NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tutoring Becomes Big Business

January 29, 1999

Parents who are dissatisfied with public schools or who want their children to have an edge on their SATs are hiring tutors -- and the trend is prompting a surge in the tutoring business.

  • Private tutoring costs begin at about $25 an hour and local colleges or universities often maintain lists of students who are available for hire.
  • Franchised learning centers charge between $35 and $58 per hour and offer diagnostic assessments which are not available through student tutors.
  • Students with learning problems often need the services of educational therapists -- whose rates generally run from $50 to $90 an hour.

Some learning centers have begun contracting with public schools to work with students who aren't able to afford their services, education specialists report. While there is interest in bringing these services into the schools, there hasn't yet been an endorsement from educators that might indicate a large-scale future arrangement.

As more school teachers turn to moonlight tutoring, the possibility of a conflict of interest arises. A school teacher might prescribe special help for a student and then offer his services. Also, there is the danger that a teacher could go easy in the classroom on a student he was tutoring.

Source: Karen Thomas, "Tutoring's 'Extra Edge,'" USA Today, January 27, 1999.


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