13 Things You Must Know About School Management System Pricing

For educational institutions thinking of purchasing a new school management system or replacing current software, here are some things to consider. Such a purchase should be an investment and it is important to know what to look out for.

If you google “school management software”, you will find both free and paid tools. A free school management system can be either freemium or open source. Freemium allows you to use basic features for free but will require you to pay for supplemental or advanced features. Open-source software can be downloaded for free or purchased. 


A paid school management system can have various pricing methods - for example, based on a number of student users, or a one-time flat rate for the entire institution with unlimited users allowed. Pricing can also be based on the number of features stacked in the programme - the more features there are, the higher the price. These pricing plans can come in packages, separated by the features offered. You can then decide which packages the best suit your school’s needs. 

What you must know about school management system pricing

1. Be aware of the limitations of the free school management system

Some software can be obtained free of charge. A free school management system would usually be freemium or open-source software. Do take note of its functional limitations prior to using such a system across your institution. You do not want to be caught in a situation where you had under-budgeted for the product because of certain features you require, that need to be purchased. 

For open-source software, remember that it may not always be free. Open-source software also allows your school to host it on your server and use it however you want. Do note that you may need to be familiar with the particular open-source database system to maximize the school management system. 

Last but not least, always check if the free version allows customization to fit your institution’s requirements.

2. Flat rates

Some school management systems may charge your institution a fixed fee every year. Depending on the vendor and how robust your system is, the fee may vary. Do take note to check if the flat rate will change year on year.

3. User-based pricing

This is a common pricing system. The price may vary based on how many users - it can be lower if your school has more students. In addition to students and staff, if parents are to have their own user IDs as well, the price of the school management system may go up. Be prepared to negotiate for more favourable terms, especially if you are purchasing a large number of user accounts. 

4. Feature-based pricing

Some school management systems are priced according to the number of features included. When presented with this option, be sure to request a demo to understand each feature in-depth, and evaluate if your selected plan would suit your institution’s needs

5. Combination Pricing

This is a pricing method that combines flat-rate pricing, user-based pricing and feature-based pricing. Get a clear understanding of the projected total cost in the long run from the vendor.

6. Hosting charges

Most software-as-a-service (SaaS) are hosted by the provider. The licensing fees you pay may include the hosting price. Check in advance if there are any separate hosting charges on top of the licensing fee. 

7. Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC)

While you may find a suitable school management system at an acceptable price, do not forget the AMC from the second year onwards. Much like a machine, the software requires maintenance as well. After the purchase and installation, it needs to be updated and fine-tuned. Check with your vendor on all aspects of pricing, including AMC, for the time you expect to use the product.

8. SMS / Email

Do not take for granted that this feature will be included in the price you pay for your school management system. Communication with students and parents is usually through mass email and/or SMS and is a necessary function of an effective school management system. Ask your vendor whether this feature is part of your package and if not, what the projected cost is. 

9. Secure online fee payment 

A well-rounded school management system would provide the option for secure digital school fee payment. Check with your vendor if there may be separate charges for fee transactions. 

10. GPS, RFID/Barcode devices

These are extra features in a school management system that can enhance safety - for example, RFID/Barcode can track shared school equipment or supplies; GPS can help with school transport management. However, these extra features will need separate hardware, installation and integration. 

11. Data backup

We all need a plan B. ‘Nuff said. 

In all seriousness, your school management system should have a data storage and backup function in case the software malfunctions. 

12. Mobile application 

If you wish for on-the-go learning or school management functions, a mobile app would be the way to go. This would make life easier for busy parents, students and teachers as well. Always make sure that the app is compatible with different types of devices (for example, Android vs Apple, tablet vs mobile phone). 

13. IT support 

Students or parents may need some technical help from time to time. Teachers and school administrators too, for that matter. Do clarify with your vendor how the customer service process works for their product and if there are any extra charges or limitations.


To sum it up

A smart school management system is designed to make your life easier. It is the nervous system for your institution around which other technologies are incorporated. It is, in fact, a master plan to regulate administrative operations in a consolidated, integrated, efficient and smooth way to increase the productivity of your school.

If you are still looking for a system that will work well for your school's operations, you can contact LittleLives to see how we can help!