### Tuition Policies

Found in: Fees Rates & Cost

#### Carrie L., Michigan

How do you explain your tuition policies? I must be unclear because students are confused. This has happened 2-3 times in the past month so I need to change something I’m saying.

I charge a monthly rate, but I will tell students when they call for the first time that I charge an average of $22 per lesson. I feel like when people call and are ‘rate shopping’ they need to know it’s an average of $22 a week to compare with the others around. Then they think it should be $88 a month instead of $95 a month which is the averaged amount for the year. I need to learn how to explain this in a more clear way.

#### Dodie B., Washington

Here is the wording I use:

FEES: I have adjusted my fees according to the number of lessons I teach in a year, divided by 12 for the number of months in a year. Since I plan to teach 48 weeks out of the year, Your monthly fees will be $80 a month for shared lessons & $120 a month for private lessons.

Your fees for each month are due at the last lesson of the preceding month. I will provide a reminder a week in advance. If you do not have your fees at the lesson at which they are due, please send them through the mail to Dodie Brueggeman at the address at the bottom of this page

If I do not have your fees by the 1st, a $20 late payment fee will be assessed. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from paying on time, don’t hesitate to let me know and I will be happy to work with you.

#### Laurie Richards, Nebraska

I explain it very clearly during the foundation session. I take 8 weeks off during the year, so they are paying for 44 lessons. The cost of the 44 lessons is divided evenly over the 12 months to make it easier for everyone. So, regardless of whether there are 3, 4, or 5 lessons in any given month, the monthly tuition remains the same.

If I cancel a lesson for any reason, and it is in addition to the 8 weeks vacation, I prorate the monthly tuition and credit their account.

I ask if anyone has questions about it. I also detail this in my policies. Btw, I’ve learned the hard way!

#### Mark M., New York

I set a round-number per-lesson rate, and I tell them this is the cost of each lesson, but I bill it monthly, so I multiply by 52 weeks and divide by 12 months. Then they understand right away why the monthly number isn’t just 4 x the lesson rate.

This is also where I like the benefit of having a lesson rate that’s a multiple of $3, because it means that the monthly rate is also a nice round, even number of dollars. This is true because of the 52 and the 12. For anyone who calculated a monthly rate based on some other number of lessons per year due to planned vacations or what have you, this multiple of $3 thing would not be true, but it would be true for some other figure.

#### Cindy B., Illinois

I don’t explain my per week figure – I just give them the per month figure. If it comes up in a specific case, I will explain that I teach 40 lessons a year, 11 months, and averaged the monthly cost based on that. If that’s not enough of an explanation (only twice have I needed to “do the math” for them) I go ahead and do it. I also explain that when the program is totally adhered to they will be accomplished pianists in an average of 4 years, which is how long the first 9 levels of the foundation take when you only teach 40 lessons per year instead of 52, and that the results outweigh the cost no matter which way you look at it.

#### Amber B., Michigan

I like the per lesson rate. I charge $25 for shared lessons and $30 for demanding a private. The monthly thing seems like more to say. Maybe you should give them a choice, your monthly rate or my per lesson rate:) Don’t worry if they are shopping. You are worth more than any traditional teacher and these same people will probably be a pain in other areas as well down the road.

#### Anne S., Nebraska

I tell potential students that my tuition is a flat $xx per month. The only time I break it down into individual lesson charge is if I need to credit them for a cancelled lesson.

The most important thing I have learned about discussing my tuition rate is to do it matter-of-factly and unapologetically. When I first started teaching I felt like my tuition was very high compared to traditional teachers, and my hesitation would show in my voice. Now, as Neil says, “it is what it is” and I feel confident in discussing my rates. Simply Music is just worth it.