St. Louis (KSDK) -- The school year is back in full swing, and whether your child is preparing for the SAT or just needs a hand with math or science, a tutoring service can be a valuable tool.
The Better Business Bureau has some tips for finding the right service for your child's needs and making sure you get the most out of your money.
Nationally, BBB received close to 300 complaints against tutoring services in the last 12 months. Most allege parents were dissatisfied with the services offered. They felt their children did not improve with the tutoring program. Other consumers alleged tutoring services continued to bill them after they ended the program.
There are many different types of tutoring services available:
- A private tutor can offer the most tailored approach for helping your child learn. However, this option is usually the most expensive, costing anywhere from $30 to $70 an hour.
- A commercial learning center can provide a customized learning environment for your child. This service typically costs around $150 per week, which can be paid weekly or monthly.
- Online tutoring services typically cost anywhere from $35 to $130 monthly.
Also remember that qualifying families with limited income can receive free tutoring sessions.
If you're looking for a tutor, BBB recommends you follow these simple steps:
- Do your research. For information on tutoring services or commercial learning centers, view the company's complaint history, rating and more on its BBB Business Review.
- Get referrals. Ask for referrals from your child's teacher. Other parents and friends can be a great resource as well.
- Look for credentials. Check the tutor's credentials and make sure he or she is qualified in the right subject area for your child's needs.
- Schedule a meeting. Meet with the tutor and discuss measurable, specific goals. While a tutoring program can't necessarily guarantee higher test scores, a tutor can help identify problem areas and address any specific subjects where your child needs help.
- Play a role. If you use a personal tutor, feel free to occasionally sit in on a session and observe how the tutor and your child are working together. Ask the tutor for advice on what you can do as a parent to help your child learn more effectively.
- Read the terms and conditions. While you might not have to sign a contract, be sure you understand details about your payment plan. Make sure you understand whether your credit card will be automatically charged each week/month, and what happens if you decide to stop going. Also, be sure to ask and understand what happens if your child is unhappy or you're not seeing the results you expected. Do you receive a refund/credit? Get everything in writing.
- Check with U.S. Department of Education. Some families may qualify for low cost or free tutoring.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit the BBB WEBSITE or call 314-645-3300.