New York State Reopens Applications for Degree-Granting Institutions: What Does The New Process Look Like?

March 25, 2024
New York State Reopens Applications for Degree-Granting Institutions: What Does The New Process Look Like?
We provide the licensing and accreditation needed to establish a new university and offer comprehensive guidance throughout the process.

This involves helping our clients understand all the legal and financial requirements around university establishment, as well as providing marketing and branding advice to ensure their university or college stands out from other educational institutions.

Our competitors can only offer a limited service, either licensing or accreditation, as most don't have the skills or team required to provide a turnkey service. This is why EEC stands out from the crowd – we can offer our clients everything they need to get their university off the ground easily and efficiently.
We aim to provide a complete service that will give our clients every chance of success when setting up their university. With EEC, you get a complete package of expertise and support for your university startup project.

 At EEC we're looking at building a long-term relationship with our clients, where launching a university is only the first step.

 We are confident that no other company can match our team of experts and their specialized knowledge.

Since the pandemic started, entrepreneurs and education innovators have faced a significant challenge in New York: the state's Department of Education (NYSED) had temporarily stopped accepting applications for new degree-granting institutions. This moratorium on new applications left many aspiring university founders in limbo, unable to move forward with their plans to establish innovative, high-quality educational institutions. However, in a much-anticipated move, NYSED has finally reopened the application process, signaling a new era of opportunity for higher education in New York. This decision has been met with enthusiasm from the education community, as it allows for the creation of new, diverse, and forward-thinking institutions that can meet the evolving needs of students and employers alike.

Opening a university in New York State can be an exciting and rewarding venture for entrepreneurs looking to make a significant impact in the education sector. As a vibrant hub for new businesses, New York offers a wealth of opportunities and resources for those seeking to establish a degree-granting institution. With its robust economy, highly educated workforce, and strategic location, the state provides an ideal environment for launching and growing a successful university.

Why New York State is the Perfect Place to Open a University

New York State is a compelling choice for entrepreneurs considering opening a university, and for good reason. The state boasts one of the largest economies in the United States, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeding $1.7 trillion in 2021, making it the third-largest state economy in the country. This economic prowess translates into a broad and diverse market for new businesses, including educational institutions.

In addition to its economic strength, New York is home to a highly educated workforce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 36% of New Yorkers aged 25 and over held a bachelor's degree or higher in 2019. The state also has a significant concentration of professionals in finance, technology, media, and the arts, providing a rich talent pool for universities to draw upon for both faculty and staff.

New York State's commitment to innovation and research is another compelling reason to consider opening a university here. The state invests heavily in research and development (R&D), with expenditures topping $19 billion in recent years. Numerous research universities and institutions call New York home, fostering a culture of innovation and technology transfer in sectors like biotechnology, clean energy, and information technology.

For entrepreneurs seeking funding, New York offers unparalleled access to capital. New York City, part of New York State, is a global financial center, providing access to venture capital, private equity, and other forms of financing. In 2020, New York-based startups received over $16 billion in venture capital funding, ranking it second in the U.S. for such investments.

New York's strategic location on the East Coast is another advantage, providing easy access to domestic and international markets. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest on the East Coast, and the state's airports, including JFK International, are among the busiest in the world, facilitating trade and travel.

The state also offers a range of incentives for businesses, including tax credits for job creation, investments in R&D, and the establishment of operations in certain zones. The START-UP NY program, for example, offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for up to 10 years on or near eligible university or college campuses.

Finally, New York offers a high quality of life with its diverse cultural offerings, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. This makes it an attractive location for entrepreneurs and their employees looking for a balance between work and lifestyle.

In short, the reopening of NYSED's application process for degree-granting institutions is a game-changer, signaling a promising era for educational innovation in New York. The state's economic vitality, talent pool, commitment to innovation, access to funding, strategic location, business incentives, and quality of life collectively present a compelling case for why New York is the perfect place to open a university. Although the process of obtaining a license in New York might be the longest and most expensive in the country, many still seek it in pursuit of the promise of success and profits.

Steps to Opening a University in New York

If you are one of the entrepreneurs who don’t mind the lengthy process and high expenses for opening your university in New York, here is what you need to know about the process:

Step 1: Determine Your Institution Type

The first step in opening a university in New York is to determine whether your institution will be a proprietary college (for-profit) or an independent, non-profit institution. This decision will dictate the specific regulations your university must follow, with proprietary colleges subject to Section 3.58 and independent, non-profit institutions subject to Section 3.59 of the New York State Education Department (NYSED) regulations.

Step 2: Develop Your Curricula

Developing curricula that meet the standards outlined in Section 52.2 of the NYSED regulations is crucial. This includes ensuring sufficient resources, qualified faculty, defined objectives, admission criteria, academic policies, and student support services. Each curriculum must be registered with the Commissioner of Education per Section 52.1.

Step 3: Submit a Notification of Intent

Before submitting your full application, you must submit a Notification of Intent to the NYSED. This step initiates the application process and allows the department to provide you with the necessary forms and guidelines.

Step 4: Prepare Your Proposal Narrative

The Proposal Narrative is a critical component of your application, addressing key sections such as the Executive Overview, Mission and Programs, Need, Leadership and Governance, and more. It is essential to follow the exact headings, numbering, and formatting requirements outlined in the application to ensure a smooth review process.

Step 5: Compile Required Attachments

In addition to the Proposal Narrative, you must include various attachments in your application. These include properly labeled and formatted PDF documents (Attachments A through W) and the completed Application for Provisional Authorization Workbook (MS Excel). Attention to detail is paramount in this step.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

With your Proposal Narrative and attachments prepared, you can submit your application. This involves uploading files to the online submission folder, sending a formal notice of submission to NYSED, and mailing the required non-refundable, non-transferable check.

Step 7: Undergo Initial and Secondary Reviews

Upon submission, your application will undergo an initial review by NYSED to determine if it demonstrates sufficient evidence of meeting the necessary requirements. If your application moves forward, it may be subject to secondary review procedures, such as site visits, additional reports, and canvassing of existing degree-granting institutions.

Step 8: Await the Board of Regents Decision

The Board of Regents will consider the Deputy Commissioner's recommendation and make a determination on whether to grant your university provisional authorization. This decision is based on a thorough review of your application and any additional information gathered during the review process.

Step 9: Maintain Compliance and Seek Permanent Authorization

If granted provisional authorization, your university must maintain compliance with NYSED standards throughout the provisional period. At least 12 months prior to the end of this period, you must apply for permanent authorization, demonstrating your institution's ongoing commitment to academic excellence and regulatory compliance.

The Cost of Opening a University in New York

Opening a university in New York requires significant financial investment, and the total cost will depend on various factors such as the size of your institution, the programs offered, and the facilities required. However, some general costs to consider include:

  • Application fees: The initial application fee for provisional authorization is $7,000, plus $2,500 for each additional degree program.
  • Facility costs: Depending on your location and space requirements, you may need to purchase or lease a building to house your university. This can be a significant expense, especially in urban areas like New York City.
  • Equipment and technology: You will need to invest in equipment and technology to support your academic programs, such as computers, laboratory equipment, and software.
  • Faculty and staff salaries: Attracting and retaining qualified faculty and staff is essential to the success of your university, and salaries can be a significant ongoing expense.
  • Marketing and recruitment: To attract students to your new university, you will need to invest in marketing and recruitment efforts, such as advertising, college fairs, and online outreach.

While the total cost of opening a university in New York can be substantial, the potential rewards – both in terms of financial success and the impact on students' lives – can make it a worthwhile investment for passionate entrepreneurs.

The Role of a License and Accreditation Consultant

Navigating the complex process of opening a university in New York can be challenging, especially for entrepreneurs who are new to the education sector. This is where a license and accreditation consultant can provide invaluable assistance.

A license and accreditation consultant can guide you through every step of the process, from determining your institution type and developing curricula to preparing your Proposal Narrative and compiling required attachments. They can also help you understand and comply with the various regulations and standards set forth by NYSED, ensuring a smooth path to provisional and permanent authorization.

In addition to assisting with the initial application process, a license and accreditation consultant can provide ongoing support as your university grows and evolves. They can help you maintain compliance with NYSED standards, navigate the accreditation process, and develop strategies for long-term success.

When selecting a license and accreditation consultant, look for a firm with extensive experience in the education sector, a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape in New York, and a track record of success in helping entrepreneurs open and operate universities. By partnering with the right consultant, you can minimize the risks and maximize the rewards of opening a university in New York.

Closing Thoughts

Opening a university in New York State can be a complex and challenging process, but for entrepreneurs with a passion for education and a commitment to excellence, it can also be an incredibly rewarding venture. By understanding the steps involved, the costs to consider, and the role of a license and accreditation consultant, you can position yourself for success in this exciting and dynamic industry.

If you're considering opening a university in New York, we encourage you to explore the resources available to you, including the expert guidance of a license and accreditation consultant. With the right support and a clear vision for your institution, you can make a lasting impact on the lives of students and the wider community, while also achieving your entrepreneurial goals.

For personalized guidance, feel free to reach out to Expert Education Consultants via email at with any questions you may have. This service is complimentary.

To explore customized solutions tailored to your specific needs, schedule a personalized one-on-one paid consultation with Dr. Sandra Norderhaug here.

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