Opportunities in Every Stage of the Student Lifecycle

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Kathy Nothnagel

May 5, 2022

    Takeaways from the 2022 K-12 Research Study

    Spring is the season of milestones at school. Graduation. Report card pickup. Prom. Field Day. Awards ceremonies. State track meets. These milestones are predictable, annual dates that are circled on everyone’s calendars. 

    There is similar predictability to the path all students take through the student life cycle, too. In the application, enrollment, and financial aid award processes, typical challenges emerge across independent, parochial, and boarding schools. 

    To learn more about the K-12 independent and private school landscape, we examined fluctuation in budgeting, financial aid awards, enrollment, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), tuition, fundraising, and retention through our research.  

    There are opportunities to better strategize and revitalize your school in every stage of the student lifecycle; we’re excited to share more about what we found in our 2022 K-12 Research Study.  

     

    Student Life Starts Here 

    It should come as little surprise that application and enrollment are the top priorities of most schools, and many are looking to increase their investment in these phases of the student lifecycle next school year.  

    And there are some tried-and-true strategies from schools that had increased enrollment that signal opportunities for all. Mainly, those schools that found enrollment success are far more likely to use digital advertising, auxiliary programs, and dedicated inbound marketing campaigns. Those who lean into technology and automation within the admission and enrollment phases consistently have more time to build relationships, rather than waste time on administrative tasks.  

    And, these successes have a strong foundation in leveraging data and insights. Those schools that feel they do an excellent or very good job of using data for marketing are much more likely to generate 500+ inquiries.  

    There is more to examine in the full research report regarding application and enrollment. It is overwhelmingly clear that those schools that embrace technology that best supports these critical stages of the student lifecycle find overall stability and growth.  

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    Financial Aid Insights 

    Financial aid awards are an impetus for student enrollment, of course. The number of new students reported among schools is directly correlated with the number of students who can also receive financial aid. This is due, in part, to more financial aid funding being available because of the increased operating budget that results from a higher volume of tuition payments. 

    The quicker you can make financial aid awards, the more likely you are to enroll awarded admittees. There is immense opportunity for schools to refine this process for all students. 

    While, four in 10 respondents shared that the number of students on financial aid increased over the current school year, far fewer expect to see the same increase in financial aid awards next year. Schools that lean into financial aid award efficiencies will be best positioned to navigate the ebbs and flows of this essential stage of the student lifecycle.   

     

    The Family and Student Experience 

    A family’s experience is a top differentiator that private and independent school parents cite as a reason for their children to attend those schools instead of public schools. Keeping families informed and engaged helps them feel connected and is the best way to reduce attrition.  

    Schools know that having a robust parent portal is a driver for continuity in education, a positive family experience, and fluid communication. Schools cite the most effective methods of communication as email, text message, and a parent portal. As more schools adopt solutions with texting, text scheduling, and tracking abilities, these numbers are expected to rise. The value of a connected parent portal and further investment in a modern student information system cannot be understated.texts-emails-average

    Our research shows there are immense opportunities for schools to further understand data and effectively use technology to impact every stage of the student lifecycle. Whether schools are analyzing data to uncover their most successful marketing channels, implementing a financial aid solution to make fair and quick award decisions, or building a robust parent portal to better engage with families, the entire student and family experience can be positively affected. 

    And when schools have the tools and the budgets they need in place, they can focus more on successfully fulfilling their missions. Download the full research report for more on the opportunities schools have throughout the student lifecycle journey today. 

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