Tutoring has become a very lucrative business in the past few decades. This has been the result of increased demands on admissions requirements for universities, decreased quality of mathematics teaching at schools (in certain areas), and many other related factors. Unfortunately, such expensive opportunities leave many families behind in the race to offer top quality educational experiences to their children. How does one then find an inexpensive tutor these days? In this article, we briefly discuss some cheap alternatives to the high-end institutions.
Contact local college students: If you live near a college or university, you might want to consider asking for college or graduate students who are willing to tutor. There are many benefits to this option over the high-end tutoring institutions. College students typically charge on the order of $20-$30/hr which is a great deal. In many cases, students list particular courses they are willing to tutor, which provides more detailed information. Moreover, students are typically required to release information like GPA. This gives you a good sense of whether they have a mastery of the related material.
Investigate online sources. There are many websites that offer tutoring for free, or at least go over basic concepts in various subject areas so that students can follow along and get a perspective outside the one they get in the classroom. A great example of this is the Khan Academy*, a database of thousands of videos on all sorts of subjects covering high school courses through APs.
Ask friends of friends. People who know you, or are close to people you know, are more likely to cut you some slack. One of the greatest ways to find reduced tutoring is to ask friends for cheap tutors they know. When I was a college student, I tutored for a pretty low rate, and many of the referrals were from friends of friends. Networking is key.
Speak to a department head in your kid's school. Many high school departments keep lists of tutors who have contacted them for recruiting employment. Make an appointment with the department head in your particular subject area of interest, and get a list of the contacts with their pay rates. Such tutors typically do not charge much.
Tutor in groups. If your child needs tutoring in a subject area, it's likely he/she is not alone. Consider finding a tutor who would be willing to tutor a few students at once. This still provides students with personal attention, but drastically cuts the cost of tutoring. I tutored in groups and it was a great incentive for both the students and for me.
I urge you to try a combination of these cheap tutoring strategies, and hope your kids will succeed without stretching your budget too thin.