How well would you do on a short quiz about independent school finances?
• What percentage of independent day school revenue comes from tuition: 59%, 69%, or 79%?
• How about the percentage from gifts and grants: 8%, 12%, or 25%?
• What about other programs and auxiliary services (campus rentals, summer camp, after school, etc.): 5%, 7%, 10%?
Now, let’s switch to the expense side.
• What percentage of independent day school expense comes from faculty and staff salaries and benefits: 48%, 60%, or 72%?
• How about instructional costs: 2%, 4%, or 8%?
• And, finally, how about facilities: 10%, 14%, or 24%?
If you are like the cohort of great educators who just took the course that Jeff Shields and I taught for NBOA & One Schoolhouse, “Budget Meets Mission,” the answers may surprise you.
79% of revenue in independent schools comes from net tuition, with only 8% from gifts and grants, and 7% from other programs and auxiliary services. 72% of that revenue goes to cover faculty and staff costs, with 4% to instructional costs, and 10% to facilities. These numbers often surprise even experienced members of the independent school community. Why? There seem to be a few reasons:
Are there models we should be looking at to get at the these two main drivers? Sure. I’ll explore some of those next month.
* Data accessed for 2017-2018 school year from NAIS DASL
Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)