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Below we have listed the usual costs to run an SMS for a single calendar year. Some of the costs, the base subscription fee for example, may be familiar to you. Typically, this is the advertised sticker price. You budget for it, and you know what to expect. What you weren’t expecting are the numerous unpredictable, budget-hurting hidden costs.

Don’t worry if you do not have a specific number handy, we have pre-populated with benchmark values based on industry averages.


The cost of an SMS starts with a subscription fee. The subscription fee is typically based on the total number of enrolled students in a given year.


Many SMS providers charge additional fees for every admission application they process. Most schools then charge the student, or student's family, in turn. Add to that the often overlooked cost in processing fees related to collecting the payment.


Congrats! You have a new student. To finalize the admission process, the majority of K-12 private schools rely on contracts. It is all too common to incur fees for online enrollment contracts. If you know your contract fees, enter them below.

Financial Aid (FA)

Private K-12 schools are uniquely positioned to offer their students access to financial aid. What does it take for an SMS to process and manage the financial aid applications? You guessed it, more surprise costs.

Misc. Costs (yes still more)

The modern SMS has introduced many new features that keep students and their families connected with their teachers and school administrators like never before. These features include mobile apps, realtime alerts, and access to online tuition management portals. Many of these features come with hidden transactional fees.