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Checking Temperature
How Faith Based Schools Fared Post Pandemic:
What are the Implications for School Leaders?

Covid-19 had a profound impact on the U.S. K-12 educational ecosystem. Due to greater restrictions on in-person learning in public schools, private schools benefited from public school transferees. However, not all private school market segments benefited equally from these enrollment trends, and attrition took its toll to offset new enrollees. Additionally, the pandemic impacted tuition realization and financial resource development, and bottom-line operating margin.

In this post from Benchmarking for Good, we will examine the relative winners post versus pre-pandemic and point out key implications for school leaders.

Our analysis is based on NAIS’ admirable DASL system. While not perfect it provides the broadest perspective on the private school universe and its subsegments. Our metrics will reflect the results for the median school in each category. It is our hope that more schools will choose to provide data to enrich our understanding of key school dynamics and trends. 

Table 1 DASL coverage of FB schools.jpg
Executive Summary

As can be seen in the figure to the right, the pandemic was an overall plus for All Day Schools with gains in enrollment, attrition, net tuition growth, and annual giving and minor reductions in tuition realization and operating surplus.

Catholic schools gained in enrollment but suffered in terms of tuition realization and net operating surplus.

Episcopal schools gained in most areas, but net tuition realization declined from its industry leading 93% level and this impacted operating margin.

Figure 2.jpg

Quaker schools had modest enrollment gains but gained major ground in attrition reduction and enhanced their operating margin.

Jewish day schools had the biggest gains in net operating surplus but the weakest performance in enrollment and attrition and the second biggest decline in net tuition realization.

Key Takeaways

As the educational landscape shifts to more of a business as usual mode in a weakening economic environment, it will be vital for private schools to focus on student retention in order to maintain gains from public school families. They can do so by increasing perceived value relative to tuition as well as by implementing conscious, disciplined retention management protocols.


The other key, related imperative emerging from this analysis is the need for those school segments with relatively weak net tuition realization to focus on constantly delivering high value relative to tuition and also communicating that value to arrest a troubling decline in net tuition realization. Over the long haul, parents that perceive they are getting exceptional value for their tuition dollars will be likely to stretch their financial capabilities in order to pay it. This, coupled with a disciplined program of tuition discipline is vital to ensuring financial vitality.

Benchmarking for Good, Inc


Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides other nonprofits with customized comparative benchmarking information, training, and consulting services.


Our goal is to enable non-profit organizations to better fulfill their missions by using benchmarking to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their operational processes and thereby reduce unnecessary costs, increase the productivity of expenditures and investments, enhance constituent satisfaction, and maximize revenues.

Please contact Dr. Harry Bloom at to arrange an introductory discussion about your organization's needs and our Grant opportunities.

#nonprofit #education  #healthcare  #religious institutions #healthcare

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