Does Tuition Determine the Quality of a Christian School?
We have been conducting surveys for Christian schools and school associations for over 20 years. As we pour over the data, we wonder: Is there much of a difference between schools with low tuition compared to schools with high tuition? There is.
Comparing schools with tuition in the top half and the lower half, we find that schools with lower tuition are:
Half as likely to be accredited
Somewhat more likely to be church-sponsored, rather than independent
Smaller in size. 90% of schools with lower tuition have enrollments less than 400. Only 60% of those with higher tuition have enrollments under 400.
They have fewer teachers with a Bachelor's degree or higher.
They are less likely to give out tuition assistance.
They are 5 times more likely to have a budget under $500,000.
While they both have about the same number of fundraising projects, schools with lower tuition are twice as likely to raise less than $25,000 per year through all their fundraising efforts. They are also twice as likely to cover less than 60% of their budget through tuition as compared to schools with higher tuition.
So which is it? Are larger, more stable schools able to charge more for tuition? Or do schools that charge more for tuition just grow larger? Honestly, we have seen it happen both ways. One thing is sure – once tuition levels have been established, raising them is scary and challenging. It is sometimes successful, sometimes disastrous, and almost always beset with heated discussions, impassioned pleas, and strong reactions. That is why it is so important to make these decisions based on solid facts and professional counsel. Two of our survey clients recently wrote us saying: "We so appreciate the excellent service you provide for Christian schools. This will be our third survey cycle with your company. It is very important to us that you make observations and comparisons using the history of our school’s previous surveys as a basis for your analysis." "The information you shared with us helped our board make some major decisions about tuition and salaries. The recommendation you shared with us proved to be absolutely true. We increased tuition by 9.2% for three years and raised our salaries from 65% of public schools to 82.7% in those 3 years. During that time we also increased tuition assistance from $80,000 per year to $225,000 per year. All of this was accomplished without losing enrollment." In addition to the other extremely useful decision-making summaries found in our written analysis of a school survey, the Tuition Summary has proven itself to be invaluable to administrators who truly desire to make solid, business-like, and informed decisions about tuition and tuition assistance.
Whether you use a professional survey, like those provided by The SchoolRIGHTGroup or try to figure it out on your own, ensure that you are making an informed decision based on objective data. © by SchoolRIGHT LLC unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.