My first visit to New York City was an eye-opener. The "City that Never Sleeps" definitely lived up to its hype and nickname. Walking around Times Square and seeing the bright lights was a fantastic experience, but as I spent more time in the city and the state, I found that New York offered so much more than just a hectic and fast-paced life.
With world-famous parks, historical landmarks, and a food culture that could rival anywhere else in the world, it was easy to see why New York is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.
And, as it turns out, it's also a great place to start a business, especially if you're in the education market. For anyone looking to open a vocational school, New York is an ideal place to start. Let me tell you why:
A Robust but Changing Market
Not only is the market for vocational schools in New York huge, but the state government is also very supportive of such businesses. The New York Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) offers a range of services and support for those looking to start a vocational school in the state. However, it's essential to understand the changes that have occurred in the past couple of years.
Licensed Private Career School
Candidacy status isn't an option for new schools just starting up anymore. Fortunately, a vocational start-up can still pursue the licensed private career school route. While the application process isn't long, the following information must be provided.
- Purpose - What is the specific purpose of the school?
- Owners Information - Names, and business affiliations of those with an ownership stake
- Staff Information - What are the qualifications of the faculty?
- School Catalog & Curriculum - Which programs will be offered?
- Agreements and Forms - What are the admission requirements for students, and how much will tuition and fees cost?
- Facility Information - Where will the school be located?
- Financial information - Projections of all income and expenses to show the school will be viable
The application process itself is fairly straightforward and can be completed online. You can find a detailed PDF of the process here that you will be able to download.
However, as you go through the process, there are some essential things to keep in mind:
First, make sure that you have all of the required information and documents on hand before beginning. When first starting the process, you'll need to create an account to submit details, but to do this, you'll need to have a defined structure of governance.
Some of the different structures and their specifics are as follows:
- Sole Proprieter - Just you. Must have an EIN and NYS Sales Tax Certificate of Authority and be required to create separate accounts to track cash flow for the school
- General Partnership - Two or more co-owners. Must have a Partnership Agreement, EIN, and NYS Sales Tax Certificate of Authority
- Limited Partnership - One or more general partners and limited partners. Must have a Partnership Agreement, EIN, and NYS Sales Tax Certificate of Authority
- LLC - A Limited Liability Company. Must have an Operating Agreement, EIN, and NYS Sales Tax Certificate of Authority
- Corporation - A C-Corp or S-Corp. Must have Articles of Incorporation/Organization, Bylaws/Operating Agreement, EIN, and NYS Sales Tax Certificate of Authority
It is recommended that you consult with an attorney and/or accountant to discuss which structure is best for your business. Based on the governance structure, different rules will apply with regard to determining financial viability and reporting requirements.
It is also important to remember that you will need to provide evidence of your ability to support the program financially. This may include a business plan, pro forma financial statements, and other documentation.
While a building or facility isn't necessary at the application stage, it should be addressed as quickly as possible, as health and safety inspections will be required as part of the licensing process.
The application gives some good guidance on what needs to be provided as evidence of academic requirements, and it is worth noting that emphasis should be placed on complying with state-specific requirements.
When building your catalog, simply looking at what’s already out there for other schools and attempting to massage it to fit won’t work. Instead, understand precisely what the state is looking for and build a catalog that meets these requirements. An example of an attendance policy is available here.
One key area to look out for is the availability of qualified instructors and other mandatory staff.
Once you have submitted your application, the BPSS will review it and make a determination. There are several different fees that you should expect to pay to register the program which are as follows:
- Program Registration Fee - $5000 for a new program or each additional program
- Location Registration Fee - $2500 for each location being registered
- Curriculum Registration Fee - $100-$250 starting with additional costs being possible
The current timeline for approval is about eight months from the submission date, at which point if everything was done correctly, a license will be issued. With a license in place, the school then becomes eligible for Title IV and will need to comply with additional federal regulations.
The "City that Never Sleeps", "City So Nice They Named It Twice", and the "The Big Apple" - it doesn’t matter what you call it, New York is a simply iconic location. It’s a global hub for business, finance, media, entertainment, and education and is the heart of New York State.
With some of the best schools and universities in the world calling New York home, it's no wonder many people want to make their mark in this great state.
If you're considering to open a university or starting a Vocational School in New York, please contact me by phone or email for your free consultation call. I've been working with educators and investors for over a decade, and I look forward to helping you succeed, too.