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How Much Would You Pay For a New Student At Your Private School?

Posted by Ralph Cochran on Jul 9, 2014 7:22:00 AM

A couple challenging questions for evaluating your marketing budget.

School Budget 1The summer at a school is a time of reflection for boards and heads of schools about how the Lord has blessed their plans in the past year and where they need to improve.  

Oftentimes this can be a time of concern as they look at declining retention and a decline in the number of prospective parents despite all their efforts over the past year.   I often get calls and emails asking for ideas how a school can do things differently in the next year to increase the number of prospective families visiting the school. 

In response to this question, I will ask a head of school a few questions.  Please let me ask the same questions to you.

1. HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY FOR A NEW STUDENT? 
Note: Assume your actual tuition revenue (not list price tuition) is $6000 per student. 

Choose one of these answers: 
A) <$250 B) $250-$500 C) $500-$1000 D) $1000-$1500 E) $1500+

2.  HOW MANY NEW STUDENTS DO YOU NEED IN THE UPCOMING YEAR TO REACH YOUR CONSERVATIVE BUDGET GOAL?

Choose one of these answers:
 
A) 40 B) 50 C) 60 D) 70 E) 80 + 

 School Girls Talking to each other

ANSWERS:
For question #1 - I typically get responses that range from C to D. That is $500 - $1500 per student they would be willing to pay.

For question #2 - I typically get an answer of B,C, or D, that is 40-70 students, for schools with a range of 150 to 300 students. 

CONNECTING THE DOTS
This is where it gets interesting.  I then point out that if they needed 50 new students and were willing to pay $1000 for each student that will equal a marketing budget of $50,000.  They usually cringe and say that is never going to happen once they realize the amount of money they are committing too.  
Piggy bank for private school tuition
I want to point out this fact that if you want to attract students to your school you need to make an investment in marketing in order to achieve your goals. It might not be $1000 per student, yet there is a cost to acquire a student that should be built into your budget.  Every successful business thinks this way but for private schools it is very difficult, as investing in marketing is often an afterthought.  Ironically schools will eventually wonder why they are not able to meet their revenue goals and have the resources they need to pay staff adequately, purchase curricula, and offer additional resources.

Please do not let this be your school.  Start the new school year planning for the next year by asking your admissions, marketing, advancement, and school board how much they think that you should pay for a new student. 

In my next blog article, I am going to dive deeper into your marketing strategy by addressing what percentage your total school budget ought to be allocated towards marketing in order to have some success regardless of which strategy you use.    

 

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Topics: Enrollment Growth, Private School Marketing, School Marketing, Market Budgeting