Magazines and Special Reports

The 2022 Independent School Cost-Per-Enrollment Study (Report Preview)

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6 Copyright 2022 The Enrollment Management Association, Inc., National Association of Independent Schools, and National Business Officers Association. All rights reserved. Why Calculating Cost-Per-Enrollment is Important (Even if it's Hard) If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that adhering to the status quo is risky. Generational changes, shrinking birth rates, and rising income inequality are only a few of the challenges facing independent schools – and the admissions practices of the past are not effective enough to overcome these hurdles and sustain the independent schools of the future. Independent schools must begin to adopt a strategic enrollment management approach to admissions. That's why determining your school's cost-per-enrollment (CPE) is so crucial. What is cost-per-enrollment? It's the total cost related to all admissions and marketing efforts a school uses to acquire a newly-enrolled student. Calculating CPE is critical for independent schools that want to create a smart, long-term enrollment management strategy. Without this quantifiable information, it can be difficult to make informed, mission-aligned decisions, regardless of whether your school is currently inundated with prospects or struggling to hit enrollment numbers. That means not only understanding manufacturing costs, but also packaging, shipping and freight, import fees, salesperson commission, company salaries, and more. As painstaking as it can be to determine the exact cost of a shoe's outsole, laces, and hardware, the process of gathering these details is critical for Nike's business strategy. Without these insights, the company would have no idea how to effectively price that pair of Air Force 1s. The same goes for independent schools (except we replace sneaker soles with admissions software and advertising spend). Understanding the true cost to enroll a new student, and building capacity around collaborative, data-informed decision-making, is important for every aspect of an independent school and can help schools continue to be good stewards of all their resources: money, time and people. In this way schools can strategically serve their missions and chart a path forward in uncertain times. Determining Your School's CPE Just as each independent school's enrollment practices are unique, so are their costs and resources. That's why the specific metrics used to determine cost-per-enrollment may be different at your school than at a similar school across the country. One way to think about cost-per-enrollment is through the lens of another industry, like the sneaker industry," said Mundahl. "Nike knows how much every step of its production process costs, down to the penny, in order to properly allocate its resources while ensuring each shoe makes a profit."

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