Strategic Opportunity Concept: Explore a change to tuition model to make Inly more accessible to more people in the area and draw from a broader circumference.
Possible Partners: Other schools with whom to exchange ideas (Gordon, others—ask our own staff/faculty what they know about other schools who do things differently) , academic experts/consultants, FinCom, corporations with whom to partner. famous former Montessorians (Jeff Bezos!)
Key Resources: The Gordon School; identify others who lead/differentiate regarding tuition, aid, and admissions practices. Research tuition-free organizations to understand their structure (Cooper Union in NYC was formerly tuition free; recently changed). See NAIS trendbook for more resources.
Community Impact: Potentially manifold: impact on demographics, finance/budget/fundraising, staffing & resources, culture & conversations.
Key Activities: [left blank]
Key Questions/Challenges: many complex questions imbedded here—in addition to financials, identifying and unraveling the distinct intentions and opportunities: is this to control tuition inflation; is this a matter of financial aid more than tuition model; is the goal to increase # of applications, to improve diversity, to shift culture both inside and outside community, to increase recognition, to expand this unique education/opportunity to more than just the privileged 1%. How will this affect budget, fund raising goals, culture? Is it possible without large endowment? How to phase?
Recommended First Steps and Key Milestones: Educate ourselves about the current conversation and trends at independent schools. Define what we mean and our intentions. Find/research/talk to schools who are pursuing non-traditional models. Talk to their heads, finance person, admissions expert. Find case studies with roadmaps and timeframes. Familiarize (staff and Board) with vocabulary, distinctions between tuition, financial aid, etc. Research/discuss/model multiple ideas about other tuition models (lock-in rate by level, CPI increases, family individualized tuition FIT—Gordon School, whatever else if out there. Predict impact, gauge interest at Inly. Host Gordon school head to come talk to us. Percentage of fundraising? Safety net donor? Precise budgeting (take risk on less cash reserve for a specific.
Possibilities to Explore for Funding: Inly’s rhetoric, curriculum, culture emphasize crossing boundaries, making connections, seeking unity, appreciating difference, inspiring creativity and innovation, but our tuition model is restrictive to the “haves” and Inly remains exclusive to most. Finding ways to differentiate and lead via alternative tuition modeling (or scholarship, lottery, partnerships), and increasing both element of surprise/delight associated with Inly socio-economic diversity would seem implicitly on mission and worthy of exploration