Student Tutoring Prices Increase

Rate hike is part of an effort to curb the Bureau of Study Counsel budget

The Bureau of Study Counsel will raise hourly tutoring rates starting today from the $4 fee students had to pay last year in an effort to cut costs as the College grapples with a mandate to slash budgets.

The fee for a student’s first 10 hours of tutoring in a particular course will rise to $7, and for hours after that, students will have to pay an unsubsidized rate of $14—a $10 hike from the hourly rate before.

Last year, more than 75 percent of requests resulted in 10 or fewer hours of tutoring, according to Director of Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling Paul J. Barreira.

The increase in rates was part of the College’s cost-cutting efforts in response to the budget crisis, but Barreira said they had been examining the rates for the last three years.

The charge for students to get tutoring has remained unchanged since 1998, whereas salaries for student tutors last increased in February 2008, according to Barreira.

“The starting point was that the peer tutoring program is very effective and utilized by a lot of students,” Barreira said. “We didn’t want to see it compromised.”

The Financial Aid Office will still assist eligible students with the tutoring cost, both at the $7 rate for the first 10 hours and at the $14 rate thereafter.

The BSC does not expect the number of tutoring requests to decrease, in part due to the reimbursements from the Financial Aid Office.

BSC Director Abigail Lipson referred requests for comment to Barreira.

Peer tutors Diane J. Choi ’10 and Alexander E. H. McNaughton ’11 said the price increase was unfortunate because it would dissuade students from seeking assistance.

“I always thought it was wonderful that Harvard subsidized the service so much,” Choi said. “It decreased the stigma of having to get tutoring, because I think it’s difficult for a lot of Harvard students to admit that they need help, especially from their peers.”

At the end of fall semester, Barreira plans on comparing this year’s numbers to last year’s to see if the increase in cost has affected the number of students who request tutoring.

Last year, 965 students were tutored through the BSC, according to Barreira.

“If we thought that we had created a barrier to accessing peer tutoring, we would obviously talk about it at the College,” Barreira said.

—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at


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