Adopting a net tuition revenue strategy at your private school is a great tool to add to your toolkit, no matter where your private school is at in terms of stage or size. What’s more, net tuition revenue can help you crack the enrollment trend and continue to innovate and break boundaries at your school. But as an admissions or enrollment professional or business officer, you likely already know that. However, convincing your CFO that implementing a net tuition strategy will benefit your school is not always an easy feat, and you may experience some hesitation or pushback.
Here are a few tips and ideas to help you get your CFO’s buy-in, and create a stronger long-term relationship, so you can implement this strategy- and possibly others in the future. Let’s dive in.
What is a Net Tuition Revenue Strategy?
Net tuition revenue (NTR) is described in a variety of ways. For someone that’s never heard of it, or is just dipping their toes in the water, it’s often described as redefining what financial aid expenditures means.
Financial aid is often thought of as an expense- many think of financial aid as though you’re writing a literal check to a family.
However, for most schools, financial aid is simply a discount. While that discount does mean the revenue you may receive from a family will be lower, it is not the same as an expenditure. And when you adopt a net tuition approach, you often actually see cash flow increase rather than decrease.
You already know what a net tuition revenue strategy is and that it would be beneficial for your school. You’re convinced that it will make a positive impact on your school’s enrollment goals and sustainability. However, even if you’re ready to implement this strategy, you may still need to get other members of your school’s leadership team on board.
Getting buy-in for a net tuition revenue strategy can be difficult because you’re asking to temporarily reduce the net tuition per student. However, the long term benefits are well worth the ask—and getting leadership at your school to see your vision can help you make a big impact.
Here are a few tips to help you get your CFO on board with new ideas and strategies:
1. Keep it conversational
Oftentimes your school CFO may be more reluctant to change. You’ll likely interact with different personalities and some will be more creative or open to thinking about things a different way. Approaching new ideas from a place of curiosity can help everyone let their guards down and allow you to have a more open conversation about new topics. Let them in on exploring new ideas with you. Ask questions like “can you explain to me why we don’t think about it this way? What am I missing?” This will also demonstrate that you care about their input, ideas, and thought process- not just their approval.
2. Know the data + come prepared
Understanding the pitfalls and potential benefits of a net tuition revenue strategy can help you see eye to eye with your head of school or CFO. Knowing the data will also ensure you’re prepared to present to your board and create a compelling argument with key metrics to back up any assertions you make.
3. Get external validation
Bringing a consultant in is a great way to get some extra validation and outside help while you’re thinking through your pitch, collecting data, and pulling it all together to justify a new approach. Consultants can help support the work you’ve already done and boost data you’ve already uncovered.
These tips can also help you do more than just get your leadership’s seal of approval- they can help you build a better working relationship. The goal is to open up communication and build rapport so you can make more impactful changes at your school now and in the future.
Many successful schools have adopted a net tuition revenue strategy. It can be a great tool to add to your toolbox and can influence your enrollment growth in the coming years. Working together with your board and CFO, collaborating, and coming prepared with data to back up your proposal will help you continue to break boundaries and implement new tuition strategies. At the end of the day, if you keep it conversational and focus on establishing rapport and a long term relationship, you’ll be able to explore more options, whether it’s net tuition or another new strategy down the road.
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