Tuition and Financial Aid: A Guide for Private Schools
Tuition and financial aid are not about money. Tuition and financial aid are about mission. When consulting with a private school, Independent School Management always starts from the point of the school’s mission. This foundational statement—often further clarified by statements of values, philosophy, and educational practice—distinguishes any given school from its neighbors (public and private). It enables each school to have purpose—and be competitive!—within the marketplace. We gauge each school practice or policy against this mission to discover its importance: “Does this practice or policy further our mission or not?” Tuition and Financial Aid: A Guide for Private Schools introduces important management and leadership theory, as well as ISM research, that provides the backdrop enabling schools to support and sustain their missions. Given that school missions are about children (rather than faculty, administration, Boards, or others), the implication is that this theory and research answer the question about whether particular practices or policies are “good for children.” Tuition and Financial Aid does not—and cannot—tell you what your tuition rates should be. Nor does it tell you that a particular tuition rate is too “high” or too “low.” The book also does not dictate how much you should earmark for financial aid. It does, however, tell you what the real questions should be and the considerations that will impact those questions. Question 1: What is your mission? Question 2: What kind of school will deliver your mission? Question 3: How much money do you need to run that kind of school? Question 4: How many students do you have to provide that money? Tuition and Financial Aid is not about dollars and cents. It is about what your school is and how it communicates that to the secondary client—the parent. It is about what your school is and how it delivers excellence to the primary client—the student. It is about what your school promises through its admission process and how that promise is (or is not) kept in every program—from academics through cocurricular programs; through leadership programs; through the Business Office; and through development, constituent relations, and admission. We hope this book inspires you to have meaningful conversations about your school, and take the tuition and financial aid actions that enable you to have a sustainable and mission-appropriate future.
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