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Thread: Offering concessions for classes




  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer Roshanna's Avatar
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    Offering concessions for classes

    Teachers, do any of you offer discounted classes for students, pensioners, unpemployed people etc? If so, how do you administer this? I'd guess with students and pensioners it is easy to ask to see some kind of student ID or proof of age - but how would you go about it for people who are unemployed or on benefits? (I'm in the UK btw, so I'd guess the answer to this would be a lot different than for those of you in the US)

    I know that some adult education classes offer this kind of discount, and as we're trying to promote ME dance in the local community and make our classes accessible to as many people as possible, I'd really like to set this up for the Autumn term.

    (a little background - I'm a dance student of about 3 years, but have ended up as president of a nonprofit dance group that offers classes. I don't know a lot about the business/professional side of things, so I'm having to learn quickly on the job.)


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer Lara L's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I have given tickets as well as class coupons to places like the local women's shelter and the Resource Center for Parents & Children to distribute to their clients, as well as the group home for youth that my husband works at. I prefer to let these agencies distribute things like that rather than trying to work out for myself who would qualify under what circumstances. These are all agencies I am familiar with and trust and support, and I think having some kind of relationship is the best way to know your services are both valued and used appropriately.

    We have done student/military discounts for shows with appropriate ID, but it is just to hard to evaluate other criteria, and I don't want to place myself as judge as to whether someone is poor enough or needy in some other way enough to qualify for reduced rates- I'm just not qualified to do that and don't have the resources to ensure my criteria would be met anyway.

    On an individual basis, if a student comes to me to try to work something out because they can't afford classes, I have been willing to do various trade-in-kind type deals. Hanging up fliers, helping man the door at workshops and shows, sweeping up, website work, etc. are jobs I would otherwise have to do which I am willing to take as partial payment for folks who need to do that. I've certainly been on the other end of that & appreciate it!
    Kalirah likes this.


  3. #3
    I could get used to this! Shunnareh's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I teach in the UK. For my private classes I'm not in a position to offer concessions. However, I also work for an adult educational provider (a charity) who offers concessions (i.e. free courses) for people in receipt of some form of income-related benefit. Students have to bring along some proof of this (usually a letter/form designating their entitlement) when they enrol.

    Concessions are given for a quite wide range of benefits, ranging from pension guarantee credit, those receiving job seekers allowance, council tax benefit, working tax credit, housing benefit, asylum seeker, and also for those who are 16-18 years old.


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer jewelbellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I gave up offering discounts for anything other than school students (up to high school) early on, as I found the many possible permutations of concessions and the required ID was more than I wanted to deal with. I decided instead to offer an early bird discount rate for full, up front payment by a certain date. It helps me with cash flow, and allows me to say "No, we don't offer a specific discount for xyz, but you will be able to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount, which we offer every term."


  5. #5
    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I work for a local college and they do not offer concessions to pensioners or the unwaged.
    I think you'll find that this is no longer happening in many parts of the country. Cities like Liverpool were able to do this in deprived areas with central government help but with cut backs, many courses are having to fund themselves with sufficient numbers of full paying students.
    Organisations for pensioners who offer free classes to members usually have volunteer tutors.
    Those who teach day time classes or classes for pensioners would find it impossible to keep their heads over the water if they cut costs.


  6. #6
    I could get used to this! Shunnareh's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    A few of my local Colleges still offer concessions, but most do not actually offer non-vocational courses any more. Most government help goes to courses that have a qualification at the end, so belly dance, pottery etc have disappeared. The charity i work for (WEA) is the only one I know who still offer completely free courses for certain people, and finds it difficult to keep on doing this.

    Roshanna, you are going to have to be very careful how you administer this as many belly dance classes are having difficulty making even a small profit at the moment, with falling numbers. Unless you can get some form of sponsorship you would have to cover the concessions out of your full paying customers pockets, which might mean raising your prices for them. It's a difficult one as lots of folk would like to do this, but the economy is against it. I think it is possible in the short term, but if you wanted to continue it you would need to get some sponsorship (which would probably mean setting up with charitable status. I suppose it all depends on what you are aiming for. Even a non profit making group has to cover costs, which, when you add it all up, can be quite high (insurance, licensing, hall hire etc).

    I don't mean to sound discouraging, just mentioning the difficulties that some well-established educational providers are facing at the moment. Best of luck!
    lplmuk likes this.


  7. #7
    Official BHUZzer Roshanna's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    Shunnareh, the concessions offered by the adult education charity was exactly the type of thing I had in mind. I'm a bit discouraged by the experiences of those of you who've given up offering concessions, but will continue to look into ways we could make this work.

    I do think it has a chance financially - at present despite class rates for everyone that are really very cheap (£40 for 10 classes, with discounts for multiple classes), we generally make a reasonable profit on beginner's classes in all terms except the summer (this subsidises intermediate classes and gives us the financial reserve to host workshops and large haflas etc). Our attendance has been good for much of this year despite the recession. We're also applying for a BBC community dance grant at present, though I have no idea what our chances of success for that are as we've never applied for funding before. We're also hoping in the long run to get official nonprofit or charitable status.

    I do worry that we're possibly undercutting other teachers at the moment, as our classes cost at least £1.50 per hour less than any other teacher locally, and our current teacher's pay is I think also a little below the going rate at £18 per hour. So the motivation for all this is to rearrange the pricing & payment structure to make sure that we aren't making life hard for other local teachers, or underpaying our own teachers, whilst also making sure that those who genuinely struggle to afford classes aren't priced out. Having said that, it could be a lot worse - I've heard that a few years back before I joined the society, they used to not pay teachers at all thankfully those days are behind us!


  8. #8
    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I think you do have to work out how you stack up against other teacher both in what you can offer and possible undercutting. If your classes have a "closed" intake..students' clubs or other then fair enough.
    My college charges £54 for 12 weeks which does work out cheaper than other local teachers but then students have to find the money for the whole course in one go. The leisure courses have no concessions as far as I know this continues and I am paid just the local normal hourly rate for teachng at this level. I sure aren't in it for the money but it pays for me to attend a festival of workshops twice a year!


  9. #9
    Banned Aalina's Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    I am getting your point i can understand what you want to say. but its not like that as you thinking dear . there are lots of classes with low rates for students. and having full facilities . you can join any type of art classes there are lots of choices here . you can search them on google


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Offering concessions for classes

    One option some people use for making their classes accessible to low-income people is barter. I used to have a teacher who exchanged her classes for weekly manicures, house cleaning, lawn-mowing, massages, etc. with various students. Obviously, the feasibility of this depends on what skills the student can offer in return, but it's something you could consider. In this situation, you don't have to ask the student any awkward questions about her income - just put a line on your promotional material near your pricing info saying something like, "Barter options available - contact me for details".

    If the student was laid off from a job and is now job-hunting, the task that she's doing for you might even be something she could put on a resume to show that she has initiative. For example, if she's seeking work as a computer programmer and has been redesigning/updating your web site she could list "web design" on her resume as her current employment and refer to you as the client.


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