Making Sure the Price is Right

Or “how much should this class cost anyway?”

by Monique Bouchard, CourseStorm

It can be hard to put a price on education, for many reasons. Yet many educational programs need to put a price on their classes in order to thrive. If you’re one of those programs, understanding pricing is critical. Whether you’re a nonprofit arts organization, a workforce development program, or offering adult and community education classes, no matter who you are – you need to be making enough to continue providing excellent educational opportunities to your students!

While a complete pricing guide would be insanely complicated (and different for everyone!) we’d like to share with you some thoughts on how to price your class based on our experiences and observations. So, how much should this class cost anyway?

Charge What You’re Worth

The number one mistake that we see educational institutions making is pricing their programs based on their cost to run rather than their value.

Assessing the value of your class periodically will help you in the long run. Remember, it doesn’t matter what it costs you to create or teach — your market will tell you how they value your classes by paying the price you ask for that education.

Take note of what your students are learning in the class and how it affects them. Ask yourself:

  • What are students getting from your class?
  • Do they learn a new skill?
  • Does it save them time?
  • Does it make them more employable?
  • How does their life change after this class?
  • What’s that worth?
  • What would happen if they didn’t take your class?
  • What other resources would they need to accomplish the same goal and what are the costs of those resources?
  • How much would you charge to teach the class one-on-one to a single student?
    Just because you’re teaching a group doesn’t change the value.

Based on your answers, you may find a sound reason to adjust your pricing. (You can also use what you’ve learned when you’re conveying the benefits of the class to prospective students.)

If you can track your class members’ progress after completing the class, do so. Be sure to ask for feedback, including what your students think about the cost and value of your class. 

 Image stating "If you regularly have a waiting list for the class, that’s a good sign that you can set a higher price."

Review the Market

While it’s not recommended that you base your price entirely on what other programs are charging (since it’s unlikely you will know enough about their business expenses and other details), it is still wise to review the market regularly to ensure that your pricing isn’t wildly off.

Here are some questions you might consider:

  • What are similar organizations charging for classes of the same type?
    If yours is a certification class, check the cost to attain that certification elsewhere.
  • What might a comparable class cost at a for-credit class at a college or university?
    If there are no comparable classes, you may have a unique selling point that supports a price increase.
  • What is the going rate for an online course on the topic?
    Don’t forget to check online and distance-learning classes as well to see what’s happening in your market.

You may also want to think about who your primary buyer is —the student, a parent, a business, or in some cases, a municipality or government agency. Some purchasers may have set amounts they will pay and others may have more flexibility. Your pricing may be also affected by the location, depth of study, length of class, or skill level of the instructor. You may also have unique considerations in addition to the ones we’ve listed.

To Raise or Not to Raise

Once you’ve completed your pricing review, you may choose to raise the price of your class. If you’re not sure your students will tolerate the new pricing, you may want to increase the cost incrementally over time. If you regularly have a waiting list for the class, that’s a good sign that you can set a higher price.

Price your class too low, and not only will you limit your revenue, but you may also reduce the perceived value of your class. Price your class too high, and you won’t have enough enrollments, undermining the value of your whole program.

No matter how you choose to price your class, it’s worth your time to conduct an in-depth review so you can continue offering your best educational experiences at the right price every time.

 


 

If you’d like to see what other CourseStorm users are doing, you can check out our CourseStorm Roulette site and see what classes are being offered across the country!