Simple Ways to Expand Private School Revnue

It is maybe a sad reality today that revenue is a key driver in the longevity of schools. Anyone with a background in business will understand that this is a no-brainer. Money needs to come into a school in order for the school to pay its bills, and pay its staff. For many private schools, revenue is a variable which is based on enrollment; the more students you have, the more they will pay tuition and the more they do that, the more revenue will increase. While recruitment efforts are key, it is important to remember that there is a way to expand revenue, or to grow a school's revenue stream.

Revenue in schools

Revenue in schools is defined by a number of variables. They include enrollment, tuition, fees etc. This is summarized by the figure below:

fig 1. School revenue formula

As is fairly obvious, enrollment is key to maintaining a revenue stable enough for a functioning operation, which is why most school efforts focus on recruitment. Schools might have facilities that they could rent out to outside organizations, and there are always donations which can come into the school, but in the end, what can be done to develop revenue streams?

Outside summer schools

Many summer school programs are in need of a physical location from which to run their activities. This may be a general academic school, or a more specialized summer program like a language, or technology program. The reason why this is a more stable idea than merely facilities rentals is that summer school programs tend to be longer lasting, and if the relationship you build is mutually beneficial, then it is conceivable that the school would return summer after summer.

possible issues: summer schools are usually a great way to recruit students into your school. If you "outsource" the task to an external program, you will lose on the positive branding impact.

Church and religious services

In that same vein, church and religious congregations might be looking for a regular meeting place. Renting out a gymnasium for weekly services allows a school to receive a steady rental income on a weekly basis.

possible issues: This choice is not possible if you currently working in a religiously affiliated school.

Foreign Students

More and more schools are looking to host foreign students in their schools. A 2010 Washington Post article [1] featured the growing number of American private schools who were taking in students (Mostly from China). This is coupled with a system for housing the students (usually in the form of home stays) makes for a strong possibility to increase revenue. Since foreign students are often not eligible for tuition assistance, the students are usually paying full-tuition, or even more. Companies include Cambridge Institute of International Education among others

possible issues: A school will have to pass some approval process, and there may be issues with integration of the foreign students within the student body. Let's not forget that the school's brand could begin to change, since potential local students and prospective families might see a shift in the school's mission.

Online Students

Schools that have specialty programs with a limited number of students can offer their schools to online students. Numerous online school platforms ( e.g. Online School for Girls) will allow students to take an online class offered by teachers in other schools. Examples can include students looking to learn a foreign language not offered by their school. Their parents could pay the teacher directly or go through one of the said platforms.

possible issues: There is a need for an infrastructure at the local school, and a strong investment and commitment from teachers (who should be comfortable with technology) and parents ( who should be accepting of their child receiving education online.


To make ends meet, schools can either cut spending, increase enrollment or increase tuition. But looking to expand revenue is another matter all together. Expanding revenue allows for the school to continue to maintain its current pricing strategy, all the while buffering against increase costs with an expanding revenue stream. Looking at these simple examples could increase the revenue stream for any school.