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#2072896 - 04/28/13 03:36 PM Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May?
WadeCottingham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 32
Loc: Dallas, TX
Most years, for the last 12 years this has happened only rarely. This year, four families at once dropped out for the month of May (a couple of them are just now letting me know here at the end of April).

I bill for May at the end of April, and very possibly cannot immediately fill these slots, so this is probably lost revenue for May.

Do you bill 2 months in advance? Do you somehow contract for the whole school year? Do you require 30 days notice for drops?

thanks in advance for help in answering my 3rd recent question about how you do things in your studio smile I am having to revamp my policies and I appreciate your comments and insight.

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#2072920 - 04/28/13 04:18 PM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: WadeCottingham]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Wade, there are many ways to protect yourself. You can institute a one month early withdrawal fee; you can charge tuition. There are many others. I use the annual tuition fee, so my monthly statements always show the balance due. Actually, this method eliminates a lot of less serious families.

I believe several teachers here charge a quarterly fee, payable at the beginning of the quarter, so that if they pay in April, they've paid through June.

Good luck.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2072939 - 04/28/13 04:45 PM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: WadeCottingham]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
When I changed from charging tuition monthly to charging by the semester, it eliminated parents taking the infamous 'December break' and also quitting the last month of my school year. My tuition is a yearly fee, divided into 4 payments that are due in Sep, Nov, Jan and April.

Also, for those who used to take a break for a month or so (so they'd get out paying tuition in December, when we have only 2-3 lessons), I consider that withdrawing from the program. Should they decide to return in January they must re-enroll and pay a new enrollment fee.

I require a 30-day notice to withdraw from lessons.

My parents are typically excited about recitals; they won't drop if there's a recital coming up.

And lastly (but I probably should have said this in the beginning), I view and discuss with parents the concept of enrolling in lessons for the school year. We start in Sep; we end in June. That's our year. The mentality is different and parents don't usually opt to just drop whenever they want.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#2073237 - 04/29/13 12:56 AM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: WadeCottingham]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 857
Are you planning on allowing any of these families to re-enroll?

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#2073344 - 04/29/13 08:34 AM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: WadeCottingham]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12207
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I do require 30 day's notice for drops. The reason for this is mostly because sometimes parents will get fed up at home and not talk to me then I get blind-sided with no notice, no opportunity for me to help them solve the problem. Having this in place can help open lines of communication: how can I possibly know what goes on at home from a short 45 minutes per week with the student? But many parents don't think to bring me into the discussion, perhaps they feel it's more of a disciplinary issue, or perhaps they are embarrassed. But neither attitude solves the problem. I usually do not have a problem for May, although some high school seniors tend to get very forgetful about their lessons at this time.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2073560 - 04/29/13 03:17 PM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: Morodiene]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 193
Loc: Chicago
Comments posted regarding setting a policy are all well-stated. I'd just to add that I also explain, in a written policy, that tuition is averaged over the full year and that the monthly rate reflects that averaged amount. Therefore, each month is the same rate, regardless of how many lessons occur in that month. Also, if I choose to offer an extra lesson (for upcoming competition or performance, for example), that is also included in the monthly fee. I also require 30 days' notice to stop lessons. If they are stopping for a certain period (a leave of absence), they must pay in advance for the month that they expect to return. Without that advance payment, I will not hold open a lesson slot. It is still not fair since the fee is averaged over the year, but it does help to keep students (the primary objective).

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#2073876 - 04/30/13 01:19 AM Re: Do you protect yourself against students dropping in May? [Re: Morodiene]
WadeCottingham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 32
Loc: Dallas, TX
Thanks so much !!!!

I'm gonna structure it just like the Yoga studio I joined and
then quit a year later... AutoPay by credit card is the primary payment method, and 30 day notice for terminating is in the agreement.

Will I allow these families to re-enroll?
This will take care of itself. Their exodus
has shown me the need for the 30 day
termination policy. If/when they re-apply,
it will be first-come, first serve regarding scheduling.
I don't expect them back. I need to concentrate on
my core mission of serving those who DO keep coming back!

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