Financial sustainability, tuition discounting, financial aid leveraging, and indexed tuition are topics of constant dialogue at independent schools across the country. For good reason, too, as demonstrated by same conversations held at the higher education sector for two decades or more. This is not a new conversation, just a renewed challenge for independent schools.
What is missing in the conversation that I am witnessing among schools today is about enhancing product quality first. When enrollment takes a tumble and demand goes south, it seems the first lever that schools want to pull is the price lever. I suspect it is a normal reaction, as we try to remove barriers to enrollment persistence and fill up our pipeline with high quality students. But, it seems that it takes out the quality component out of the conversation.
Great products invariably find a way to provide an intangible, invaluable service, experience, and outcome to their clients. This means program developers are preoccupied with investing into the quality of the experience. While examining different strategies for price optimization is always a good idea, I suggest that first your school or college exhaust innovative ways to enhance quality before pulling the price trigger. It is too easy to jump to the pricing conversation without placing the total program experience into context.