Research conducted by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) shows that while the overall boarding school student enrollment has grown over recent years, the domestic student numbers have “declined gradually, yet consistently, for more than a dozen years.”
I doubt the reasons will surprise.
Consider the recession, changes in parenting, a slow decline in the number of high school aged students (a demographic reality that’s with us for the foreseeable future), etc. and the pieces fit.
But if the domestic numbers are down, why the slight growth in overall enrollment? International recruitment. Schools have responded to the greater international demand, which has helped to shape schools into more global institutions.
That said, concerns exists (by both day & boarding schools) about the reduction in the overall number of North American students.
TABS has heard this message loud and clear from its members and responded by forming the North American Boarding School Initiative (NABI).
This committee of 18 (which I’m honored to be a part of) has met for the past year to look at the challenge and provide potential solutions. At a high level, the group is advocating for the 300 TABS member schools to take collective action in the form of four areas of investments designed to boost domestic interest & enrollment.
While the program recommendations have yet to be formally approved (the TABS board meets this month to hear the proposed plans), Pete Upham, Executive Director, TABS, joined me for this episode of the Get Connected Podcast to:
- share more about NABI and its goals
- talk about the enrollment pressures that face boarding and day schools
- and layout NABI’s “Core Dimensions” that serve as the committee’s guiding light.
Whether you’re involved in enrollment at a private day school or boarding school, I encourage you to listen to this episode and share your views by commenting below. The more feedback we can gather, the better.