At the University of Florida, a Facebook application lets students be choosy when looking for tutors.
The application, Tutor Matching Service, lets students search for tutors by subject, class, or tutor name. They can see ratings and comments on tutors, when tutors are available, and how much they charge. Tutors can also post pictures and videos of themselves.
A little more than a year ago, the student-government president at the time created the application with Group Interactive Networks, a technology company, to supplement the university’s on-campus tutoring center. Though the center offers free tutoring to students, it has limited hours, does not have tutors for every class, and offers no information on the quality of tutors.
More than 120 students have registered as tutors on the application, and when class is in session, 50 to 100 hours of tutoring are arranged through it each week. While all the tutors attend the University of Florida, customers include students from the university, a nearby community college, and local high schools.
Tutors set their own rates, from anywhere between $0 and $50 per hour.
“That $0 is really important because students can volunteer if they like” or tutor for free to “get their feet wet,” said Rajiv Asnani, a rising senior at the university and a developer and director of Tutor Matching Service.
Tutees pre-pay online with credit cards, and Tutor Matching Service takes 5 percent of charges and mails checks to the tutors. Parents may also purchase credit for a student to use throughout the semester.
Only the University of Florida offers the application, but it is open for business to anyone. Mr. Asnani said that the University of Central Florida would offer the service soon, and several other large universities have expressed serious interest. A college must pay an annual fee of $250 for the application. Mr. Asnani said that while the University of Florida allowed any student to register as a tutor, colleges would have the option to screen tutors if they like.
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