Tracking your “Real” Student Count
The student count is one of the most exaggerated numbers in our industry. When you ask a school owner his/her numbers they usually take a while to answer and then say I have “around” or “about” X number of students. This sounds as if they don’t really know.
Do you know your Active Student Count? How about your Active Paying Student Count? That is the number of students who are consistently attending classes each week and paying monthly tuition?
Knowing your Active Paying Student Count really ties into your marketing, enrollment, and retention goals.
In an earlier lesson, we discussed setting enrollment and retention goals. Those goals did not account for non-paying students. For example, if your goal is to gross 10,000 by having 100 students paying $100.00 a month, then counting 20 non-paying students won’t help.
It’s imperative that you always know what your Active Paying Student Count is, so you can adjust your marketing and retention goals to stay on track.
Before you calculate what your student count is, you’ll need to understand the difference between:
Active Paying Students
Active Non-Paying Students
Inactive Paying Students
Active Paying Students – This represents the number of students in class consistently that are paying monthly tuition. This should be at least 80% since only about 20% of your students should cash out.
Active Non-Paying Students – These students have either already paid in full, are barter students, scholarship students, or haven’t made their payments. Odds are the majority of these students are in your advanced classes.
Inactive Paying Students – These students are on your monthly payment plan but not in the school. This money cannot be counted on for very long so it shouldn’t represent a large percentage of your total.
Your contact efforts should be obvious from the first time that they became inactive. You may still be able to win them back.
Declaring a Student Inactive
An inactive student is one that is MIA (Missing in Action) after four weeks of you trying to reach them. They’ve received calls, emails, “we missed you” notes, and perhaps text messages and still- no response. At this point, you declare them inactive and begin to send them your rejoin campaigns.
Calculating Your Active Students
Let’s go over how to calculate your Active Student Count, your Active Paying Student Count, and your non-Active Paying Student Count.
If this is the first time that you’re calculating your student counts, it will take you a little extra time, but after that will be much faster.
You’ll need a master list of all of your active students. This will be easy if you’re using a software program that has allowed you to assign an active and inactive status to your members or if you’ve been keeping an up-to-date spreadsheet with your current students listed for example.
If you use the file card system to track the attendance system, it’s still recommended that you keep a master list on your computer. If you’re using your paying member report from your billing company then review it and make a mark to subtract anyone who is paying but is inactive. Add anyone else whose active but not on your billing list.
Now you will have your Active student count.
To get your Active Paying Student Count, use your master Active Student list and cross-reference it with your tuition receivables. If all of your students are paying the same way, like through a billing company, then it will be easy to figure this out quickly. Total up your number of Active Paying Students.
Now, to get your Active Non-Paying Student Count, take the number of Active Students and subtract the number of Active Paying Students. Whoever is left should be your Active Non-Paying Students.
100 Active Students-90 Active Paying Students =10 Active Non-Paying Students.
Your students that are active and not paying maybe people you bartered with; have PIF (paid in full) memberships, or are delinquent on their payment.
You’d like to turn them back into paying students by upgrading their memberships, making sure they pay their tuition or at least get referrals from your barters.
Bonus Tip: It’s a smart idea to do an audit once a month to make sure that all of your students who should be active paying students are. You may occasionally find an Active Non-Paying Student isn’t paying because their program expired, the new agreement wasn’t submitted to the billing company, etc;
Your Action List
Review the difference between Active Paying, Active Non-Paying, and Non- Active Paying to make sure you fully understand the difference.
Review your attendance records and change the status of any students who should be classified as inactive students.
Calculate your Active Student Count.
Calculate your Active Paying, Active Non-Paying, and Inactive Paying Student Counts and keep track of them each week on your Weekly Statistics sheet.
Look for ways to turn the Active Non-Paying students into members that are upgrading, attending special events, referring new members, etc.