I am pleased to share EMA’s third report on the state of the independent school enrollment industry, which follows our earlier editions published in 2013 and 2016. We are deeply grateful to the 765 admissions and enrollment professionals — our largest respondent group to date — (see pages 6-7) who partnered with EMA to build needed research around trends impacting independent school enrollment success. With so many participants, the data allows EMA to identify and isolate new issues.
So, what does our 2019 State of the Industry (SOTI) research suggest about independent school enrollment? What are the changes since 2016 of which school leaders should be aware? We’ve identified five key findings and we encourage all school leaders to understand them to ensure long-term institutional viability.
Our executive summary (pages 4-5) offers an overview of these key findings, and the rest of our report provides a deeper look at the data points for those interested in the finer details. Worthy of note, there are several macro themes which challenge assumptions about the “independent school brand of education” in the wider K-12 community. As well, we are troubled by several internal themes which paint a weak portrait of independent school leadership’s understanding and management of enrollment best practices.
While much of the information in EMA’s SOTI19 may feel dire, in some ways, these data sets provide quantifiable evidence that the environment in which our schools are operating is growing increasingly complex. SOTI19’s findings bolster EMA’s view that “the admission practices of the past will not sustain the independent schools of the future.” If we seek to not only survive but thrive, independent schools must employ strategic leaders in the work of enrollment and financial modeling, and we must work collaboratively to build wider market share and broad understanding of why our schools matter to students, their families and society. EMA looks forward to being your partner in these efforts.
Heather Hoerle, Executive Director
The Enrollment Management Association