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9 ways to save money on tutoring

Does your child struggle in math or reading or need SAT test-prep help? For some families, a tutor can provide a child with one-on-one assistance and help them master new concepts learned in class. Of course, while parents want to do whatever they can to help their child, hiring a tutor can be a financial burden. So what money-saving options are available?

Dr. Sandi Ayaz, executive director of the National Tutoring Association, and Lorie Ermak, director of tutoring at Northwood University and president of the Michigan Tutorial Association, offer tips for finding tutoring discounts and even free programs for tutoring.

1. Look into group discounts

If your child needs help preparing for the SATs, ask their friends’ parents about hiring a tutor for a group session. Many companies offer discounts if a group signs up for a tutoring session. However, consider capping the group at three students.

“If you’re paying for a tutor for a group session and the group is too big, it’s a waste of money and time,” Ayaz says. “While group tutoring sessions can be a good idea, what are the chances all students in the group will have the same needs?” Ayaz also says this option is often more effective for high school students.

2. Consider financial aid

Some of the larger tutoring companies in the U.S. offer a variety of payment plans to help make tutoring affordable for families. Many also offer a student loan program, as well as coupons for new families.

3. Request a discount

If you and your child like a tutor and are seeing results, offer to hire the tutor for multiple sessions or on a longer term basis — and request a discount, too. This request is a win-win for the tutor and your family; the tutor is guaranteed sessions (and more money) while the family can save through discounts. After all, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate the final price.

4. Take advantage of an odd schedule

If your child has a flexible schedule, such as a high school student with early dismissal, ask the tutoring program if they can offer a discount for sessions scheduled outside their peak times, which tend to be after school, evenings or weekends.

5. Stay after school

For after-school assistance with homework, your child’s school might have a network of teachers or volunteers who can provide help by offering assistance with a new concept in math or science. These programs tend to be free of charge. Contact your child’s school to see if this assistance is available.

“You might have to press the school for information on these resources,” Ayaz says, “so parents may have to be their child’s advocate.”

6. Check out the library

Your local library offers more than just books. Chances are, it can also provide you and your child with subscriptions to online tutoring services and sites that can assist with specific school subjects. Many libraries also offer in-person tutoring services free of charge, as well as workshops on skills such as test-taking. In addition, libraries can help you find free or discounted tutoring services in your area.

7. Hire a student

For some parents, hiring a high school or college student might make financial sense, as they typically charge less than more established tutors.

“With a college student, you can also get specific,” Ermak says. “If your child is struggling with math, for instance, you can request a math major.”

Keep in mind, you should request a student trained to be a tutor. According to Ermak, a student with tutoring experience knows how to take a complex concept and break it down into smaller pieces to teach the student.

To find a high school tutor, call or email the faculty members in charge of your local high school’s National Honor Society. If you’re near a college or university, Ermak suggests contacting the school’s learning center.

8. Hire an independent tutor

Finding a tutor who is not affiliated with a large tutoring service can sometimes provide cost savings for parents. Independent tutors tend to have more discretion when setting prices and might offer a discount in some circumstances, especially if a family offers to hire the tutor for multiple sessions. An independent tutor is also more likely to tutor your child in your own home or even online, saving you the time, stress and gas money of driving to an offsite location for the session.

9. Go outside the box

Think you can’t find free or discounted tutoring services in your area? Think again. Contact your local chapter of United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the YMCA, Kiwanis International or nearby religious organizations and houses of worship. Many of these organizations offer tutoring services or can point you in the direction of further assistance.

With all of these resources available, you don’t have to break the bank to find affordable academic help for your children.