[Update: 2/23/2017] This piece has been updated to reflect price changes as well as addition software options.
Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than trying to solve them. –Henry Ford
Finding school administration software can be frustrating—so much so that school administrators are doing handstands and cartwheels instead of trying to figure out a reasonable software price for the size of their school or district. After all, the actual amount school management software costs can be really tricky to figure out.
Luckily, I’ve peeked behind the “free trial” and “call now!” walls that school administration software vendors have created for customers and broken down just how much a school can expect to pay and what school management software costs.
Many school management software vendors, like QuickSchools and MySchool, scale their pricing models based on the number of students that the program is servicing. This model starts at $0.99 per student and ranges to $22.00, sometimes per month and sometimes per year. The average monthly cost per student is $5.94, and the median monthly cost per student is $5.00.
Other Per Student Software Options
- Applane Education – $10/month per student
- Sycamore School Management – $1.20/month per student
- MyStudentsProgress – $20/year per student
Other plans offer a month-to-month plan, and these plans can be more tricky to parse out. For example, Populi’s largest package starts at $1199.00 per month and also charges $5 per student—but comes with incredible features like 3000 GB of file storage (this model isn’t recommended for schools with less than 840 students). On the other end of the spectrum, Administrate’s light user program starts at just $9 a month.
Other Monthly Payment Software Options
Sometimes school administrators would prefer to pay for the entirety of their software up front. Doing so typically costs thousands of dollars, the cheapest of which is run through RollCall at $4,000.00. The average one-time cost of school administration software is $3,566.67, whereas the median brings that price up to $4,000.
Other One-Time Payment Software Options
- AscendSMS – $12/per student one-time
There’s no way around it: School administration software is expensive.
Unfortunately, the truth is that it’s more expensive to forgo the software.
School administration software reduces costs in three major ways. Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.” That said, introducing school management software will not fix structural problems, but it will save your school time and money in both the short and long term.
- Reduce Paper Costs: Schools run on paper. From student files to applications to report cards, paper is a major expense that most schools struggle with. School administration software organizes and manages everything online. This gives schools the potential to save thousands on paper alone—and makes them more eco-friendly to boot!
- Reduce Employee Hours: Automation reduces working hours. If you’re relying on hourly employees to do the tasks that have now been computerized, let school management software do the heavy lifting. Save money on overtime, benefits, and salary by switching to an automated system.
- Reduce Meeting Time: No school could function without regular meetings… or could it? Most school management software options provide streamlined communications systems so that parents, teachers, and administrators can all work together—without wasted face-to-face time. Efficiency is king when it comes to software, and school administration software makes communication less of a time sink throughout the academic year.
School administration software creates additional time for productive tasks and has relatively low maintenance fees. The systems can usually scale with the school, regardless of whether you have a growing or shrinking student body. For all of these reasons, school administration software tends to be a net benefit more often than an expense.
With all that said, there are legitimate reasons for schools to hesitate before buying school administration software. The startup fees can be a non-starter for many districts, and, while most programs are intuitive (think about set-up-and-go programs like Moodle), some training might be involved for software that does more heavy lifting. Training takes time—I understand the hesitation.
That said, those initial costs will be well worth it in the long run. Parents will be happy to hear that you’re making your school more efficient for the sake of the students and the school. And with cases where school districts are saving millions by just switching to school administration software, the choice to switch is obvious.
Once you’ve decided that you want school administration software, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with which product to choose. If you need help picking out the best software solution for your school, check out Capterra’s free school administration software directory, where you can filter your options based on what you want your solution to do for your school.
If these prices fall outside of your budget and you want to try out a system before you transition to a paid option, be sure to check out our top free and open-source school administration software list.
Have you tried any of the options provided in this piece or any other school administration software in our directory? Be sure to leave a review so that we can provide up-to-date experiences for new software buyers!
Looking for School Administration software? Check out Capterra's list of the best School Administration software solutions.