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State of the Independent School Industry: Special Report on Enrollment Issues and Trends

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The 2019 State of the Independent School Enrollment Industry 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY More than any other department, admission is tasked with closing the gap between the most promising aspects and the most dispiriting aspects of independent schools. This is a time of almost boundless innovation as many schools are enhancing the educational experience in a myriad of ways. Enrollment leaders have the privilege of communicating those advances to prospective parents. At the same time, independent schools have never faced more competition and the difference between average tuition and average income has never been greater. It's the very same enrollment leaders that are challenged with facing those market factors every day. Through this survey report we aim to guide enrollment — and school leaders — as they walk that narrow path between opportunity and challenge. This is our third State of the Industry report with previous editions published in 2013 and 2016. Providing a snapshot of the industry over time gives schools a glimpse into the practices and conditions prevalent across the continent. In that way, the survey report is a tool for learning – and perhaps change. This year, we challenged ourselves to go further and to live up to EMA's promise to the industry. By delving deeper into a small number of key trends, we felt we could deliver insight and not just information. From the survey findings we extracted five key areas of focus, each of which deserves greater attention by schools. Interestingly, each of these trends also has interdepartmental facets and it's clear that each of them require more holistic approaches. In that way, they mirror the enterprise of enrollment. While being singularly entrusted with ensuring the lifeline of schools, enrollment leaders can only achieve success in concert with other school leaders. We have summarized each of the spotlight areas below. Our hope is that schools will break down silos and collaboratively consider the implications of each item. We encourage heads of school, educational leaders, and other departmental heads to join with their colleagues in admission and together become partners in enrollment — and therefore, school — success.

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