This post looks at policy relating to discounts and scholarships with regards to tuition: that is, ways in which you might end up charging less for tuition in certain circumstances.
For discounts and scholarships, there are no hard and fast rules. You might offer several or both, or you might not offer any of either.
When deciding to offer a discount for tuition, remember that it is mostly a marketing tool: tuition discounts mean your program doesn’t make as much money, so it has to encourage potential families to enroll.
Some common discounts for tuition include:
- Sibling discount— A discount for one or several students from the same family
- Lump sum discount— A discount for families that choose to pay tuition in a lump sum at the beginning of the year instead of monthly/weekly
- Employee discount— A discount for the children of staff that work at the center or its affiliates
- Career discount— A discount for the children of individuals in certain careers, such as military or first-responders
Scholarships can be a tremendous benefit to individuals that might not otherwise be able to afford your program. Generally, scholarships are established with a specific need in mind, and they have explicit criteria (for example, demonstrated financial need.)
Offering a scholarship requires a steady stream of funds that can ensure the cost of the scholarship is covered in the operating budget. You might fund raise specifically for the scholarship fund throughout the year, build the scholarship fund into the budget, or only establish the scholarship after a large donation.
Depending on your goals for the scholarship, you will need to write clear instructions on the purpose of the scholarship and how to apply for it, then create guidelines for how the scholarship is awarded. Who is eligible for the scholarship, and what do they need to provide in their application? How will the information be kept confidential? Many scholarships have committees to review applications – who will be on yours? After the scholarship is awarded, how will awardees be notified, and how will those that did not get the scholarship be told? How will scholarship funds be awarded? At what point does the scholarship cease? How many times can the same family be awarded the same scholarship?
Where To Include
At Playvolution HQ, we recommend programs have three handbooks–a Parent Handbook, a Staff Handbook, and an Operating Handbook. Consider adding this policy to your Operating Handbook.
- Check with your local licensing agency to make sure there are no specific policies about discounts or scholarships you need to be aware of.
- Be very, very clear about how much your discounts and scholarships will cover, if you can utilize more than one discount or scholarship, and when they start and stop.
- Making scholarship or discount-specific materials that require a parent’s signature can be useful for ensuring that they understand the agreement.
Disclaimer: These are sample policies intended for use as a guide in policy development. Your program’s policies should be unique to your program and reflect the program’s culture, practices, and the regulations in your area.
· ‘Full week’ (i.e. Monday to Friday 8.15-4.30pm) attendance discount: 10% of fees.
· Sibling discount: 10% of fees for those enrolled at the same time.
· Introduce a friend: An offer (per time) of free 4 hours if an introduced friend takes up enrollment.
Rangi Ruru Preschool, New Zealand
There is a 5% discount for tuition paid in full by May for the upcoming school year. Families with more than one child enrolled in Beach Day will receive a 5% discount on the youngest child’s tuition. Only one discount applies – 5% for more than one child OR 5% for payment in full.
We DO have a limited amount of tuition assistance available based on need. You will need to talk to the Director and be approved on a YEARLY basis. This information will remain completely confidential. Deadline for requesting tuition assistance is May 1st.
Beach Day School, Virginia, USA
A 10% discount for siblings is available to families with more than one child enrolled at CMP. The discount will be applied to the lower tuition.
Carmel Mountain Preschool, California, USA
Have a Parent, Staff, or Operating handbook you’d like to share with us for use in our policy samples? You can upload PDFs here.
Thoughts on this topic? Share them in the comments, we’d love to know what you think.
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