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How to open a commercial higher education institution

Recently, paid education is a good alternative to free education. A diploma from a commercial educational institution is quoted no lower than a diploma from a state university. The number of such institutes and universities is growing every year. But, despite this, the demand for educational services is still not fully satisfied. This is due, first of all, to the fact that the business in the field of education requires impressive capital investments and is associated with a large number of risks.

An entrepreneur who plans to open a commercial higher education institution will need to solve a large number of problems: from finding a suitable premises that would meet all established requirements, and ending with obtaining a license, state accreditation and finding qualified teachers.

Obviously, the success of any university or institution, whether private or public, is directly dependent on its reputation. It, in turn, is determined by the quality of educational services, the level of professionalism of employees, feedback from graduates and employers.

Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties, the growth rates of this sector remain quite high. According to analysts’ forecasts, over the next five years, the educational services market will increase by 20% per year. However, in higher education the picture is not so favorable. According to the Higher School of Economics, enrollment for commercial places this year has decreased by 3.5% compared to last year. The lowest number of applicants was at universities, where education costs from 70 to 100 thousand rubles a year. But the sector of cheap (less than 55,000 rubles a year) and expensive (over 100,000 rubles a year) education was practically not affected by the crisis.

Today in Russia there are more than a thousand higher educational institutions accredited by the state. Less than half of them are private. But experts hope that the situation will improve somewhat in the next few years.

Open your business associated with the provision of services in the field of education (school, courses, training center, college, higher educational institution) can either a legal entity or an individual who has the status of an individual entrepreneur. At the same time, such organizational and legal forms as LLC, OA O or CJSC are not allowed before registration.

Most of the effort and time will be spent on obtaining a special license, without which an educational institution cannot engage in educational activities. Its design will cost several tens of thousands of rubles. The exact cost depends on the type of educational institution being opened, the period for issuing a permit, and whether you will deal with all issues on your own or seek help from an intermediary firm.

According to the law, a license for educational activities is issued on a declarative basis. For its registration, it is necessary to provide a full package of documents, including information on staffing, the estimated number of students, data on buildings and premises that will be used for the educational process. The exact list of required documents and the procedure for their execution can be clarified in the Department of Licensing, Certification and Accreditation of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science.

The license itself gives the right to study. However, in order for the documents issued by a commercial university to be highly rated among graduates and employers, the university or institute must have state accreditation. It gives the right to an educational institution to issue state diplomas. Only such documents are recognized in state institutions. In addition, an accredited university has the right to provide its students with a deferment from the army for the period of study. This is one of the main factors that guide young people when choosing an institution for higher education. The license and accreditation must be renewed every five years.

Many commercial universities do not bother to issue licenses, working in violation of the law. They do not have full-time teachers, there is no proper computer equipment, no information and methodological support and no space that would meet the requirements. They teach one or two specialties and are based on the territory of schools or even kindergartens. However, such establishments will not be able to exist for a long time. The Ministry of Education and Science regularly inspects Russian universities. If suddenly a university or institute does not meet the established requirements, fines are imposed on it. Even with a license, an unscrupulous university can lose it at any time.

Teachers who work at commercial universities and institutes are often employed as individual entrepreneurs. They do not need to obtain separate licenses for this. On the one hand, this form of work is beneficial for the owner of the educational institution, but not very convenient for the teachers themselves, many of whom prefer to work part-time in several educational institutions at once. Therefore, the share of full-time employees in private universities rarely exceeds 15%. And this is not in favor of commercial education, since it is likely that the teacher who teaches this or that course may leave without reading it to the end.

In addition, finding really talented teachers is a big problem even for large cities. As a rule, such specialists have been working for a long time. In order to lure them to you, it is not enough to offer good wages. The reputation and name of the institution is no less important to them. Also keep in mind that the number of teachers with a degree in your university should be at least 60% of the total teaching staff. But in practice, this figure rarely exceeds 30%. Also, your educational institution must have at least two employees with a doctoral degree.

Even at the stage of drawing up a business plan, you should think about what educational programs you will use. This is another criterion for assessing the institution by graduates and their parents, in addition to having a license, accreditation, qualifications of teachers and the university’s compliance with all requirements. The educational program used is indicated in the annex to the license.

Another problem, besides processing all the necessary documents, is finding a suitable room. It should be sufficiently spacious in area (as a rule, private universities are located in separate buildings). All classrooms in which classes are held are equipped with the necessary furniture, appliances, methodological materials. It is desirable that the university or institute has its own canteen. It may also be located outside the university. But your own library with scientific, educational and educational literature should be required.

Equipped computer and language laboratories, laboratories, a gym, and ideally also a student recreation center will not interfere. Of course, all this will require a lot of money. Nevertheless, these expenses for creating good conditions for study will help to quickly recoup all investments, as they indirectly indicate the reliability of the educational institution.

The specialization of commercial universities depends, as a rule, on market demand. Recently, higher education in the field of law, economics and psychology has been especially in demand. Therefore, most non-state universities teach these disciplines to their students. According to statistics, 35% of all lawyers, 47% of economists and 18% of psychologists graduate from such educational institutions. Although, judging objectively, the demand for these specialists has not matched the supply for a long time.

More far-sighted universities are introducing specialties that are not yet available in most state institutions. For example, now more and more popularity is gaining training in the field of Internet marketing. This is a rare and sought-after specialization. Rare, mainly because there are very few specialists in our country who could lead such a course.

Previously, it was of great importance which university a candidate for a particular vacancy graduated from. A few years ago, preference was given to graduates of state higher educational institutions with a “red” diploma. Now, few people pay attention to the applicant’s diploma. The presence of work experience, knowledge of foreign languages, personal qualities and achievements of a potential employee came to the fore. Therefore, many non-state universities provide their students with the opportunity to gain work experience while still studying.

Some universities organize their own consulting agencies and services, where not only experienced professionals work, but also the students themselves. Others provide opportunities for internships abroad or negotiate with companies for internships with the prospect of further employment. Still others open their employment centers for fourth-fifth year students. Unfortunately, all these options are more suitable for large cities.

The amount that higher education will cost depends on the university, specialty, form of education and the city where the commercial educational institution is located. In general, after the crisis, there is a tendency to reduce prices for paid education. The average cost of education in large cities of our country is 55-60 thousand rubles a year.

With all students, contracts are mandatory, which detail the rules for payment. It can be charged either the entire amount at a time for the full period of study, or in installments for each semester or academic year. Most commercial universities prefer the latter option. Please note: if your contract does not provide for a subsequent increase in the cost of education, but indicates a fixed price for a semester or a year, then you will not be able to change this amount during the specified period.

This year, a draft law was adopted that regulates the procedure for budgetary financing of non-state universities. This means that private universities and institutes will be able to accept students for state-funded places, but only in certain areas: “Natural Sciences”, “Education and Pedagogy”, “Service Sector”, “Humanities”, “Social Sciences”, “Computer Science and Computer Engineering”, “Economics and Management”. The number of places is also limited: less than 500,000 people across the country will be able to study for free in a commercial higher education institution.

Almost all educational institutions hold so-called open days twice a year – in spring and autumn. Information about these events is posted on the official websites and information stands of universities, in specialized and advertising publications, in schools and colleges. This is the best way to attract the attention of applicants and their parents.

At the open day, advertising booklets are distributed, methodological materials are sold. The rector of the educational institution himself speaks to the audience, who answers the questions of future students. Throughout the year, commercial universities place advertisements in print media, on radio and television, in transport and on the Internet. By the way, the latter method is considered one of the most effective for attracting the attention of young people. Almost every university has its own website and groups in social networks.

It is impossible to name the exact amount of opening a commercial university or institute. The minimum starting capital is from 6 million rubles. This includes the execution of all necessary documents, rental of premises, purchase of furniture, machinery, equipment, teaching materials. The payback period for this type of business is about three years.

Another direction, which requires less investment, brings more profit and pays off faster, is associated with the use of only distance learning. In this case, you will also have to take care of obtaining a license and state accreditation. But you can save on renting a room and other expenses.

The interaction of students with teachers is carried out through the website, methodological and educational materials are sent electronically. Even tests, seminars and exams are performed and taken remotely. The presence of a student may be required only when passing state exams and when receiving a diploma.

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