Ensuring Independent School Financial Sustainability

Financial sustainability and the independent school climate

Discover how independent schools can overcome demographic, enrollment, and affordability concerns to become more fiscally stable and sustainable.

Ensuring Independent School
Financial Sustainability

With growing concerns about economic and demographic changes, price of tuition, and questions of the value of independent school education, financial sustainability is an issue for independent schools.

This brief highlights major factors that impact financial sustainability and lays out six levers you can use to inflect it: advancement, cost cutting, alternative revenues, enrollment management, financial aid management, and strengthening the value proposition. The included diagnostic will help you identify your school’s market position and tailor your sustainability strategy.




Understanding the sustainability concerns of independent schools

Shifting demographics, rising tuition, and increased competition from lower cost or free educational options all pose challenges to the future sustainability of independent schools. Add to that questions about the value proposition of a high-cost lower school education and the rising cost of college, many independent schools are facing new enrollment challenges that threaten the independent schools business model. Continue reading for more information about these drivers of financial sustainability concerns.

Key levers of financial sustainability

The independent school business model leaves six levers of financial sustainability at your disposal: advancement, cost cutting, alternative revenues, enrollment management, financial aid, and value proposition. Actions taken in these areas have the potential to improve your school’s financial situation. Continue reading to learn more about these six levers and their distinct challenges.

Diagnostic: identifying your school's market position and appropriate strategies

School leaders should evaluate and measure financial, enrollment, demographic, and competitive trends when assessing an institution’s financial sustainability. Metrics from all areas are necessary to determine a school’s fiscal health.

The Independent School Executive Forum research team identified four tiers of the independent school market based on relative financial sustainability. To determine which areas are highest priority for further attention and investment at your school, take their financial sustainability self-diagnostic. Read more about the diagnostic here.

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