There is a long road between an idea and its actualization – but as they say, entrepreneurship is an adventure. So if you have a dream of opening your accredited university here in the United States, with careful planning and execution, it’s not only possible but very doable.
Just remember, the process takes time, so don't give up on your dream, and keep taking things one step at a time.
Let’s talk about the question that clients always ask me: “how long does it take to open an accredited university in the United States?”
Really, the process of obtaining your accreditation can be boiled down to three main steps:
One – obtain your business license. Two – get state authorization. And three – get your university or college accredited!
The first step is the easiest and fastest. This can take anywhere from one to six weeks. Once you have your business license, you can move on to the next step – state authorization. This is where things get tricky. Depending on the type of programs you plan to offer, each state has its own regulations, timeframe, and requirements.
If you plan to offer degree programs, you should expect approval to take between 12 and 24 months -sometimes even longer. During this time, you are not allowed to begin marketing or enrolling students, but you are expected to have a full curriculum, a campus, faculty, and administrative staff in place.
If you plan to offer non-degree programs, such as certificate or diploma programs, you can get approved in as little as six to nine months. If you qualify for one of the exemptions, you can obtain your verification of exemption in 3-6 months or less.
It’s very important to research each state’s requirements before you start the process. Don’t make the mistake of jumping the gun too soon.
The final step, accreditation, takes the longest.
If you are offering degree programs, you are required by law to get fully accredited within 3-5 years of obtaining your license, or you risk having your license revoked. Keep this timeframe in mind. I’ve seen plenty of people lose their licenses because they missed a deadline!
National and programmatic accreditation can take 2-3 years, and regional accreditation can take 3-5 years.
So, to summarize, on average, opening an accredited college or university in the United States can take four to six years if you plan to offer a degree program, or two to four years for a non-degree program, and as little as 6-12 months if you apply for an exemption from state supervision.
Learn more about a University License and Accreditation in our links below.
And be sure to check out our next video "What’s the most affordable and easiest way to open your university?" Ready to start a conversation? Call or contact us today. I’ve been helping clients establish universities in the US for over a decade, and I look forward to helping you too!