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The Importance of Family Retention for Healthy Admission Numbers

Take a look at the average number of children in the families who make up your school community. Chances are, it has increased over the past generation. That’s right. Conventional wisdom tells us that families with high levels of education and income are having fewer, if any, children. Actually, that trend has reversed in recent years. The families most likely to enroll their children in private school are now having more kids.

Whether a family has two, three, four, or more children, your smartest move is to try and engage all of them as students. If you enroll only one child from a given family, you leave money on the table. Besides, the more children a family has at your school, the more engaged they will be, which is great for the students. An engaged family is likely to turn out future donors, too. So, the more students per family the better! Some quick math and ideas for family retention can increase your school’s revenue over the long term.

The Quick Math on Multiple Students

Write out some simple numbers: Start with the average tuition for one of your students. (For reference, the average tuition for a child in private school nationally is $16,403.) Then subtract the cost of recruiting, enrolling, and retaining them. Finally, account for any financial aid or other variables to get your net tuition for a family’s first student.

Now figure out the net tuition for each subsequent student from that same family. Importantly, assess your reduction in recruitment and retention costs. For example, a family who already knows you will require fewer recruitment resources. In addition, you will send mail to that family only once, even if they have multiple children. Consider any other similar savings.

Multiply the resulting net tuition over the number of years children spend in your school – whether you’re a four-year, six-year, or other type of institution. Now look at how much you will net from a family who enrolls one child versus a family who enrolls two or more. Ready to find out how to succeed at doing just that?

Tips for Retaining Families

One incentive many private schools already offer is discounted admission for a second or third child. You can do that, too, but don’t stop there! In this increasingly competitive market, you must think bigger.

Private school families invest a significant portion of their income in their children’s education. It’s crucial that you deliver top value for their money. Your first chance to demonstrate your value is when they apply. Streamline this process with the latest software and the easiest payment processes.

For families with multiple children at your school, make the process even easier. For example, you could anticipate that they will apply for their younger children and proactively send them the application materials ahead of time. Next, make enrollment easier for them. With comprehensive software, you will already have their contact and payment information in your system. You can potentially save them a lot of time when they enroll other children. You might offer one online application for all children in a family instead of requesting individual applications. Offer personalized, easy communication channels for parents.

As tuition rises and family dynamics change, a family paying full tuition may require financial aid in future years. Build this expectation into your financial plans to avoid being caught off-guard. That said, streamline the financial aid application process for families of multiple students. Your savings in overhead can even help offset the lost tuition.

Remember that not all siblings share the same needs or interests. Offer a range of academic programs, as well as extracurricular activities. Busy parents will welcome the option of picking up and dropping off children all at one location for their classes and activities, rather than driving all over town. Remember to highlight that advantage when marketing to families.

Having multiple children—even, perhaps, multiple generations—at the same institution builds school pride among families. Cultivate this pride with apparel and events that build a sense of community. These options can even open new, diverse forms of revenue for your school. [link to post about diversifying revenue.]

Learn about software that can enhance your family engagement

Meet the high expectations of today’s parents and you will reap much greater investment from any given family. Family retention helps keep your admission numbers up and ultimately increases your revenue. Reach out to us to take a look at software that can enhance your family engagement and maximize your admissions.