Academic tutoring: $150/hour upwards

Source: NYTimes, Jun 2011

She said she had paid Mr. Iyer’s company $750 to $1,500 each week this school year for 100-minute sessions on Liberal Studies, a total of about $35,000 — just shy of Riverdale’s $38,800 tuition.

Last year, she said, her tutoring bills hit six figures, including year-round SAT preparation from Advantage Testing at $425 per 50 minutes; Spanish and math help from current and former private school teachers at $150 an hour; and sessions with Mr. Iyer for Riverdale’s equally notorious interdisciplinary course Constructing America, at $375 per 50 minutes.

“More and more you have ambitious and intellectually curious students signing up for difficult classes,” said Mr. Alagappan, whose 200 tutors bill $195 to $795 for 50 minutes (though he said pro bono tutoring accounted for 26 percent of the work). “It’s no longer O.K. to have one-on-one coaching for sailing but not academics.”

As more solid or even stellar students hire expensive tutors, the achievement bar rises, and getting ahead quickly becomes keeping up.

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