Program Profile: Tuition Bundling at The Wheeler School
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Posted by: SPARC
School: The Wheeler School
Location: Providence, RI
Director of Auxiliary Programs: Bob Rojee
Auxiliary Programs Associate: Heather Santoro
Can you describe the program and what gave you the idea to try it?
The WOW Bundle Program was created to help support a several initiatives. The first goal was to help our tuition-paying families, especially families that have multiple children with a more significant total cost of all our programs. We challenged ourselves to see if we could make the commitment to attend Wheeler more affordable and not have them feel like we were “nickel-and-diming” them. Another goal was to provide more aftercare support while making it affordable for the many families with two working parents who need our aftercare services. A third goal was to find a way to give our Enrichment programs healthier attendance and increased student participation. When we began thinking about all of these goals together, the WOW Bundle emerged as a way to achieve our enrollment goals while also supporting our Lower School families.
How does the WOW Bundle work?
Families can select to have WOW Bundle (after-school care until 5:30 pm) as part of their student’s contract. (WOW is our traditional after-school program where families have two options of care ending at 4:30pm or 5:30pm.) Our tuition for WOW is $20/day for the 4:30pm option and $30/day for the 5:30pm option. Based on selecting the 5:30pm option each day for the entire school year, the cost would be approximately $5,000. The Bundle option is $2,500.00 for the year. In addition, we give them a daily value that can be applied to the Enrichment programs, giving them a discounted Enrichment fee. Our Enrichment programs vary in cost, but average about $35/day, and that includes the program and WOW aftercare until 4:30pm.
Who did you collaborate with internally (and how) to get this new idea off the ground?
To develop and launch this idea, we collaborated closely with the Business Office and the Head of School. I initially proposed the idea at a meeting discussing a variety of financial and programmatic initiatives. It took several meetings to work out the specifics, but with school leadership on board, we were able to move forward quickly.
How did you roll out the program/idea?
Working with the Director of Finance and the Enrollment/Admissions team we agreed the option should be tied to a family’s enrollment contract, and then with the support of the Communications team we launched the idea to the community.
How would you rate the overall success of this auxiliary initiative?
Overall, the program has been very well received and successful. During the first year, 31 students were enrolled in the Bundle program. This school year, the 2nd year, we have 36 enrolled students in the program. We have also seen an increase in our Enrichment participation this school year. From an Auxiliary perspective, we have seen an increase in participation and overall revenue. It has also enabled us to provide better staffing as we consistently have strong attendance each day. Anecdotally, the families enrolled in the program have been very appreciative and thankful. The program has added value to the enrollment process and has created a unique awareness for the Auxiliary Programs for all new Lower School families.