not advertised in the state of Virginia as a school. Different terminology there.
Now let’s talk about accreditation. On this episode I'm only talking about getting the first level which is a state license. Accreditation allows you to get a regulated .edu domain name and it’s a higher level of validation that your school passed a higher level of standards than just being licensed.
The big thing though is that when you're accredited you can get government back loans for your students. That's the real big kicker there because this way it's much easier for a student to get a loan if the government is guaranteeing it or giving it to them directly. So now that's a big reason you go for accreditation.
And one thing you should know though is that they're cracking down on this and watching your institution very carefully on how many people went through your program how many people got jobs in their field and so forth to decide how many loans your school can get because if you don't perform well and you poorly prepare people for the workplace if that's what you're doing then they don't want to the government to be stuck for the loans for all these people.
And it's really interesting I saw on TV some students from a sonogram school or whatever the thing is they look inside you for babies. Are doing a class action suit against their university because they were on the job in the field and they said we do not know what we're doing. The education was so bad they didn't know what they were doing and they were in there unsupervised with live patients in a hospital internship.
So, they sued their university. So that place is probably going to have trouble getting student loans later. It's good to know about accreditation from the start so you can make your policies match them because they're usually tougher than the State’s regulations.
For instance, when we're starting my school, we had to have a refund policy. There's a state mandated refund policy for the students and it's based on whatever the state says. So, if the student does a small part of the course and they drop out they get the bulk of their money back. If they had half of the course, they get part of their money back and so forth.
So, our refund policy is more lenient towards the student than is required by the state of Virginia. Now the state people love this. So, because we're taking care of students, which is their mandate to protect the students and we don't have to change anything when we do go for accreditation. So, if you're gonna shoot for accreditation you might as well learn about their requirements early on and then your policies will be in line when the time comes. And your State will think hey this is a better school because you’re putting better standards than they require.
Okay. Where can you have a school? Well it depends. Can you have it in your house? Well let's say you have a horse shoeing school. The state would probably let you do it in your barn. Now let's say you want to have a massage school though that's a whole different thing. Not horse massage but a massage for people. Well if you live in a remote area you probably won't have any problem but if you live in a residential area you may run into problems. And you'd think well you know it's awful quiet it's in my home who's going to know about it. Well the main problem that you're going to have is that many of the licensing boards will require as part of your application for you to include your business license as part of the application process.
Now depending on the zoning where you live you may not be able to get a business license at all let alone one for where you're going to bring multiple students into your home. So, I'm not telling you to lie on these things. I'm just telling you that you've got to check this stuff out ahead of time because you don't want to put all the time and investment into applying to have a school and thinking you're going to do it in your home and then get blown out of the water when you can't get the business license.
So, check it all out ahead of time and You'll also need another thing called a “certificate of occupancy.” And this is going to require an inspection. So, the city or your municipality comes out and they really look at your thing if you don't pass muster, you're not going to get your application because the State wants to know that if you're gonna have students that it's a safe place to have students. Now another thing you've got to decide you want in-house students do you want distance students or both. Distance is the easiest if it makes sense for you.
Why not have in-house students in and make more income. There's pros and cons to it. You'll have to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act. You'll have to make sure it's a safe environment. You'll have to make sure you don't disturb the neighborhood or other businesses. You'll have to have teachers in there in person on a time schedule. So, it's quite a bit different than running a distance only operation but let's say let's say you want to have an archery school. You'd never get a license if you lived in a residential area. I mean you might get it if you were on 15 acres of land or if you were only going to have a classroom in your office and then in a practicum at some archery range that you lease. I'm going to talk about leasing commercial places for schools in I think that will be in upcoming episode 166 in about a month.
I'm telling you these things so you can think things out before you make a decision to go forward.
Even if you just want to do distance learning, you still have to have a secure place for student records and administration. If you’re doing distance learning, you'll have to have a plan for delivering the training and some kind of software for distance learning.
One thing they made very clear at the orientation meeting is that you can't advertise a yearlong certificate program for the in-person people and then let the distance learning people finish it in like two weeks. They made that a big point that they weren't going to allow stuff like that because they want to make sure that the that the training is equal even though it's different. So, even though the distance learning is allowed to go faster or you know you can advertise at your own pace you can't let it go too fast. What they're doing is they're trying to really work against these diploma mills. That's some of the big people that you've heard of nationally known people who've got their P HD through these fake universities. In fact, one of them got closed down recently in California. Several big-name people and I'm not going to name any names on this recording but I guarantee you've heard their names got fake PhD’s from this place.
So, they're really worried about that so they're not going to let you run somebody through in two weeks if it takes a year normally. Now that doesn't mean you can't. Now let me be clear on this. That doesn't mean you can't sell a two-week course. Not at all but if you have an in-person course of six months the online person can't finish it in a week. They will not allow that. OK.
Distance Learning Software
Depending on the type of school you have, you may not need specific distance learning software. You might just have a simple membership site that students log in to for extra resources or for a student forum or something like that. And some people have physical learning materials like books and DVD’s the give to students. I’ll just say a brief word about actual learning software. I tried Moodle for a while because it was free, but it was nothing but trouble. I now use Matrix which is full featured but cheaper than many of the super well-known distance learning platforms. BTW They're called l m S's or learning management systems.
Ok. Now what about location and leasing or buying. I wanted a location on a road with high traffic counts. Now about 40 to 50 thousand cars a day go by 498 s Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach which is my location and I also wanted one that had a sign available. This is another thing you need to think about ahead of time. If it doesn't have a sign in front of a place you're trying to rent. You better check with your municipality first to see what kind of sign is allowed if any. Sometimes you can't have any more signs that are already there. So, you got to check that out ahead of time.
I also wanted something that was easy access for major highways in case I had events at the school. Which I have had Buttcamp there quite a few times. . So, I want to make it easy access to people off the interstates and of course if you're having students come in you don't want it in a seedy area. So, mine school is on a very nice major thoroughfare.
Now I didn't want to buy a place. I wanted ease of getting in. I wanted to test the concept. And I wanted the rent to be fully tax deductible. It's much faster to be able to lease places and get them ready than it is to purchase and be stuck with them forever if it doesn't work out or if you make a poor decision on location or something, you're stuck with it. OK now you may want to be in the mainstream where there's lots of people around.
If all your training is indoors and doesn't present any problem in the neighborhood this just gives you access to many more people even if you just rent offices with no frontage on the street or no sign or anything. There are just maybe way more people available to you if you're right in the mainstream. If you're distance training only it doesn't matter too much where you are but you still have to impress the people that will do a site visit to your school. And yes, there is a site visit. Even if you're distance learning only.
Because you have to have admin and student records and a secure internet and all that stuff. Now specialty training like I mentioned this earlier horse massage obviously needs a place you can have a horse. So, barns are mostly likely going to be in a less populated area but you still might want to have a sign out because even rural roads have traffic counts and people. It's a free way to let people know your school is there.
Now you might consider part time leasing of your training area let's say a race car school may lease a local track once a month. I know this has happened because that's how one of my first Internet teachers died. They rented a racetrack in San Diego. A hunting school may lease a farm a shooting school may lease the gun range a skateboard school may lease the local track.
Now think about this when a tennis school could partner with the city or provide programs for the city on a contract basis to use the courts.
Now I'm not guaranteeing that this is going to fly in your city because you get some snooty people on City Council that don't want anything to do with for profit enterprises but I'm just trying to give you ideas that you can pitch because it would be great for the community and because you make a few bucks on it. Hey it’s better than the courts sitting empty.
Now I'm going to have a bunch of leasing tips for you a little later. I did a real extensive study on leasing commercial property when I started doing this. Just so I wouldn't get taken to the cleaners by some of these scumbag landlords that are out there.
Now let's say you buy. Well I had someone email me and say there were eighty-one schools for sale and I can't remember if she said Detroit or Chicago or something like that I don't remember. Then she was asking about getting grants to buy them. Well I'm not a grant expert so I can't tell you about that but what I do know is that in many cases these schools go for pennies on the dollar.
If you are one or you know a good commercial real estate negotiator you could most likely get all kinds of tax breaks and concessions if you took one of these schools over privately. I guarantee you the city or town it's in would just love to get the property producing tax revenue and no vandalism and not having to watch it turn into is an eyesore.
So, 81 schools in just one city. Also, the people selling these schools don't care too much what they get out of them. It wasn't their money that bought it in the first place and they're not going to get it a nickel of what you pay for it. Maybe I guess a broker might make a commission but the city probably doesn’t care as long as the tax rolls are padded and it doesn't turn into an eyesore that they have to deal with later.
Here is really a good thing to check out. I went on eBay real estate.. But I just typed in the word “school” in eBay real estate. Hahahaha there’s a 90,000 square foot school for only 1 million dollars or best offer. LOL that’s not even half the price of my house.
I saw another school in Oklahoma on ebay. It was gorgeous just like the one I just mentioned. It wasn’t as big. . It was for sale for two hundred fifty thousand dollars. And it's an entire school complex it looks modern. It's got the gymnasium and everything. A week later it was on sale on eBay for one hundred and ninety-nine thousand dollars.
I mean that’s less than the average cost of a house in the United States. You could have this whole thing now. I certainly would work out concessions with the city because you don't want to pay one hundred ninety-nine thousand and then get 150000 a year in taxes. Right? Anyway, they're basically giving the schools away. You probably have way more room than you need and you could sublease parts of it.
Check eBay every once in a while, if you think you'd like to buy a school building in your community or if you don't mind moving into a different community for some super deal.
Buying an Existing School
Also, another thing is you might consider is to buy an operating school. Now this can have significant upside to it for you because they've already been through all the red tape to get the initial license. Now you still have to apply for any change of ownership but they've already got the way paved for you as long as they haven’t had tons of violations and have the inspectors all over them. Hey, maybe the inspectors would be happy to have someone come in and fix all the troubles.
A school being for sale doesn't necessarily mean that it's a losing proposition. It might be a seller who's just sick of doing it. It might be they're being threatened to be closed down for the state because they're not willing to run it properly. So, it's possible you could just go in and take over an existing school.
Here's some Web sites that you could look for. http://schoolsforsale.com/ , https://www.halladayeducationgroup.com/schools-for-sale , https://www.loopnet.com/schools-for-sale/ ,
Now for many of your schools just simple office space is just going to be fine. If you're just teaching some skill that you don't need a crazy farm or a gun range or an archery range, you might just find simple office space.
OK now let's talk about marketing your school. There are many directories you can advertise in. You might have to pay a little bit but these directories have a lot of traffic. You'll be searchable and prospective students can find you there. Another good way is publicity especially in your local area. If you want local students or if you have a unique school like a dog whispering school or something like that you can search out specialty websites, blogs, magazines and trade journals on your topic and get articles, blog and social media postings placed in them about your school. A school uses many of the other marketing techniques I’ve talked about in past episodes so go back and look through my Monday trainings for tons of tips.
If you’re looking for local students, you might try cable TV infomercials. It’s relatively cheap to run depending on the size of your market. Plus, the same infomercial can run on your website.
Well I don't think I'm going to advertise on the radio. I may experiment with it but doing talk shows would be great. But the only bad part is you got to do them over and over and over but I'm gonna do whatever it takes to give to give this school the best start that I can possibly do.
And that's another way you can promote your school is in those career and employment rags. You see them on the way in to the grocery stores all the time. These are little newspapers that have jobs in them for people. So those are places you want to check out their ad rates online. I want you to start noticing anywhere you see other schools advertising.
Places like Facebook and YouTube and Instagram have millions and millions of people to advertise to. But you better learn what you’re doing because you can lose a lot of money fast. If you can get it to where the ads are paying off then you can scale it up to bring in more students.
We have an affiliate program going so we can have people promoting our school and they get paid a commission if someone signs up.
Here’s just one idea. Let’s say somebody is sitting in a pizza shop eating pizza and they see my flyer on the counter or on their table and they decide to join my school. That pizza shop is going to make a lot of money. Maybe more than a week's worth of pizza profits. So, you think who you could make a deal with where they would distribute your brochure with a code or sticker or something on it that tied that student to them.
Of course, you have to make sure there’s no regulations about giving referral fees because some states might consider that pizza shop owner part of your sales force and they might have strict regulations about incentives so check that out before you give incentives for leads.
Now the one thing that they were really clear about in what I've read in the regulations for these schools in Virginia and I'm sure this is everywhere is they're very strict on you controlling your sales force.
If it’s not you personally talking to students you better be very clear with the people who are talking to students not to promise or claim things that the school doesn’t actually provide. For instance, even though there is a big demand for Internet Marketing help, I can’t guarantee you will get a job or you will make money in your own business. Not only would that be unethical, it would probably get my school shut down.
So, the state will not allow this kind of stuff and in some cases, you’d be liable criminally for allowing people to lie about what's going on. So, make sure that nothing you don't say anything that's not true. You don't let anybody selling your school say something that's not true and everything should be written out carefully in the enrollment agreement.
So that's marketing your school. Now here's the student application. These are the kinds of things that I had to go to that orientation meeting to learn about and there's so many things here that I just never dreamed of that would be needed to start a school.
The two really good things that Virginia does is they force you to go to this orientation because it really did answer a lot of questions that were on my mind. And they also give you samples of things that go into the student application. They even gave us a disc with some of this stuff so we could just copy and paste into our proposed student application.
OK they want you to have a mission statement. The next one was called a surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit. This is to ensure that if you start a school and take a bunch of student tuitions and you go out of business that there'll be money available to pay the student refunds. They’re a real sticker on this. So, you have to get a surety bond that's called or an irrevocable letter of credit which I found easier to get. However, everything is red tape nowadays. That was two weeks of paperwork and crap just to get this letter of credit and I even backed it up with cash to make it a slam dunk to get it. So, I’m just warning you there is all kinds of paperwork nowadays. But you got to do it. Next, they wanted an organization chart including management and key personnel. They really want to know who's involved in this business.
And they want to know a thing called “prior involvement” which means if you had anything to do with a school in your past you have to go get a notarized statement and tell them exactly your role and what happened in this. They want to know if the school went bankrupt or had a bad reputation and if you had any roll in it. Because some of these diploma mills soon as they get shut down, they go open up another one under a different name. So, it's now it be it would be criminal to lie about that.
Next and I don't believe this was required, but they kind of strongly hinted that you should have an advisory board. So, I got Dr. Haller and I got another P HD friend of mine that's in education and another guy with a master's degree and they're on my advisory board and they're not paid. I’m actually starting a separate advisory board for military, first responders and law enforcement. I covered advisory boards in episode 148 in last Monday’s training session.
They want to know about teacher credibility. In my case I showed them my John Wiley published book and told them about how many consulting clients I had and told them about me speaking on the topic in 12 countries around the world. If you don’t have a standard topic like accounting where you would show them your accounting degree and experience, you need to document all the things you’ve done in the field so they are satisfied you will be a good teacher. You also need to do this for all your instructors.
Ok.. Back to the application. You have to show the objectives of your course. Any expected training standards for your topic and you can even tell them other schools that are teaching it because they might want to compare your curriculum to something else before they give you the license. It's a little bit harder for my school for them to compare curriculum since no other school are teaching the topic and when I say that, there are plenty of ecommerce classes at universities but nobody is teaching the nuts and bolts like we do. Anyway, I gave them my book and whatever I could so they could see that it's credible training.
You need to have a course outline including the number of hours of lecture lab and workshop hands on training for whatever you're teaching.
You also have to have sample ads. And in our case every advertisement, postcard brochure and a school catalog …. basically, every promotional piece has to have on it certified to operate by SCHEV the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia which is my governing body. So, you have to provide samples of this. I thought this is a pain for every promotion to be cleared by SCHEV.
But the orientation cleared that question up. No. You don’t have to have every ad cleared. They just want to know you understand the concept of putting the certified stuff on all your ads.
You also have to do projected revenues and expenses for three years and this is about as made up as you can get. I mean I've been in business 42 years and never did one of these. But I just kind of made up what I thought it would be and as far as I know nobody's questioning it. Being in business for a while you get a feel for what is reasonable expenses and income. But these were total guesstimates.
You have to have a sample enrollment agreement. That is what the student would sign when they join.
You have to pay a fee to submit the application. The fees in Virginia when I applied are twenty-five hundred dollars for a non-degree granting school and six thousand dollars for a degree granting school. I think we also had to pay a few extra fees for the day of the site visit expenses, but I can’t remember. If I did, it wasn’t much.
You must have a succession plan. I.e. What happens if something happens to you? Can the school keep running? You also need a disaster plan like incase of earthquake or flood or terrorist attack.
They also want to know how you're going to survey the effectiveness and make your school better over time. And they also wanted a copy of the signed lease to prove that you have the location.
They want a sample catalog and they give whole sample catalog on their website and on a C.D. so a lot of it was just cut and paste.
Check this out. I have to maintain a library even though my school is presently distance learning only. Even though a lot of your resources can be online, they still want to see a physical library. It’s beyond me if you were just doing distance learning why you'd need an internal library but they want one.
They want to know about your classrooms. They want to know you have enough parking. They want to know the history and development of the school. They want to know all the programs of the school. Of course, this is in your school catalog. You have to put how to apply to your school and your admission policy. Like do you need a GED or high school education? Do you have to speak English? How old do you have to be? And things like that
At the orientation.it didn't appear to me that they cared too much about what certain policies were, but they cared a lot if you advertise a policy and then didn't adhere to it. So, if you advertise that it takes a high school education and then you let somebody in that doesn't. You better have a darn good reason. And the fines are like I a thousand dollars per violation. Now you can change the policy but you must be practicing what you're advertising at the time. They want to show in the catalog.
Do you give credit for previous schooling? Do you have career and placement services? Do you have student housing assistance? The really big deal is retention of student records. Some records have to be kept forever. Some for five years after the person leaves and they made a real big deal in the regulations about you must have a third-party backup for your records that is not part of your company in other words has to be totally different company.
They want to know what is the attendance requirements to pass. What's your grading system. Mine is pass/fail. What's the school calendar and holidays? Is financial assistance available now? It didn’t apply to me since it’s distance learning on your own schedule but if it did, I would have had to make a definition of what Tardiness is.
There was even a section on what it takes or what you suggest the student needs to do to be successful. I had to have a section about the instructors and their accessibility outside of class time.
Can you see when I boast no other Internet Marketer supposed guru has gone through this kind of hassle to prove themselves, that I’m not kidding. And I’m not done yet.
They want to know, what's the code of conduct that the school has. Is there a dress code? Are you compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act? So those are all things that go into a student catalog.
Assuming you complete your application and it’s all acceptable, you aren’t finished yet. Not by a long shot. The governing body will schedule an onsite review of your operation. While they want to see your classroom and conference room. …of course, the library I mentioned earlier.
They check your records retention routine. They're going to check my secure Internet make sure nobody can break in. They want to meet the staff. They want to review the courses both online and offline.
So that's a physical inspection and they really want to make sure that you're the real deal.
OK. Let's see. Office furniture we furnished this entire 3,200 square feet for really cheap and with really nice stuff. Many places that go out of business put their furniture and equipment in storage and they’re desperate to get rid of it because of the storage fees.
So, we go to Craigslist. What I did is I made a big list of all the things I needed and every day I would type in those keywords into Craigslist and I came up with all kinds of cheap stuff that was just gorgeous. When you see this school eventually either we send you pictures of it or if you come and visit. It's just gorgeously furnished and the stuff was pennies on the dollar and here's a trick on craigslist. If you're searching on Craigslist plurals count. So, if I was looking for employee lockers. And I put in the word lockers. I'll get a different result if I just put the word locker. So be careful on Craigslist that you put the plurals of everything. You can do the same thing on buying apps. We use Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and LetGo.
I did get a place that has a great big sign up front and I was considering converting it to one of these full color digital signs but they are really, really expensive especially for a good quality one. I got two estimates. One was thirty-seven thousand two hundred and the other was forty-one thousand six hundred. I told both of them to go jump in Mt. Trashmore lake next door to me. LOL . No, I really didn’t, but I could open two or three schools for that amount of money so I don’t think I should suggest you get one as your main priority.
All right now here's some books that have really helped me with this. One is called “Rebel with a Cause”. This is the guy who started the University of Phoenix one of the biggest schools in the world. His name is John Sperling.. The next one is “Higher Ed Inc.: The rise of the for-profit university” By Richard S. Rook. OK the next one is “Universities in the Marketplace: The commercialization of higher education” by Derek Bok. The next one is “Earnings from Learning: The rise of for-profit universities” by David Brenneman. Just search Amazon for any newer ones, but these will still be helpful even though they’re older.
Now I promise you also to tell you where you could find your state boards. The National Association of State Boards of Education. http://www.nasbe.org/ Just finding that is not good enough. You're going to find your state Board of Education and call them and ask them for the Web site or website URL that applies to licensing private adult education schools. Somebody, if you try hard enough is going to know what part or what website to go to for adult education schools because that's what you want.
You don't want to fool around with the public education stuff you want to find the one that covers what you're doing and in Virginia it’s SCHEV.edu So it's State Council of Higher Education for Virginia..
All right. Well I. Hopefully that gives you a little primer on what you're up against to start a for profit adult education school and I emphasize start because this was just for how to start one not how to run one. Maybe I’ll do that in a future episode. So good luck and go out there and make some money teaching people.
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