Bible colleges offer certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs. Typically, the programs focus on Scripture, theology and evangelism. Ministers, Sunday school teachers and pastors attend bible colleges in order to gain structured training that may help them lead, teach and minister to others.
Get your Employee Identification Number (EIN). Apply for an EIN at the Internal Revenue Service official website (see "Resources"). Keep in mind that you can also apply for your EIN over the telephone by calling the Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. Fax your form to your state IRS office. Reference the "Apply for an EIN" link in the "Resources" section of this article. Click "Apply by Fax". Find your state's fax-in number, and submit your completed application.
Visit your state's Department of Revenue website (see "Resources"). Register to collect sales and use tax. Note that many states allow users to file forms and pay taxes directly through their websites.
Create a business plan. Write an executive summary for your bible college. Provide targeted spiritual and religious education you have received, including degrees, certifications and seminar training. Write a mission statement for your school. For example, your statement could read, "To prepare 30 percent of Montgomery County, Ohio, missionary and religious students for effective ministry and evangelism." Supply the location for your college and the level of degrees you will offer.
Include researched items on other bible and religious schools in your area as well as online ministry schools. Build a solid marketing plan including online and offline resources such as targeted press releases and direct mail letters to local churches that you will use to get the word out to potential students about your school's offerings. Highlight your existing financial records. Identify additional capital you may need. Refer to the Small Business Administration's "Writing a Business Plan" document in the resources section of this article to review sample business plans.
Raise capital. Apply for grants through the Department of Education. Review the available grants by due date, subject and funding amounts. Contact your bank manager. Fill out loan applications to raise additional capital for your bible college. Reach out to local churches. Share your school's mission and course offerings with pastors. Highlight how your college will train and educate students in the neighborhoods where the churches are located. Ask the church to make a donation to your school to help you raise funds. Reach out to Christian Foundations (see "Resources"). Complete applications and request grants from applicable foundations.
Get insurance. Meet with your insurance agent. Review prices, coverage amounts and types of available insurance. Check with Christian companies such as Guide One that specialize in meeting the insurance needs of churches and bible colleges. Purchase plenty of property and liability coverage. Inquire about employee-related insurance, such as worker's compensation, disability and unemployment, to cover your school's administrators and professors.
Design your course catalog. Include course name, credit hours and costs per credit hour. For example, you could include courses such as Biblical Counseling, Community Worship, Christian Ministry, Theology, and Sound and Recording in your catalog. Note whether the course is mostly instruction and curriculum, or interactive and hands-on. Include your bible college's website URL in the catalog. Upload course descriptions and requirements to the website.
Gain accreditation. Contact the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Apply for an institutional or programmatic accreditation. Pay applicable fees, and work with the commission to meet eligibility standards. Consider getting additional regional accreditation by contacting your regional accrediting agency. Keep in mind that each regional agency has different requirements and some regional accreditation agencies, such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, do not accredit schools that offer only postsecondary certificates, diplomas or licenses. Complete the regional accreditation by meeting with regional evaluators to conduct your school's quality assurance review.
Hire qualified instructors. Contact human resources administrators at existing bible colleges and universities. Ask if you can post job descriptions for available teaching positions at your school. Mail job descriptions to local churches, and ask them to announce available teaching positions at your bible college. Post job openings for experienced instructors with degrees at job boards such as Career Builder, Monster and Simply Hired. Offer graduate students the opportunity to intern with your school in administrative offices.
Research tuition costs for nearby bible colleges and universities. Review course offerings at the schools. For example, some postsecondary Christian schools offer computer, business management and medical degree programs in addition to theology and ministry classes. Set competitive tuition rates and fees.
Help students obtain financial aid. Contact the U.S. Department of Education. Apply for Title IV school code. Attend the financial aid administrators training. Gain your certification so that your school will get a Title IV school code and be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Rhonda Campbell is an entrepreneur, radio host and author. She has more than 17 years of business, human resources and project management experience and decades of book, newspaper, magazine, radio and business writing experience. Her works have appeared in leading periodicals like "Madame Noire," "Halogen TV," "The Network Journal," "Essence," "Your Church Magazine," "The Trenton Times," "Pittsburgh Quarterly" and "New Citizens Press."