High School Students are Spending Thousands of Dollars on Private Tutors

It is not uncommon for high school students to need a tutor to help them get through their most difficult subjects. Some parents hire tutors to help their students prepare for the SAT, while other parents hire a tutor to help their students throughout the entire semester. According to The New York Times, private tutors have been standard practice at many NYC private schools for a generation. Although this trend is certainly not new, there is something unusual about it: the cost of hiring a private tutor.
“There’s no family that gets through private school without an SAT tutor,” said Sandy Bass, the founder of the newsletter Private School Insider. “increasingly, it’s impossible to get through private school without at least one subject tutor.

Siddharth Iyer is a private tutor who works for Ivy Consulting Group. He has been working with one student all semester. The student and his mother asked to remain anonymous because the school they attend – Riverdale Country School – discourages tutoring. However, the mother did say that she had paid Iyer and his company between $750 and $1,500 each week for 100-minute long study sessions. This means that for the entire year, she had spent $35,000 on tutoring for her high school student; this is as much, if not more, than many public universities charge for a year of in-state tuition. However, in order to get into these universities, parents and students are beginning to feel more pressure than ever to succeed in high school.
“B used to mean good,” said the author of “The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools and Selective Public Schools,” Victoria Goldman. “[But now,] everyone’s forgotten that.”
So what do students who cannot afford these very expensive private tutors do in order to remain competitive with their classmates? Luckily, many of the large tutoring programs offer free tutoring for students who come from low-income families. Advantage Testing, one of the top tutoring companies in NYC, says that pro bono tutoring accounts for approximately 26 percent of their work each year.
What are the schools saying about these private tutors? Many of them, including Riverdale Country School, do not encourage students to use private tutors. Instead, they encourage students to work with their teachers. This would make the playing field more even for families of different socio-economic levels and seems like a good idea. Sadly, many of the teachers only offer private tutoring sessions. Like Bass said, the trend for years in NYC has been to hire a private tutor and I doubt this trend will change anytime soon.