Q: Can you share the best way to word tuition policy? I charge monthly, but when December comes, parents don't want to pay for the weeks we're off. I want to make it clear they're paying for X amount of total lessons divided by 10 months.


A: We do it this way: “The school year will consist of 35 weekly class sessions from September through June. Monthly tuition is based on the average of 3 1/2 classes per month. Some months have as few as two weeks; others have as many as five. You are not paying for scheduled school vacations and holidays. Credit will not be given for missed classes due to illness, snow days or personal commitments. You are welcome to make up any class missed."

Inform parents about your policy on your website and in other important pre-registration communications. At the time of enrollment, you should require they review the policy and check a box verifying this on your online or printed registration form. Asking them to officially agree should minimize future objections, because it requires them to accept responsibility before participating. We find that having a flexible makeup-class policy works as a great incentive. Parents understand that there are options for students to receive instruction outside of normal class time.

You can certainly make exceptions when warranted, but be careful not to let them become the norm. You must be confident in your tuition explanation and policy. It also goes a long way if you are willing to speak with any parent about their concerns and can fully educate your office staff to graciously give proper explanations at registration time or when necessary.

Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.

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