School Finance 616
2017 Summer Comings and GoingsWe've come to the end of another school year, and we want to thank you for reading our Finance@SAS series. These regular articles about the school's financial decisions are intended to promote understanding and support of school policies within our large, diverse parent community. In our final 2016–17 article, we give a summary of the current numbers of students and teachers leaving and joining our SAS community.
Student withdrawal and re-enrollment numbersAs is usual in international schools, the end of the year means bidding farewell to many friends and classmates. The admissions office informs us that as of mid-May, 666 current students will not be returning in August, including our 281 departing seniors. Representing just under 17% of our student body, this is lower than the previous two years' withdrawal rates and suggests we are returning to our more usual rate of under 16% per year. On average, our departing students have been at SAS for 4.5 years.
Our re-enrollment figure of 3,272 students is correspondingly positive. This is our highest number since 2014 and matches our average re-enrollment rate over the last seven years. This likely reflects improving U.S. and regional economic conditions, as well as our more efficient re-enrollment process. We can assume from previous years that some families will change their plans over the summer and we allow for this when offering spots to applicants.
New student applications, acceptances, and waitlistApplication numbers for 2017–18 are the second highest over the last five years, indicating that our strong reputation continues to attract new families in an increasingly competitive market (read about this in Finance 607). Our admissions office reports that we have offered places to 683 applicants. Over 40% of our newly accepted students come from other schools in Singapore, while less than 8% of withdrawing students plan such transfers. The highest numbers of on-island transfers come from SAIS, followed by CIS, OFS, GEMS and UWC.
We have a very healthy waitlist of 341 applicants, which is 40% higher than last year's list at this time. In the elementary school, we are filling remaining places in preschool, pre-K, and grade 1 with qualified applicants. We have a number of spots available in both our regular and Chinese-immersion kindergarten classes, as our capacity expands significantly in this grade. To better match demand, we are downsizing grade 2 and expanding grade 3 by one class each. Our higher elementary school, middle school, and high school grades are full. The admissions office will remain hard at work over the summer to fill spots as they become available and support new families as they transition to SAS.
Overall, we are pleased to report that we anticipate full-capacity operation in 2017–18. We are very proud to be one of only two foreign system schools in Singapore with continued operation at over 99% of capacity, even as the number of international school seats has significantly increased. We know that recommendations from current SAS parents are among our most powerful recruiting tools, and we thank all of you who have passed on positive accounts of your SAS experiences.
Faculty comings and goingsTurning to our faculty, this summer thirty-one teachers and six administrators will leave SAS. With 375 faculty members on staff, this represents a teacher turnover rate of around 8%, which is our lowest in four years and compares very favorably with other international schools' numbers. From what we know of their plans, around half of our departing faculty members are moving back to their home countries, with others flying off to new adventures in Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. We thank all of them for their years of service to SAS.
To those in our community who are moving on, we wish you the very best in your new adventures. We look forward to greeting our new families during welcome week, and to seeing the whole 2017–18 SAS community at open house on Friday, August 11, and on the first day of school on Monday, August 14. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer break.