How to start a College/University?

Published in Entrepreneurship Articles category by MBA Skool Team , Published on January 07, 2016

The article talks about the steps on how to start a college. College/University is an educational institute which imparts mostly higher education after school. College is the place after which the students enter the real world. College is an important step for people. Colleges and schools are never enough and the world needs them to educate. Let us see the steps on opening a college/university.


Steps to start a college:

Step 1 Starting out and Funding

The first step when thinking about starting a college is to think on the commitments that will lay the foundations of the college. This will be instrumental in deciding the future processes and advanced planning. Moving ahead, the main hurdle in the way is to get enough startup capital. This money can be loaned from a bank, an organization or members of any community who can then take the role of founding members of this college. Another way is that it could also recruit professionals or reach online fundraising campaigns to generate money. Apart from the monetary assistance, one should also find experts that can help in education, business and finance.  Seeking out the advice and help from the existing college owners would be a right step to start out in this new venture of starting a college.

Step 2 Make an Executive Summary

The next stage after gathering the initial financials would be to strategize further on making decisions and allocating resources efficiently to achieve the commitment which are the core focus of the institution. Planning an executive summary of the whole idea would be a way to start this exercise. Allocating resources and capital, drafting the program offerings, writing the curriculum and mission statement would be the key components of the executive summary.

Figuring out the operating cost for first few years and mapping a plan for financials would help the institution in getting a strong foundation and better plan for the future. This is also crucial in the expansion that would take place once the institution decides to go for an expansion in terms of infrastructure or intellectual properties. Executive summary is an effective tool for plotting the direction of the college. The more detailed the executive summary better will be our understanding and clarity on the challenges that will come ahead. This executive summary would not only be crucial in picturing a clear overview but it will also ensure trust in our partners who will be associated with the college.

While executive summary roughly touches all the aspects of opening of a college, it doesn’t really delve into the nitty-gritty of the entire plan. However, what is must after an overall view is to go into details of each point covered in executive summary.

Step 4 Market Research

First, start with the market research – One should hire a consultant or spend considerable time doing the market research on the demographics of the area. This is important as one should make sure that the area is accessible easily. Proximity to airport/railway station is also taken consideration. Often, the colleges are setup on the outskirts of cities, towns ensuring that the students get a green environment rather than in the center in the hustle bustle of the city.

Analysis of that area in terms of future vision is also important whether the area will continue to remain as it is or will it be occupied by factories, industries etc.

Step 5 Domain, Courses and type of Students

Moving forward, we should analyze the type of students that our college would be targeting, whether the admissions will be through our own entrance test or through their academic scores or a central authority test such as CAT, GMAT etc.

We should also study other colleges of the same type in particular area which are opened from before and talk to their owners and ask about their experience. Another thing related to academics that’s worth noting here is that we should research whether there is a need for the program in the demographics of the area. Often, we find that colleges thrive in the area where there is a demand of the students in the nearby industries for a particular course. Taking an Indian college example of JBIMS, Mumbai which is in the center of Mumbai and is greatly benefited from the location perspective, almost all the major financial bank Headquarters are located nearby within a radius of 3 km around it.

Another thing to observe are the general trend in the education sector of the industry, what I mean by that is one should pay enough attention to whether the courses offered by the college are in demand. For ex: With growing buzz over high salaries and better future prospects engineering is a much desired subject in India than arts. So, these trends should be kept in mind.

Step 6 Accreditation and Structured steps

The first step after building the plan for the college will be to get the college building approved by and architect listed with the council of architecture. The building should also be constructed with the norms laid down by AICTE.

e.g. If it’s a technical college in India, then the next step would be to gain recognition from the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) because as the norm dictates all the technical institutions should be approved by AICTE. Even for MBA and MCA courses the approval by AICTE is a must as ordered by the honorable supreme court of India in its judgement dated May 9, 2014

Similarly in any country, there would be councils for accrediting the courses/colleges under different streams and domains.

This is a very important step and needs to be done.

Step 7 Staff Recruitment

Staff would include both the faculty as well as administrative staff. So a proper research needs to be done on these aspects.

As per the provisions made under the regulations to be incorporate under the ordinances of the university, the direct recruitment to the posts of Assistant Professors, Associate Professors and Professors in the Universities and Colleges shall be on the basis of merit through all India advertisement and selections by the duly constituted Selection Committees.

Also, there are many regulations on the qualifications of professors, assistant professors when recruited by the university.

Step 8 Governance

Since establishing a degree granting college/university is often a complex process, one should have a framework and specific tools in mind for efficiently reaching the goals. We should first consider how we will meet our future student’s needs which includes degree certificate, quality education, infrastructure for delivering on superior education, administrators for managing and governing the overall aspects from financials to operations etc. After deciding on the framework we should be able to work out our finances and we will need an estimate of future input. This will obviously help us to speed up our college setting process but it will also be beneficial when we will approach state/central authorities for accreditation or demand for the status of deemed university in the future.

Here we would proceed by recruiting expert administrators for key departments i.e

Financials – Responsible for setting up and letting us know the investment which will be needed in this department for ex: On Systems, Software, people etc.

Academics – Responsible for setting up the academics in order by estimating the number of professors needed to efficiently run the college. Selecting the director, the qualification of the professors, number of assistant professors and senior professors etc. will be decided by the academic administrator. This person would also be responsible for deciding on future expansion plans in terms of courses offered by the college.

Campus Administrator – Responsible for ensuring that the facility runs in order and intimating the board in case there is a failure or any issues in campus infrastructure. Also responsible for ensuring basic ground rules for the campus like: No stranger entry without prior intimation, no person to be allowed who is under the influence of alcohol etc

Step 9 Review Process

Not only setting up of a college is a long and complex process, but it is also one of the process which requires continuous attention after it has been setup. The continuous reviews are needed to gauge the achievements and to assess the progress of the institution. This review will be instrumental in setting a roadmap for the year ahead.

Through this process the college will prosper each successive year and become the home ground of budding future leaders of the respective industry.

The article has been authored by Vaibhav Singh, SIBM Pune.


Views expressed in the article are personal. The articles are for educational & academic purpose only, and have been uploaded by the MBA Skool Team.

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