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US tutoring market driven by the No Child Left Behind Act

Industry Sector

Business Services


23 January 2013


Mike King

Type of News


The United States tutoring market drew national attention with the 2001 passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The legislation implemented a government-subsidised program to tutor students who attend schools that failed to make adequate progress under the NCLB accountability requirements.

As such, the tutoring market grew rapidly as companies scrambled to make their states' lists of approved education providers and capitalise on these government funds. With the influx of new enterprises entering the market, however, competition has mounted in recent years, limiting revenue and profit growth.

Consequently, revenue within the US tutoring market decreased at an average annual rate of 0.4% to $9 billion over the five years to 2012.

Whether they're seeking remedial help for their child or a leg up to the Ivy League, millions of parents are encountering a frustrating new homework project of their own: learning the intricacies of the tutoring-industrial complex. The "supplemental education" sector is now an estimated $5 billion business, 10 times as large as it was in 2001.

Tutoring firms no longer offer just subject-specific help in, say, Latin or chemistry; increasingly, they're marketing a dizzying menu of test prep, study skills, enrichment tutorials, scholastic summer camps and prekindergarten readiness programs.US tutoring

Students looking for late-night homework assistance now have the formerly unthinkable option of typing in Mom or Dad's credit card number and connecting -- in real time -- to an anonymous tutor halfway around the world via text, Skype and online "whiteboards."

The US tutoring industry is increasingly centralised (website WyzAnt boasts a stable of more than 38,000 tutors) and corporate (the top three firms alone collectively have nearly 2,500 franchised centers around the country). It's also ever more expensive: In certain elite circles, tutors charge as much as attorneys.

During the next five years, industry performance will be dictated by potential changes in NCLB funding. The NCLB has received widespread criticism since its passage, with some people calling for more regulation of funding disbursement.

Because of potentially lower NCLB funding and the diminished importance of standardised tests, the industry is projected to experience relatively weak growth. Through 2017, revenue is forecast to increase at an average rate of 1.4% annually to $9.7 billion.

For more information on the US tutoring market, see the latest research: US Tutoring Market

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