When lectures, recitations, study groups and office hours aren’t quite enough to help students get their grades up to par, an alternative option is to seek one-on-one assistance from a classmate through the University Tutoring Program. A large number of students exercise this option each semester, and for many of them, getting a different perspective on the material from a peer who was successful in the class can make a world of difference.
Potential tutors must meet several academic standards to prove that they will be qualified and capable tutors, but in order to truly be effective as a tutor, past success alone isn’t enough. On the contrary, in almost all cases tutors have to work through the course material at the same pace as their tutees, which can translate to going through homework problems, taking practice tests and even meeting with the professors if need be. Since tutors generally only have one hour with their tutees each session, they can’t afford to review the material on the spot — they have to be prepared beforehand if the tutee is to receive the best returns on his or her time and money.
In light of all this outside work tutors must complete, the $7.50 an hour they are paid simply comes up short. Yes, plenty of student jobs on campus do pay a wage similar to this, but very few of those jobs require students to continue working after they’ve punched out for the day — this is a critical difference, and the tutors’ pay should reflect it.
Of course, it would be impractical to pay tutors an hourly wage for their efforts outside of their meetings with students. This would mean that the tutors themselves would have to report — and be paid for -— additional time they spend on the material, and there would be no way to verify the tutors’ claims. Instead, a better solution would be to simply bump up the tutors’ hourly pay. True, not every tutor commits him or herself to additional work on the material to the same degree as the next, and in reality it’s not as necessary in some subjects as in others, but the fact remains: Virtually all effective tutors are doing some amount of work beyond their hourly meetings, and they’re currently not being compensated for it.
And if throwing the tutors a bone proves too much of an expense, perhaps the program should consider hiring outside tutors to do the job — qualified ones generally run somewhere between $15 and $30 an hour.