May 25, 2017

Softening Demand a Universal Reality Among Independent Schools

If our client base is a reasonable indicator, and we think it is, independent schools universally are experiencing a softening of demand.  There are no schools in which we have worked in the past five years that have been immune to declining demand in some area of their enrollment funnel.

In many cases, it is a decline in inquiries and applications in the early years and lower school programs, where value against cost is in question.  In other cases, it is increasing attrition as students move from middle school to high school, seeking other low cost alternatives.  Regardless of the scenario, the reality is that no school is simply “dialing it in” and making their goals automatically, with deep waitlists and highly selection oriented admission processes.  

The low volume – high price model of independent education is again reminding us that our schools are not sustainable.  We must be thinking about new delivery options, new pricing, and new ways to increase value and lower or maintain price, the classic Blue Ocean Strategy.  Businesses have been doing this for a long time; we need to follow suit if we are to be around in the future.

Leave a Comment