NBOA Research Reports

NBOA produces research reports to help business officers, heads of school and other independent school leaders understand key trends in independent school finances and operations that may inform strategic decisions. Some research reports draw on NBOA’s data sets in the Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS) platform, and others are produced in collaboration with business partners that serve the independent school community. All research reports are available for FREE to NBOA members. Selected reports are available for nonmembers to purchase. For guidance and thought pieces, see the Industry Guidance page.

Questions? Email research@nboa.org or call 202-407-7140.

Cover for Financial State of the Industry 2021-23 research report

Financial State of the Industry

BIIS Financial and Operational Indicators: 2021-2023

The only research study based on the audited financial statements of independent schools, the Financial State of the Industry report draws on an expansive national data set, thanks to a data collaboration effort with NAIS. The report includes an executive summary and analysis of 17 financial indicators in tuition, enrollment, expenses, annual giving and other areas of interest. Analyses are presented for day schools and schools with boarding as well as by school enrollment. Notable trends in the 2022-23 school year data include increases in operating expenses per student, "gap" per student and annual giving per student.

Released: 2024

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Free for members  |  $49 for nonmembers*

Commonfund Study of Independent School Endowments

Each year, NBOA partners with Commonfund Institute to conduct a survey that assesses independent school endowments and their trends. The study explores a number of timely topics, including total returns, asset allocation, spending-and-fund flows, and debt as well as investment management and governance. The data may inform your school’s asset allocation, endowment spending policy and more.

Released: 2024

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Members report year: 2023  |  Nonmembers report year: 2019

The 2022 Independent School Cost-Per-Enrollment Study cover

The 2022 Independent School Cost-Per-Enrollment Study

Strengthen Your Enrollment Management Strategy with New Industry Research

This joint research report from the Enrollment Management Association, National Association of Independent Schools and NBOA provides a formula for estimating the cost to enroll a student, which can be customized to individual schools, and also trend data from independent schools across the country. More important than benchmarking against other schools, however, is for schools to consider what costs go into their enrollment efforts and what returns on those investments are. Key data points include median cost per inquiry, median cost per application, median cost per enrollment and median tuition generated for each dollar spent to enroll a new student. The report includes detailed findings based on day/boarding, grades, size, region and co-ed/single sex as well as key points for leadership discussion and resources for data gathering. 

Released: 2022

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Free for members | Not available for nonmembers

Tuition Discounting Report

For PK-12 Independent Schools

The Tuition Discounting Report analyzes financials from 176 member schools in NBOA’s Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS) data platform to understand the trends in tuition discounting from 2018-2020. This research serves as a baseline for tracking the effects of tuition discounting, including need-based financial aid, merit aid and scholarships, and tuition remission, on the financial health of the PK-12 nonprofit independent school industry. This report was inspired by the annual NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study which measures higher education institutional tuition discount rates. The Tuition Discounting Report is published with generous financial support from A. W. G. Dewar Inc.

Released: 2021

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Free for members  |  $49 for nonmembers*


Demographics of the Independent School Business Office

Key Research Findings 2020

In support of NBOA’s goals to support diversity, equity and inclusion within our membership, this report explores the background and career path of current business office professionals. Findings touch on demographic markers such as race, gender and educational background as well as professional experience prior to work in an independent school. The report offers insights into business office professionals’ career satisfaction, career goals and needs for professional development. Extensive data on salaries by position and school type is provided.

Released: 2020

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Free for members | Not available to nonmembers

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