As the last Lutheran school in South St. Louis City, Word of Life Lutheran School (WOL) had experienced declining enrollment for several years. Between competition from charter schools and leadership transitions at the school, WOL was losing students and money, but the need for quality, affordable education was still great. The students who were enrolling increasingly needed scholarships and financial aid to afford the tuition to attend.
The school’s Board and new principal engaged The Rome Group to develop a business plan that would help them attract students, become financially sustainable, and remain competitive in the increasingly complex landscape for education.
The Rome Group assessed the school’s strengths, analyzed existing financial and enrollment data, and completed a market study to determine what potential future enrollment could look like. The result was a presentation to the Board with different financial scenarios based on the number of students and how many would need financial assistance. We facilitated a discussion among Board members, which culminated in a decision about their enrollment targets, financial goals, and their overall strategy for the coming years.
Eighteen months later, Word of Life School has increased its enrollment by 20 percent and continues to offer its strong, faith-based education to an interesting and diverse mix of students in South St. Louis City.