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6 Things You Should Know Before Opening a Private School

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If you’re considering starting your own private school, it pays to listen to the experts who have gone before you.  

 Starting your own private school is both exhilarating and terrifying, which is how any great adventure should be. The important thing to know is that you are not alone. Many have come before you, and they are happy to share their wisdom. To that end, we’ve included the critical points we’ve found from previous school owners who have reached great heights in their private school endeavors.  

Anticipate All Expenses for At Least the First 24 Months

As with any business, you have to start with a plan. With a school business, you will need to plan for expenses that include leasing or mortgaging a space, buying equipment, hiring and paying teachers and operational staff, as well as the day-to-day expenses like utilities, maintenance, and repairs. You also want to plan for other expenses, such as licenses, software, and marketing.  

Make a Budget and Stick to It

Once you’ve established your funding for those first two years, you will need to make a reasonable budget and stick to it. When making your budget, you will also want to account for any unexpected expenses that may come up, such as leaking toilets. 

Your Institution Must Demonstrate Administrative Capability 

In addition to proving your financial worthiness, you will also have to prove you are administratively capable. So, what is administrative capability? Administrative capability is a school’s ability to maintain and have access to all records and accounts, measured by several criteria listed below –  

  • Consistency of data 
  • Any student fraud must be reported to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) 
  • Adequate financial aid counseling to all enrolled and prospective students and their families. 
  • Adequate staffing  
  • A system of checks and balances  

You can prove this type of admin capability in a couple of different ways:   

  • Use spreadsheets to track students’ progress from lead to graduate (and every step in between) 
  • Purchase software to streamline administration duties  

State and Accreditors will look carefully at schools records for the first two years.  The easiest way to achieve and prove administrative capability is through the use of a high-quality Student Information System (SIS). These programs, like FAME’s SIS, have a complete range of reporting, built-in checks and balances, and are backed by a team of experts who can troubleshoot any issues that arise as well. These tasks are possible to complete outside of an SIS, but are much more labor intensive and expensive in the long run. 

Know Your State’s Private School License Requirements

Before you draw up a business plan, know what you will have to do in your state to get licensed. Schools must obtain a business license and depending on their program and state requirements, they may also need a state board license.  You can find more information on the Department of Education website.  

Research National Accrediting Agencies Recognized by the USDOE

As with any business, do your due diligence for accreditation. Take your time researching on the Federal Register.  

Accreditation is the process of essentially validating a school as being legitimate for the industry they train. Prospective students and parents look at accreditation to determine the quality of a potential school. Additionally, eligibility for things like financial aid and other certifications are dependent upon accreditation status. This is not something to be taken lightly, and it can make a huge difference in the success of your school.

Study the Federal School Aid Handbook for Institutional Eligibility to Participate in Federal Student Assistance

Finally, if you plan on offering federal assistance, take your time to study the Federal School Aid Handbook. This allows you to build a school that offers not only quality education but also the support your students may need to get it.  


Contact FAME Today  

For assistance with any of these six tips, be sure to reach out to FAME. We are here to help ensure all of your i’’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed, so you can build and maintain the best private school for your students.   



This material is presented for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be giving legal advice.  


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