Campus closures at private schools nationwide have many schools considering their financial positions. And many are looking to the school business office for guidance on how to proceed on everything from tuition collection to refunding prepaid lunch fees.
Although individual schools should always consult their own legal entities for financial counsel, we’ve compiled a few resources from various associations and trusted partners that offer advice that could be useful during this time.
- NBOA compiled a resource page with news items, guidance, community discussions, and other important information to help the business office and finance community. A new member-developed survey, released March 24, may be of particular interest. Other topics include legal and human resources articles, school communications guides, facilities checklists, and sample policies.
- EMA, in coordination with NBOA, hosted a podcast on March 13 that covers business office considerations, legal topics, and FAQs for school leaders. EMA also hosted a podcast in coordination with NAIS on March 23 on the topic of financial aid and the implications of tuition post-COVID-19.
- NAIS has provided a comprehensive guide for schools, compiled by Megan Mann, legal counsel for NAIS. Topics specific to the business office include tuition and fees, communication guidance, employee considerations, risk management, and more.
- The level of concern people are showing related to COVID-19 varies greatly in relation to generation, income, and community size, as this article from Pymnts.com shows. Your own community likely reflects some of these same trends. Communication is key during this time and transparency around your school’s situation — from distance learning to finances to risk management — needs to be ongoing, delivered via multiple channels, and continued at a regular cadence to your school community.
- All tuition-charging educational institutions must weigh complex factors in terms of tuition and billing during the COVID-19 crisis and many are wondering how other schools or institutions are handling those matters, especially considering the move to distance learning or remote instruction. The resources above offer some guidance, but it maybe useful to also read how higher education is approaching distance learning, online education, and financial impact. For additional resources on implementing remote instruction at your school, FACTS has several on-demand webinars led by industry experts available on our COVID-19 resource page.
- Be flexible and adapt communications for various audiences. For K-12/9-12 institutions, graduating families will need a different message than families who will need to be retained for the future year or years to come. A crisis plan and checklist should include an initial communication plan, but schools should be quick to pivot to new communication channels or messages if the situation changes or new information becomes available.