Budget Meets Mission: School Finance for Non-Business Leaders

Understanding school finances can inspire resourceful action on the part of all leaders charged with managing their schools. This online course is designed for those administrators who desire to be good stewards of their school's financial resources, to be strategic in light of financial pressure and to work more collaboratively with their leadership team around financial issues.

Budgets reflect how the school's resources are allocated to deliver on its mission. How do school leaders help fulfill a school's mission by pulling the appropriate strategic financial levers? Learn why a financial plan should be the byproduct of the strategic thinking of the school, and not the reverse.

In this class, school leaders with limited experience in financial and business functions will:

  • Gain a clearer understanding of their school's financial business model.
  • Learn the most important revenue and expense streams that determine a school's financial sustainability.
  • Understand financial terminology used in the business office, development, admissions and other business operations within the school.
  • Explore the variety of financial levers schools may consider to ensure long-term financial health.
  • Explore collaborative opportunities among departments in working towards financial sustainability.

This course is being offered in partnership between NBOA and One Schoolhouse.

Course Schedule

Week 1

Understanding the Fundamental Drivers

What are the financial drivers at your school? How should the allocation of existing and new resources reflect the school’s mission?

Participants will learn the important figures underlying the revenue side of the equation, including development and admission office activities, and gain an understanding of enrollment and financial aid, including net tuition revenue.

On the expense side of the equation, focus will be placed on personnel costs including salaries and benefits, class sizes and faculty-student ratios. Participants will also learn how to read financial statements and strategize around school finances.

At the end of each unit, participants will have an opportunity to check their understanding of course content and apply it to their specific school.

Week 2

The Environment Our Schools Operate Within

Participants will study the environment in which schools operate and the levers that schools can employ effectively in their environment. Levers include: indexed tuition, tuition discounting, strategic investments in marketing, new staffing models and endowment spending. The class will also cover current hot topics and encourage discussion.

Week 3

Bringing It All Together & Thinking About Your Roles

Participants will consider how different school offices can work together to create a brighter financial picture for a school. Participants will hear from a panel of experts in the fields of enrollment, governance, business operations and advancement. Participants will also reflect on their experience in the course and set personal goals for the future.

Building a Connection to Your Business Office

Participants will learn how to ask key questions to get the information they need from their budgets and financial statements. They will learn about the many roles the CFO and business office must play in managing the day-to-day and long-term interests of the school.


SHRM Information

Credit Hours: 9

Category: Business Acumen

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.


HRCI Information

Credit Hours: 9

Category: HR (Business)

NBOA is a recognized provider of recertification credits. HR Certification Institute® pre-approved this program for credits towards aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification.


Email programs@nboa.org or call 202-407-7140


Oct 25 - Nov 12, 2021


Jun 6 - Jun 24, 2022


Cancellation and refund policies




Group discount available

Time Commitment

3-5 hours per week for 3 weeks

Learn more about the platform and coursework

Class Size

Up to 40 participants

Recommended Audience

  • Administrators outside of the business office
  • School leaders, including board members
  • Teachers seeking an understanding of school finance