Sending your child to school can be a significant investment. While school tuition fees vary considerably across Australia, the 2021 Futurity Investment Group Planning for Education Index found that the average total cost of education for a child starting at an independent school in 2021 was more than $340,000.
For families that choose private schooling, tuition fees are likely to be a large portion of their household budget. For this reason, the way your school manages tuition fees – as well as the fees themselves – is likely to be a key decision factor for many families.
Schools generally put a lot of time and effort into ensuring their word-of-mouth, website, social media channels, and presence on review sites such as the Good Schools Guide position them as an attractive choice for potential students. However, once families have narrowed their choices down to their top two or three schools, aspects like the ease of the enrolment process and a flexible approach to tuition fees can be critical differentiators.
So, is the way your school manages tuition fees part of your marketing arsenal? Here’s how to highlight payment plans in your school’s marketing efforts and give families confidence that you’re there for them if times get tough.
Take a flexible approach to tuition fees
Publicise that you provide flexible payment options and due dates – rather than expecting the year’s tuition up front, consider offering weekly, bi-weekly, quarterly, monthly or term-based payment plans. You should also let families choose from a selection of regular due dates so that they can pick one that reflects their payroll schedules.
Give families the flexibility to get ahead on tuition payments by allowing them to make online payments ahead of the due date. When you give families options, they’ll feel more confident that they can afford to send their child to your school.
Specialist tuition payments solutions like FACTS allow you to provide this level of flexibility without creating reconciliation nightmares. FACTS lets you simplify fee tracking and management and gives you real-time visibility of payments and cash flow projections.
Add fee information to your school’s website
When families contact your school to request a tour, it’s fair to assume that they’ve done their research and know about your school’s ethos, how your results rank against other local schools, and how much it costs to attend.
Be transparent about tuition fees on your school’s website and include information about families’ options when paying fees and applying for financial aid. Tuition fees will be one of the first aspects families consider when researching and comparing schools, so you should make it easy for them to find this information and give them comfort that you offer affordable and flexible payment plans.
Make fee affordability an ongoing conversation
Fee affordability can be a challenge for families throughout their time with your school, not just at enrolment. Don’t let financial constraints become a reason students leave – check in with families each year or semester to ensure they’re comfortable with their payment plan and know that there’s a range of payment options available to them.
Offering flexible tuition payment plans is a great way to attract new students and support existing families. It does more than give families another payment option – it builds your reputation as a school that cares and is willing to work with families to keep them enrolled.
Marketing the affordability options your school offers shows that you’re willing to let families take control of their finances and open to adapting to meet changing situations and needs. By making families’ lives easier, you can build a strong and supportive school community.