From October 2007 to March 2008, ISM conducted perhaps the largest survey ever of private-independent school parents. Over 21,800 families from 37 schools were invited to participate in the online survey and 7,986 responded. This article focuses on parental income and the ability to pay tuition, as well as the differences in the use of scholarships and financial aid in these schools.
Knowing your school’s marketplace stance and emphasizing that stance at all points—internal marketing, external marketing, parent education, faculty hiring and evaluation, attention to ratios—can only strengthen your strategic position. Choosing the wrong benchmarks (i.e., seeking to emulate schools with marketplace stances that are not relevant to your own) and planning on that basis can do serious damage to your institution’s ability to occupy its niche and remain competitive. Choosing appropriate benchmarks—e.g., other schools whose marketplace stance is the same as yours—may be helpful as you work to make the kinds of strategic decisions that will ensure that your mission will remain alive and well for future generations of students.
The Board of Trustees has the duty to ensure the multi-generational, long-term success of the school by establishing and maintaining a comprehensive development infrastructure to support the school’s strategic and long range plans. Whether your school is large or small, new or old, day or boarding, elementary or K-12, ISM has found that success is built on having six key development elements securely in place. Your enhancements and big dreams will achieve realization through the income-producing, donor-centered programs of the Comprehensive Development Model described in this article.
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