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Robyn Scott
Noodle Expert Member

August 09, 2021

Key issues and themes:

Range of tutoring fees (mostly focused on average, but including outliers too)

Factors that affect how much tutors can charge (geography, specialization, years of experience, reputation, affiliation with a company, and so on)

How to assess tutoring value (demonstrated past success, education and experience, growth in child's learning, relationship between student and tutor, and so on)

How to determine and weigh the importance of the difference between an expensive (say, $100/hour) and a really expensive (say, $500/hour) tutor

In your experience, is it advisable for parents to stretch their budgets to hire the most expensive tutor they possibly can? Is there a tipping point past which there are diminishing returns between the cost of the tutor and the benefits to the child? Is there a broad middle ground of hourly rates where families can find effective tutors?

Working title: The ROI of a Tutor: How Much is Too Much to Pay?

Tutoring fees range greatly, leaving many parents in the dark as to what is reasonable to pay for their child's supplemental education. There are many factors for parents to consider. Some tutors are paid as little as $18 per hour while others command as much as $500. 1 – Level of service Is the tutor providing basic or full service tutoring? Basic tutoring is often less expensive because the student is generally self-driven and only needs help with a certain concept. In this case, the student will be responsible for leading the sessions and the tutor is there simply as a guide. Full service tutoring can include an amalgam of services depending on the subject matter and generally includes college prep or specialized services.

2 – Convenience fees As the parent, are you willing to drive to the tutor or would you like the tutor to come to you? Parents who want a concierge tutor should expect to pay significantly more. Tutors are not paid for drive time and will charge more per hour.

3 – The tutor's education Some tutors are current college students who don’t yet have the work experience or education to command a large fee. They may be helpful in providing peer tutoring but are not yet trained in educational theory. Others will have bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, PhDs, or teaching credentials. The fee will generally equate to the tutor’s background.

4 - Results

Tutors whose students have improved 350+ points on the SAT, for example, will certainly charge more for their services. College prep is a make-it-or-break-it situation for many teens. However, point increases are generally on the honor system because a tutor is required to, and should, maintain client confidentiality. They can quote an average but will never provide specific names for reference. Of course, parents can ask another parent for a direct referral, in which case it's entirely up to the parent and child if they want to disclose their own score increase.

5- Tutor happiness For the most part, you get what you pay for. Tutors who make a comfortable wage generally don’t need to take on an excessive amount of clients, which means they're more rested and focused on the student. However, a tutor just scraping by will have to take on as many students as possible to supplement their income. 6-Rapport The most important thing to think about is not money at all but rather the relationship between tutor and child. Students need tutors for any number of reasons. They may be in a remedial situation where they need extra help, they may be disinterested in school and need motivation, they may already be an A student who wants to apply to an Ivy League college, or they may wish to receive extracurricular supplementation such as art or music. At the end of the day, it's about the rapport between student and tutor. It’s essential for children and teens to view their tutor as a positive adult role model. If a child or teen respects the time and instruction they are given, they’re much more likely to do the work. On the other hand, students who dread the thought of their tutoring session will probably do no better than if they were working on their own. Good rapport is worth a lot of money. 7- Student motivation The effective return on investment also falls on the motivation of the student. Some students, who can only afford one hour every other week but were determined to go to college under any circumstances, can make it work. On the other hand, some students simply don't want the situation to work, thus no amount of money will help. It’s important for parents to talk with their children openly about their combined goals prior to hiring a tutor. 8- The lowdown on money

Educational theory aside, there is a range in which parents can get a high quality tutor. A good range is between $65 and $100 per hour (depending on location and level of service). In this range, tutors can keep their student roster low enough to provide personalized educational support to their students. If a parent has $500 an hour to spend, great, but they can probably get a fabulous tutor for less than half that. Bottom line At the end of the day, it’s about what the parent wants. Do they want a basic subject tutor to help their child with certain skills for an hour here and there or do they want a tutor who will also act as a mentor, role-model, and supplemental educator who can provide real-life results? The number one most important thing is to make sure the child has a rapport with their tutor. A great tutor is necessary; a line of trust and communication is invaluable.