Getting State Approval in New York
Opening a vocational school in New York State can be a rewarding endeavor. According to a study by the National Skills Coalition, 49% of the labor market includes middle-skill jobs — yet only 37% of the state’s workforce is trained at that level. This suggests that there is an urgent need for more comprehensive and affordable training options in the region, which could be provided through a vocational school.
Before you open a vocational school in New York State, there are some important steps you must take. This guide outlines each step in the process and provides resources to help you along the way.
Understanding the Process and Requirements For State Approval
Here’s what the Bureau expects from potential school owner groups:
- Demonstrate a clear vocational/occupational and educational purpose
- Show ownership competence (owners must have a positive track record)
- Provide personnel that meet the standards for licensure or certification
- Submit an approvable school catalog, enrollment agreements, and other required administrative documents
- Provide approvable curricula as well as satisfactory enrollment completion and job placement targets
- Find approved quarters/facilities
- Demonstrate financial viability
In light of these requirements, here are the steps to follow to get approved for licensure in New York State:
- Decide your program’s governance structure
- Choose the optimal location for your vocational school
- Ensure qualified instructors are hired
- Follow State’s guidance for academic materials
- Submit your application online
Step 1: Decide Your Program's Governance Structure
While BPSS makes the application submission easier by allowing applicants to complete the process online, you need to determine the governance structure of your program to proceed.
The different governance structures include:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
The governance structure you choose will decide how the financial viability of the school is evaluated, and will also determine the financial requirements and paperwork needed for the application process.
For example, if you choose to operate your school as a sole proprietorship, you will be required to create separate accounts and use funds from those accounts exclusively for school operations.
For a full list of required documents for each governance structure, go here.
Step 2: Secure the Optimal Location for Your School
Obtaining a building for your school prior to submitting an application is not strictly necessary. However, it can be highly advantageous in getting your application approved quickly and without any issues.
Bear in mind that all buildings will need to pass inspection before being given final approval by the New York State government. Both fire and health department officials will inspect the building beforehand, ensuring that it is safe and up to code.
Step 3: Ensure Qualified Instructors Are Hired
When registering for any program, it's important to consider the mandatory hires and make sure that enough qualified instructors are available to teach classes.
Here are some things you should do to make sure your mandatory hires are set for approval::
- Log each mandatory position in the system
- Ensure enough qualified instructors are available
- Have all candidates complete the appropriate paperwork
Step 4: Follow the State’s Guidance for Academic Materials
New York state provides a comprehensive guide for the application process. It’s essential that applicants thoroughly read and refer to this resource regularly when completing their application. When creating academic documents, it is recommended that applicants use the state's language and formatting as a foundation. For example, when creating an attendance policy for your program, you can use this PDF guide for reference.
You can use an existing template somewhere else and adjust it for your school's use. However, the state will evaluate the catalog using a 22-item checklist to determine its suitability.
Step 5: Submit Your Application Online
To get started, create a personal account with My.NY.gov. To proceed, simply locate the BPSS tab on the website and complete the registration process. For a step-by-step guide on how to register for My.NY.gov, click here. You can skip this step if you already have a personal my.ny.gov account.
Pay the New School Application Fees
You'll need to pay the requisite application fees to complete your online application.
Here's an overview of expected costs and time frames.
- Initial registration fee ($5,000)
- Additional programs registered at the same time ($5,000 each)
- Additional locations ($2,500 per location)
- Curriculum fees ($100 - $250; additional fees may apply)
- Approval happens within 8 months of submission
- Submitting the curriculum itself typically takes at most 120 days to complete
Apply for Title IV Eligibility
Once your school has been approved and received a renewed license from the state, it will become eligible for Title IV. This is an important step for many schools, as it can open up access to a range of grants, loans, and other financial aid options for your students.
However, there are additional requirements from the federal government which must be met if you want to receive Title IV funding. These include:
• Properly submitting the paperwork required by the Federal Student Aid Office (FSAO)
• Adhering to recognized accreditation standards
• Implementing certain eligibility checks on prospective students
• Filing financial aid forms as needed
• Maintaining records of academic progress and student data
For a full list of Title IV requirements, you can read NYSED’s PDF guide.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to getting your vocational school state-approved in New York.
To make the process faster and easier, follow these tips:
• Make sure you have all the necessary documents and that you completed all the paperwork.
• Keep an eye on state-provided deadlines.
• Adhere to all state and federal regulations.
• File the necessary documentation with your state board well before the due date.
• Stay organized throughout the process.
Struggling with questions related to state authorization to open your university or college? Contact me and my team for assistance in all aspects of accreditation and licensing. Take advantage of our free consultation - simply email or call us today.