There are a lot of schools who have seen their full-pay numbers falling over the last 3, 5, 7 years or more. Some don’t track those numbers, but they do know that the net tuition isn’t what it should be.
Whether you are tracking them or not, you know something is wrong. It happens the first year and you hope maybe it’s an anomaly. Then, year 2 and 3 come. Probably, by the time you get to your 4th year, you are asking yourself, “Can I reach my full-pay student goal on my current path?”
You are experiencing adverse results from the loss of income and probably are seeing these types of conditions shaping up:
- Employees’ salaries are hindered.
- Deferred maintenance is getting more deferred.
- The place is not looking as good as it used to look.
- The quality of the education is declining; do you see it happening?
- You see the satisfaction surveys and you believe very good or agree ratings are acceptable answers, but not for your tuition price.
- You’re wondering if the admission office is doing a good enough job.
- You are concerned that the advancement office isn’t raising enough money, even though they have fewer full-pay parents to solicit.
- You look at your budget from 5 years ago and see the change of income; there are hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars less revenues.
You want to do something, but what? Now you are stifled. You have a conundrum. You can’t afford to use any money on marketing that won’t pay you dividends. You say it’s better to put that money into the program. Next year the money goes down again. You ask yourself the question again, “Can I reach my full-pay student goal on my current path?”
You go to a regional conference. You bring back some ideas. They seem to get some traction. You may offer some merit funds to generate income. However the full-pay numbers are still heading down and now more full-pay families want merit money to come. You hate the economy. You start the next season, if you are still at the school. You ask yourself, “Can I reach my full-pay student goal on my current path?”
This is my 20th admission season as a director and I have exceeded my goal every year. And every year, I still ask myself, “Can I reach my full-pay student goal on my current path?” But, I am not going to let it stifle me. I can’t, because it means that any adversity will probably get worse, while tuition continues to rise to make it harder.
You need to ask the question every year. What you don’t need is to let it stifle you. You have a mission to achieve with children and stagnating on your efforts will not add to your full-pay numbers. Figure out what you are doing wrong by first asking your loyal full-pay parents what you are doing right. Then, ask them, why those positives are worth the cost. There are probably others like them who want the same thing. So, you can build from there.
Keep asking yourself the question, “Can I reach my full-pay student goal on my current path?” Then, plan and implement one strategic action to make a difference. Don’t let it stifle you!