Despite the hard work of teachers, moving K-12 classes online proved to be a challenge for many of those involved. For some students, the pandemic has hindered their academic performance as they coped with stress, social isolation, and new learning environment. 

When surveying more than 2,000 American parents, half of them believe at least one of their children is somewhat behind in their academics.

To make up for any lost ground, parents might be taking the upcoming summer break as a chance to hire a tutor. However, when asked, the majority of parents with school-aged children do not plan on hiring a tutor. 

The figure below compares parents’ opinions of their child’s performance to their likelihood to hire a tutor. Parents who feel their child is behind have a slightly greater inclination to hire a tutor. 

Yet, a vast majority of parents who, despite believing their child is behind in their academics, do not plan on hiring a tutor this summer. One aspect to keep in mind is income. According to Tutors.com, the average private tutor costs anywhere between $25 to $80 per hour. These rates increase for subjects such as the SAT and other standardized test preparation. Parents who have tighter budgets are more likely to see tutoring as a luxury expense.

The following figures factor income into the equation. Parents making $50K or less in a year are the most likely to say they have one or more children who are academically behind.  

Yet, the highest earning parents in America are the ones who are most likely to have their children enrolled in enrichment programs or set up with a summer tutor.

But the variance related to income does not encapsulate the entire story. A vast majority of parents do not plan on hiring a tutor, even if they feel their child is behind and they have the means to supplement his or her education. 

Tutoring is typically reserved for students who need additional help in a subject to keep them from falling too behind. Academic enrichment programs, on the other hand, are usually advanced teachings provided at a higher level than what the classroom offers. Even for students who are behind on a subject, academic enrichment programs offer a self-paced alternative to the classroom that matches their level of knowledge. 

According to those surveyed, the majority of parents do not plan on enrolling their children into an academic enrichment program. However, enrichment programs seem more popular than tutoring.

Parents who feel that their child is behind are almost twice as likely to enroll their child into an academic enrichment program than parents who feel their child is meeting their academic expectations.

Like with tutoring, even for parents who believe their children are underperforming, the majority do not plan on enrolling their children. When looking at income, parents willing to use the programs have slightly higher income than those who are uninterested.¬†While summer enrichment programs are a lower price-per-hour than tutoring, it’s still fairly out of reach for families who are maneuvering around the obstacles that arose from online learning.

Some parents may rely on the return to in-person learning as a corrective influence. Once students are back in the school environment, the regular motions of the classroom could help to mend any gaps developed from learning online. While there are alternatives to tutoring and enrichment programs, the data show many parents cannot afford extra academic help and face a significant cost barrier.