Increasing expenses push schools into losses and difficult situations. With proper planning and a systematic approach, schools can reduce costs while adopting the latest technology. Let’s discuss the different ways an educational institution can cut down expenses.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent inflation have affected most lives around the globe. Just about everything has been disrupted and had to be restarted to align with the new normal. Schools and educational institutions too suffered from losses.
The changing scenario demands the school administrations step up and deal with the issues effectively or shut shop forever. Closing schools is never a good sign for society. The administrations must make the right decisions to cut costs without compromising the quality of education and services they provide to students.
Schools also need to focus on retaining experienced and efficient teachers to handle the responsibility of training students for the future. Let’s look at the various ways for schools and colleges to reduce expenses.
How Can Schools Reduce Costs?
Luckily, there are several ways to manage school finances effectively. Educational institutions can adopt methods that are most suited to their requirements. Aspects like demographics, geographical location, etc., play a role in determining which of the below ways are more rewarding and useful to schools and colleges.
1. Adopt the Latest Technology
It might seem counterintuitive initially as you have to invest in new technology. However, choosing the right software and tools will reduce the need for working capital and minimize the use of resources over time. You not only become technologically efficient but also save money in various forms. There are different ways to adopt technology and make changes to the established systems and processes.
Schools have countless papers and records of students and teachers. From reports about past students to the current batch, timetables, syllabus, and just about everything is on paper. Imagine how much money is spent on maintaining physical records. By going paperless and moving the database to the cloud, schools don’t have to spend on buying paper, printers, ink, maintenance of the printers, safeguarding the physical records, etc.
Education management software allows the school administrations to automate manual processes like sending emails, updating the database, collecting fees, scheduling classes, and so on. Choosing the right software for the school plays a vital role in reducing the overall expenses.
AI-Powered Question Generator
What if schools don’t want to invest in management software? You can integrate role-specific solutions or platforms to handle individual tasks. For example, PrepAI is an artificial intelligence-based question generator tool that automates the process of creating a question paper for exams. Teachers save time and energy spent on setting the exam paper, planning quizzes, etc., by using this tool. This time can be spent completing the syllabus or reducing the number of classes.
Another part of going paperless is to build a digital library for teachers and students alike. An e-library doesn’t require the same level of maintenance as a physical library. Students can access the library books from any location. It’s easy to download an electronic copy of a book than wait for the physical copy.
Combining in-person and online learning is referred to as blended learning. It brings the best of both worlds by allowing flexibility in teaching methods. A hybrid learning experience can not only help students increase their knowledge but also allows schools to save money on various fronts.
2. Recycle and Reuse
Schools generate a lot of waste, which causes harm to the environment and also increases costs for the establishments. By making some clever changes, schools can cut down the costs reduced to buying the same items again and again. For example, plastic bottles can be exchanged at recycling centers for coupons. Older equipment can be recycled instead of dumped in the junkyard. Metal can be sold as scrap.
3. Manage External Support (train employees, outsource when cheaper)
External or third-party services are a part of managing the educational institution. How can schools cut costs by managing external support? There are a couple of ways.
One way is to train the existing staff to take over the job that’s currently being done by outsiders. That way, schools don’t have to spend money on renewing contracts.
The second way is to outsource services to others instead of hiring more employees on the payroll. This option should be selected when outsourcing is cheaper than training employees or hiring new staff.
4. Develop an Efficient Payroll System
Salaries for the teachers and non-teaching staff take up a large portion of the school’s resources. That doesn’t mean you can lay off staff and hire them back later. It’ll only increase expenditure and affects the quality of education standards.
However, streamlining the payroll system using a software/ app will help schools track the working hours, overtime, holidays, etc., without having to hire more employees to run the department.
5. Redo Inventory Planning
Schools and colleges spend substantial amounts on stocking inventory. Stationery, classroom supplies, uniforms, books, and many others items are purchased in bulk. However, it’s the use of this inventory that requires more attention. More often than not, schools end up throwing away unused materials for various reasons.
By streamlining inventory planning and buying only what is necessary, schools can save money on unwanted expenses and reduce wastage. The education management software will help the administrator track the stock and distribute it among classes and teachers.
6. Moderate Extra-Curricular Activities
It might sound odd, but not all extra-curricular activities are useful for students. Physical training, debates, etc., are, of course, necessary. But there’s no need to have a long list of extra activities just for the sake of it. In fact, many such activities can be incorporated into classroom sessions.
For example, role-playing doesn’t require a separate session. Teachers can plan their lessons in different ways to blend learning and activities. This also increases the interaction in the classroom and makes students more attentive.
7. Moderate the Size of a Class
Lesser number of students in each class makes it easy for the teacher to concentrate on each of them. However, it is necessary to find the correct class size to balance teaching and overhead costs. For example, adding 3-4 students to the existing sections can help you reduce the number of sections without stressing the teacher. Moreover, one less class would mean one less period for teachers, which will give them more time to focus on the existing classes.
Best ways to reduce school operating costs?
Operating costs pile high even before you know it. Most schools, colleges, and educational institutions face this issue. With cautious planning, it is possible to reduce operational costs without affecting the reputation of an institution.
Focus on Energy Efficiency
Becoming energy-efficient can cut costs and inspire students to become eco-conscious by setting an example. Here’s how schools can save on energy charges and optimize their energy usage.
Get rid of old electric equipment as it requires more energy and increases your bills. Invest in certified energy-efficient appliances and gadgets. Start with the fans and bulbs in the classrooms.
Depending on your country/ region, you can get benefits and subsidies for installing solar panels at school and using alternate sources of energy.
Set timers to turn off lights, fans, ACs, etc., and reduce the thermostat to the lower point when there’s no school.
Understand Your Budget
What are the income sources for the school? Before making any major changes or employing cost-cutting measures, it is essential to take stock of the overall situation. Your decision shouldn’t indirectly affect your income as it can lead to chaos and losses.
Taking funds or donations for granted can also cause trouble if the expected money doesn’t come on time. Relying solely on students’ fees is also not advised. Once you have a clear picture of the income sources, you can cut down on unnecessary expenses.
Facility Management and Renting
Do you own the school premises? If yes, paying is rent one less thing to worry about. However, maintenance costs are a cause of concern. As the buildings get older, you have to spend more money on repairs and maintenance to adhere to the safety regulations.
In such instances, renting a portion of the premises or unused buildings can bring extra income. Summer holidays are a good time to rent the open areas, classrooms, and other buildings. You can even rent the community hall during weekends.
Healthier and Low-Cost Lunches
Healthier lunches are more important for kids than multiple choices of fast foods. Schools can cut down costs on lunches while still providing healthy meals to students. Tie up with organizations that provide nutritious meals for a lesser cost. This also promotes healthy eating in students and reduces the risk of obesity.
Plan Transportation Services
Does the school offer paid transportation services to students? Consider the options to see if outsourcing transportation would be a cost-effective solution. School management can also discontinue transportation and leave the responsibility to the parents and guardians.
Managing Field Trips
Field trips are important for students to see things for themselves. Nowadays, you can provide a similar experience in the classrooms through AR/ VR technology. Another way to cut costs is to map the budget of the trip in advance and ask for volunteers to help with transportation and lunch rather than spend on hiring drivers or paying restaurant bills. Maybe the authorities of the place you are planning to visit can help. Find ways to plan the trips without being extravagant.
As STEM education is becoming a part of every school and college, the costs to establish and manage the STEM department has gone up. This expense can be reduced by collaborating with nearby colleges or institutions that offer STEM teaching/ coaching services. Renting the facilities and staff for a fixed number of classes per term will save money compared to setting up the entire faculty on the campus.
Reducing costs at school doesn’t have to put you out of competition. By carefully deciding what works and what doesn’t, school administration can cut down the expenses and remove the burdens that are stopping them from adopting advanced technology.
Whether it is an artificial intelligence tool like PrepAI, payroll management system, or curriculum creator software, it’s imperative to choose the right solution for the school. Consult with technology solution providers to help you decide the right approach to cost-cutting and school management.