June 23, 2015 09:00 ET

New Research Links Online Support With Increased Course Completion and Better Retention for Community College Students

Study Points to Role of Online Tutoring in Improving Student Persistence as National Focus Turns to Community College Completion Rates

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 23, 2015) -, the world's largest online tutoring company, today announced the results of a study conducted by Scott E. Bodfish of research and consulting firm, Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Conducted over a two-year period across four community colleges, the study found that access to online tutoring had a significant impact on retention rates, and student performance within selected courses. Over 1,600 students enrolled in college algebra, introductory statistics and introductory English composition courses participated in the research.

College completion has gained nationwide prominence in recent months, with an intense focus from the White House and lawmakers, as community college completion rates hover at just 20%. According to the study, the use of online tutoring had a significant impact on student persistence, cutting in half the percentage of students who failed to return in the subsequent semester. The study also found that that's effect on retention persisted beyond just one semester. After one year 61% of students who used sessions returned, while only 51% of those students who did not use sessions returned.

"Like many community colleges, we serve a diverse population of students that benefits from the flexibility of on-demand, online tutoring. We've seen our students succeed thanks to personalized support that fits their schedules and needs," said Ted A. Lewis, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State Community College, who participated in the study. "In addition to serving our students, the analytics generated by sessions have helped the college identify where our students need the most help, and how we can best allocate new resources to meet our mission."

According to Ruffalo Noel Levitz, students who used sessions were also significantly more likely to be successful in their coursework. 84% of students who used the online tutoring succeeded in their course, compared to 68% of students who didn't use online tutoring. Those who did not take online tutoring were twice as likely to earn a grade of D or lower.

"This research validates much of what we hear from faculty and institutional leaders across the country," said Sandi White, General Manager of Institutional Programs for "Today, colleges are not only looking to online tutoring as a student support, but also as a tool to gather frontline insights into student challenges -- a critical component of their big data and predictive analytics strategy."

A full copy of the study can be found at:

ABOUT TUTOR.COM is the largest online tutoring company with a community of more than 3,000 expert tutors and more than 12 million one-to-one tutoring sessions completed. Professional tutors are available 24/7 in 40 subjects, including AP courses. Ninety six percent of students who use get better grades, feel more confident and complete their coursework and assignments on time., an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI) powers tutoring and homework help programs for the Department of Defense, thousands of public libraries, school districts, colleges and universities and the states of Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

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