By Nalini Lasiewicz, BOL, Crossroads of Learning
The 2012 Tutor Pay survey conducted by Crossroads of Learning gathered information from college and university learning support centers in all fifty states. Among other results, state and federal minimum wage appear to be the primary driver for peer tutor compensation.
In September 2012, a listserv discussion between Southern California Writing Center (IWCA) members focused on tutor compensation. Intrigued with the relative consistency of the replies, the Crossroads staff went to work to expand that snapshot to include institutions of higher learning across the country, public and private. We set up a survey and invited our Journal Digest readers, clients, students and colleagues to participate. In addition, the survey link was shared with members of a diverse cross-section of tutorial center managers, academic specialists and trade associations.
When the poll closed, over 360 surveys had been received, representing all 50 states and Washington D.C.. No surveys were received from U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas Islands and the Virgin Islands, an issue the research team would like to explore in the future.
The Tutor Pay Survey included basic demographic information about the respondents’ institution type, location and size. We also asked for the average number of tutors and the starting pay for both peer tutors, defined as undergraduates, and professional tutors, defined as graduate students, outside professional tutors, staff and faculty. Additionally, respondents provided information on additional compensation formulas, including tiered structures that offered pay increases based on time worked, training received, certification, etc. Nearly half the centers reported giving no raises to their peer tutors.
For a free two-page summary tear sheet, with additional data and charts, click here.
Figure 1. Average number of peer tutors per respondent
Our consulting analyst, Anthony Garrison, MBA Candidate at Simon Business School, was instrumental in verifying the data and providing the statistical analysis. He concluded the average starting salary for college level peer tutors across the country is within a close range, less than a $1.00 difference between the geographical regions. In addition, we compared peer tutor starting wages with federal and state minimum wages and found a close correlation. To see a map of the U.S. States with these correlations, click here.
Figure 2. Starting Pay: Peer Tutors
Figure 3. Starting Pay for Peer Tutors compared to minimum wage
In 2012 we learned through discussions with clients and at conferences that the demand for tutoring services on campus has increased, many reporting that the Fall semester was their busiest ever. At the same time, education funding in many states has been scaled back; cutbacks in staffing and student support services are a serious challenge for what research shows are highly effective factors in increasing student success. In this poll we did not delve into funding and budgeting issues but these are areas we plan to explore in the future.
In the next phase of this project, we will move beyond the basic question of “how much?” to examining factors, such as minimum wage, which have traditionally driven tutor compensation policies. We hope to conduct research on the impact that compensation has on tutor recruitment, training, supervision and retention.
The complete data set of this poll is available to educators, college administrators and policy makers, at no cost. To request, contact Nalini Lasiewicz, Registrar/Crossroads of Learning: 818 249-9692 xt 2, or email: email@example.com