Updated October 29, 2020:

Starting a University/College: Introduction

When wondering how to start a university, you should be motivated to share your knowledge with students and possess an educational philosophy about which you feel strongly.

Starting a university can be very difficult, particularly because you will need to meet a variety of regulations intended to ensure you are providing your students with a quality education.

Before you start your university, you will need to decide whether you will run a physical or virtual school. Starting a virtual university can be much less expensive in terms of overhead costs, but you will likely need advanced technical knowledge to set up and run your university. The biggest obstacle to starting a university will be securing funding.

Starting a University/College

The first step of starting your university is determining your area of education and then developing your mission statement.

You should research universities similar to your own to find out what they offer and to decide if you want to provide the same courses and services. It's also important to develop a strategy for outselling other colleges in your area. Students spending money on your school will want to know that you'll provide them with the best educational experience possible.

Attempting to undercut the prices of other universities is a common mistake, as running a college is much more expensive than you might imagine. Universities that do not have a large amount of capital should refrain from listing low-cost as their purpose.

In your mission statement, you should include information about:

  • Why your university exists.
  • Your university's educational philosophy.
  • The curriculum you will offer.
  • The personal goals you wish to achieve.

To make sure you've written a strong mission statement, you should let your family and friends read your statement and then ask them for feedback. In particular, you should ask the people that read your mission statement if it would make them likely to send their children to your university or to attend themselves. By using the feedback from your family and friends, you can clarify your mission statement and develop a pitch that you can use to attract investors.

Think about whether your university will have a physical location or if you will run a virtual school. It is also possible for you to combine these two options. If you want to open a physical university, you should be aware that your costs, particularly your startup costs, will be much higher. The facilities that you choose will need to be able to accommodate your projected number of students. You will also need to comply with health, insurance, and safety regulations.

You will also need to choose the right location for your university. To attract students, you will need to choose a safe location that students can easily reach by foot or bike. Finding such a location will usually require you to spend more money. Before choosing your location, it's important to do a lot of research.

When you're first starting your university, only offering virtual courses is a great choice, as this will drastically lower your costs. If you want to offer online courses, you will either need to possess technical expertise or will need to invest in an IT staff. You will also need strong security and privacy strategy, adequate server space, and support staff that your students can contact whenever they need to resolve connection issues. People expect that technology will work immediately, so you should be very careful when planning your courses and starting your virtual school.

It's always a good idea to get advice and guidance from those who possess experience in the educational field, as well as finance and business. Try to schedule a meeting with the founders of universities in your area and ask them for suggestions on how best to overcome obstacles when starting your school.

You should research options for funding your university before you move forward with the process of opening your school. If you plan to establish a non-profit university, you should look for people that are interested in supporting this type of educational institution. Depending on the area where you are starting your university, you may have access to grants. When searching for investors, you should look for people that share your educational philosophy and believe in the stated mission of your university.

To get the help you need to start a university, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.