Keeping the Doors Open – 5 Ways to Stabilize Your Tuition Driven School in a Bad Economy

DURHAM — You can still see the faintly scribbled words to the Preamble to the Constitution on a chalkboard in what used to be Mr. Infinito’s history classroom. But there are no more lessons for his classes at RTP Christian Academy of Technology, a faith-based private school in Durham ایران آموزشگاه بانک اطلاعات مراکز آموزشی.

Too many parents have lost jobs in the recession. The dwindling student body is forcing the school to shut its doors Tuesday.”Everything was going fine. The recession is really to blame,” said Shon Allen, principal and cofounder of the school, which combines Christian teachings with advanced science classes. “It has been a really sad experience.” (Latifi, 2009)

Every day we hear about another Christian school which is struggling to survive or even closing their doors in the tough economy that the country is currently facing. For many Christian schools there have been many sacrifices made and many difficult decisions loom in the distance. Christian schools are closing everyday; is there no relief in sight?

I believe that it is time for some radical actions and shifts in our thinking that will test our faith and refocus our purpose for being in Christian Education. Consider the following not merely as suggestions but as a clarion call to change the way that we think about the business of school. I believe that the following will not only help your school survive these economic times, but it will propel your school into even greater success in the future:

It sounds like a crazy idea, but calculate it in your mind. Every chair that is empty in any classroom right now on any campus of any Christian school is not making that school money. Every day that empty chair has an earning potential but if it remains empty, that earning potential is not realized.

By lowering tuition there are two things that now occur. First, you are making a statement to the community on your campus now and also in your community that you care about them and you recognize their need. Everyone is struggling.

Right now in your school and community, people are losing their homes and cars and other possessions are being repossessed, money is being stretched so thin that every sacrifice is making a difference and yet many are making almost impossible sacrifices to continue to educate their children in a Christian School because they believe in it, but the decision looms every day, month and certainly from school year to school year whether they will be able to continue.

By lowering tuition you are recognizing that these decisions are difficult and you are offering relief and a reason to stay. Likewise, in a community that is desperate for answers to the ills of the public school system, lowering tuition will encourage those who may think that a Christian School education is financially unattainable. You are positioning yourself to begin to fill the empty chairs in every classroom.

Second, you are creating a school environment with more parent buy-in and student involvement which will act like an epidemic of good-will and help to spread the news of your actions to the surrounding community (Gladwell, 2000/2002).

Consider this scenario -A Christian School does some simple demographic research of its current student body and the surrounding community and based on that research, decides to cut its tuition by 30%. They announce it to their families and immediately they see that people are signing up for next year.

Soon others start to come and by the grace of God your enrollment doubles. Now the school may still be facing an issue of not making their budget, but the gap is lessened and now there are more students to help in fundraising efforts, more parent buy-in for the school as far as help around campus and more of a community feel for those who are attending. Not everything is financial.

The reality is that your school feels successful and that is going to help in the long run for you to create a more financially secure environment. Realize that if you can survive that year, the next year will only add more profit to the bottom line because if tuition remains low, people will stay, more will come, and the bottom line becomes more secure.

Think about the airline industry, on any airline, there is a set price per seat for any given flight, but not everyone pays that price for their particular seat. Factors of when the ticket is bought, purchasing online, no additions or changes, all can add to the value or expense to the customer in the end.

The internet is filled with travel site like Orbitz, and Priceline that offer competitive pricing and packaging for those who can plan their trip according to a relatively small numbers of factors. So when you fly on a plane and you are paying full price, you were not able to meet those parameters.

When you couple this kind of reality with the idea that everyday that a seat in a classroom, (like an empty seat on an airplane) is empty is taking money from your bottom line, you can now see the benefit and the power of utilizing a pricing model that accounts for different sets of parameters, packaging, financial sliding scales, etc. Remember, the monies that are spent on education are discretionary and so there is a greater pressure added to those funds in light of a worsening economy.

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