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Does your child struggle with math, reading or another subject in school? While hiring a tutor can help, if you’ve looked into this option you know that it can come with a serious price tag. So what are your options for affordable tutoring? Check out this breakdown of what you can expect to pay - and some ways to get your child the help they need for free.

Start at School

Teachers will often reach out to parents directly when they see a child struggling academically. Now’s a perfect time to ask them about available resources, since teachers or school counselors may be able to offer cost-effective solutions for children who need help in particular subjects. Some teachers offer tutoring on the side for a small fee, and some even do it for free. Starting in middle school, teachers try to give kids a little more autonomy, offering extra study sessions before or after school.

Since your child may not be excited about the idea of trading their free time for extra schoolwork, they might not be forthcoming about these options - so be sure to go the source.

Check Out Your Library

Local libraries aren’t just for checking out books. For kids struggling with reading, some libraries offer free “reading to dogs” programs, where children read to a certified therapy dog at short weekly sessions. A University of California, Davis study found that children who participated in these programs improved their reading fluency by 12 to 30 percent. According to researchers, dogs help children to relax because they’re a nonjudgmental audience.

Libraries often allow tutors to post flyers advertising their services and rates. And many tutors offer to hold their sessions right at the library, though be aware that some will charge a nominal hourly fee for this. If so, you’ll have to factor that cost into your tutoring budget.

Reach Out to High Schools and Colleges

High school and college students make great babysitters. They also make great tutors - and if you need an evening out, you might even be able to combine the two. And yes, high school students do have what it takes to tutor: The National Tutoring Association published a lengthy list of the benefits of peer tutoring. The NTA also offers a searchable database of certified tutors nationwide.

You can also look into nearby colleges and universities with education majors and ask them to post a notice on their student job boards. You may be able to negotiate a lower hourly rate if the student also gets college credit for the experience. Some colleges and universities participate in WordCats and MathCats, where undergraduates in federal work-study programs serve as tutors in participating K-12 schools (and also on an individual basis, at no cost to you).

Go Online

Some children learn better independently. Khan Academy, a free online tutorial program, makes mastering a subject fun by “gamifying” it with incentives like stickers and badges. The nonprofit provides digital learning tools for a variety of subjects, including math, science, computer programming, history and economics - plus test prep - for early childhood through college and beyond., a one-on-one online fee-based program costs from $39.99 to $114.99 per month, depending on the number of tutoring hours.

What Can You Expect to Pay?

Aside from these more cost-effective strategies, tutoring can still be affordable if you budget wisely. According to Angie’s List, most corporate tutoring centers charge from $45 to $60 an hour, including materials and assessment fees. The plus side is that most offer money-back guarantees if your child fails to improve. Private tutors charge from as low as $35/hour to as high as $85/hour, depending on expertise.

Getting over academic hurdles is crucial for your child’s future - don’t let the cost of tutoring hold them back.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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