If you’re part of an institution’s leadership team, you’ve probably used at least one school management software. You may have been interested in the pricing complexity of other school management software tools. There are many different pricing methods on the market, and some pricing models can confuse first-time buyers.
There are hundreds of school management software available with different features and prices. This article serves as a primer for anyone who wants to buy a new school management software or replace the school’s existing software. This article applies not only to schools, but also to universities and other educational centers.
School management software pricing
Free school management software
Some software is provided free of charge. Free school management software that is generally not open source is partly a paid product or service. For some paid products, you can use goods and services for free, but you must start paying after reaching a certain limit. It is important for institutions to be aware of the limitations before implementing partially monetized school management software.
Open Source School Management Software-
Some software is available as open source. You can download or buy the software here (open source doesn’t always mean free), and you can host the software on a server. There are advantages such as customization and flexibility, but there are various technical limitations for a regular school to run on open source software if adequate technical support is not available. You can choose to have a strong technical faculty within your institution.
Free and Open Source School Management Software-
In addition to open source, there is software that can be accessed and downloaded at any time without permission. Similar to the scenario above, this method can work if you have a technical professor who understands the software code and can implement the same code within your institution.
Price per user
Paid school management software comes with a variety of pricing models. One of the most widely implemented methods is pay per user. With this pricing model, smaller schools with fewer than 200 students will have to pay less than schools with 1000 or more students. The functionality is almost the same in both scenarios. You need to check in advance that the price you choose includes parent and teacher user accounts. Most school management software provides login access to both parents. So, in a school with 1000 students and 100 faculty, the total users could be 1000 students + 2000 parents + 100 faculty = 3100. So, check with your vendor to see if this 3100 user ID is available for 1000 students price. Also, keep in mind the number of students coming to school next year and see how this is reflected in the price. Also, don’t forget to ask if your license is renewed annually.
Fixed rate (per institution per year) –
To avoid the complexity of the above pricing, many vendors implement institutional flat rates and offer unlimited user licenses. The advent of cloud computing has drastically reduced hosting costs, and vendors have been able to give freedom to the number of user licenses. Institutions have a fixed annual fee. Prices range from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the supplier and institution.
Some vendors offer school management software packaged in different plans by function. So, smaller schools can opt for a minimum plan, and larger institutions can purchase higher level plans. With these prices available, take a software demo to get an in-depth understanding of each feature and see if the plan you choose is right for your institution this year and tomorrow.
3. Combo price
Most software vendors on the market offer combo pricing that combines all three pricing strategies above. For a combination price, you can calculate the total cost of ownership (tco) by collecting the total cost to pay the vendor if you use the software over the next 3 to 5 years. Find out how several factors, such as number of students, numbering agencies, features, etc. will change software pricing this year and in the future.
Factors to consider when choosing school management software
AMC (annual maintenance contract)
One thing most schools missed while buying school management software is the AMC involved two years later. You should check in advance the various prices that may apply over the life of your institution’s software. A good schedule is to consider the next 3 to 5 years. Contact the vendor for license renewals and separate AMC fees (if any).
SMS / Email
School management software communicates with parents and teachers through SMS notifications. These bulk SMS are paid, so check with your vendor to see if this price is included in the package or if a separate fee applies when purchasing bulk SMS. Additionally, we collect information about SMS usage statistics from schools with similar user licenses.
Most school management software today is offered as a SaaS with a hosting price included in the license. Separate hosting charges apply when purchasing the Enterprise Package. Please check in advance if the license fee includes a separate hosting fee.
Online fee payment
Most parents now pay their tuition online. Check with your vendor for available payment gateway integrations and see if a separate fee applies to fee transactions. This may exceed the software’s licensing cost.
GPS tracking and RFID/barcode integration
Additional hardware and installation procedures are required to improve school management software such as GPS tracking of traffic vehicles, RFID/barcode integration, etc. So, check with your vendor for pricing on these features and hardware.
It is the supplier’s responsibility to provide data backup and secure storage for future use in case of software malfunction. Please contact the vendor in advance for backup services and related costs.
In addition to the feature support, sometimes users need technical support to implement the advanced features of the software. Check with the vendor whether technical support is included in the package and if there are any restrictions.
School management software’s mobile app is a premium feature that requires schools to pay extra. Some vendors include mobile apps in the same price package. Contact the vendor for pricing and features of the mobile app. Make sure you have both Android and iPhone apps available and, if possible, check the same associated rates.
Third party integration
There is a need to integrate other software and hardware to improve its use with school management software. See additional charges for integration and API access.
In the article above, various complications associated with pricing school management software have been clarified so far. With this awareness, you can now evaluate a variety of software from vendors.