UT offers alternatives to expensive online tutoring

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The Sanger Learning Center offers free drop-in tutoring for students who need help in classes such as calculus and physics.
Photo Credit: Elise Cardenas | Daily Texan Staff

While online tutoring options such as Chegg and Studypool have increased in recent years, sometimes charging students up to $500 a semester, UT has several resources available on campus to assist students struggling with their classes at little to no cost.

Tutoring sites such as Tutor.com or Smarthinking charge around $45 for a one-hour online session. One hour per week could add up to about $180 in a month.

Michelle Jewell, director of the Sanger Learning Center, said the center’s drop-in tutoring is free to all students and allows tutors to teach small groups in challenging courses such as chemistry, physics and calculus.

Ana Mancera, Sanger Learning Center office assistant, said the Center also provides one-on-one tutoring for other courses. The first five sessions are free to all students, and the first 10 sessions are free to financial aid recipients. Once the five or 10 sessions are completed, the rate per session goes up to $14 an hour.

“If a student has unfortunate financial circumstances and cannot afford our tutoring, then our office can work with those students to figure something out,” Mancera said. “Students come back all the time because the tutoring boosted their academic performance, and our rates are more affordable than our competitors.’”

Biology sophomore Amy Hill said she paid for several online tutoring sessions through Eduboard but found the cost prohibitive.

“It was around $20 for a 30 minute session, [which was] too expensive for me to keep up with,” Hill said. 

Jewell said the Sanger Learning Center does not provide online tutoring because students have said they would rather have an in-person tutor but plans to offer free study workshops next semester to help students in online courses.

“We have asked [students] if they would be interested in online tutoring, but the preference among them always happens to be in-person,” Jewell said. 

Several departments at UT also offer specialized tutoring for students in certain majors. Economics senior Saif Moolla, president of the Texas Economics Association, said the economics department sponsors his organization, which allows them to provide free tutoring to all its active members who are majoring in economics.

“The volunteers from the Texas Economics Association tutor their members in all mandatory courses that a student pursuing economics must pass and hopefully excel,” Moolla said. “Our volunteers are more than happy to tutor for free because their involvement raises their chances of filling leadership positions.”