The College Tuition Bubble is Bursting & Your School Can Stop It

The cost of college is rising at an unstable rate, and administrators will take the hit. StudyTree offers a unique and pragmatic solution.


Every year, we hear the same story: College tuition is increasing. Students are finding it difficult to afford college. Student debt is higher than it was last year. According to Washington Monthly, the cost of college is rising faster than the cost of medical care and almost every other product in America. These increases in tuition seem to be endless.

However, the story that does not get repeated each year is that these increases can impact college administrators in a potentially disastrous way. You might be wondering why administrators, who benefit from increased revenue, are in major trouble after tuition increases.

Here’s the answer. College tuition will eventually be so expensive that students and families will begin to look for alternatives to traditional college, like online courses (which are seeing a huge increase in enrollment) and trade schools. A sharp drop in students means that colleges will lose money and begin to implement severe cuts, starting with unnecessary members of administration and leaving thousands unemployed.

You may be thinking that colleges can simply continue to raise tuition to pay for their administrations. That’s not feasible. According to research by Bain and Company Consulting, passing the cost of tuition onto students is not sustainable because families are losing their ability and patience to bankroll education.

These increases in tuition and hiring of more and more administration are leading to a bubble, where both tuition and the size of administration are soaring way to fast. Eventually, this bubble will pop, meaning that families will not pay for tuition and administrators will lose their jobs in massive quantities.

Fueling the bubble burst is public animosity towards colleges creating a PR disaster. For colleges, public perception is critical because it draws in new students. Families know that for additional increases in college bureaucracy and administration, less money goes to faculty. In fact, the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy found that for a 5% decrease in administration, there was a 68% increase in faculty for some colleges.

It’s clear that unless colleges do something, administrators are going to lose their jobs.

What is the solution? Make the administration smarter and more efficient with StudyTree.  

In fact, with StudyTree, your college can cut tuition rates by using technology to make its administration leaner and smaller.

StudyTree has major cost reduction potential in one specific area of administration: Student Services and Tutoring. It uses technology to do many of the menial tasks like matching school-provided tutors with students, paying tutors, monitoring and checking in with tutors, and identifying students that are at risk of failing.

According to Ronald Ehrenberg, a Professor of Economics at Cornell University, colleges can “achieve efficiencies in how information technology and other support services” are used. StudyTree makes the administration more efficient and reduces the overall tuition students have to pay by cutting costs. Ehrenberg, an expert in higher education, suggests that colleges “move fully to electronic purchasing to reduce paperwork” in order to cut costs.

StudyTree frees up administrators. It has smart technology that processes tutoring requests so that administrators don’t have to. StudyTree frees up buildings. Students and tutors can meet on their own time at a mutually convenient location. Now, people and buildings can be set to accommodate the main purpose of your college: To spread knowledge and educate the future.

First it was the American manufacturing industry that was out-competed by China. Then it was the taxi industry that was overtaken by Uber and other ride-sharing apps. Now, it’s higher education’s turn to be competitive.

The bubble is bursting and your administration is on the chopping block. The only question is, are you going to save it?


By: Sohum Daftary

5 Benefits of Using an On-Demand Tutoring Platform at your Higher Ed Institution

  1.     Increased student retention and academic success rates

According to a study conducted by, an average of 30% of college students drop out before their Sophomore year in colleges and universities across the nation.  What’s more, is that only 56% of American colleges and universities students graduate within six years— as was concluded by a 2012 Harvard University study.  The top reason why such a staggering percentage undergraduate students drop out is due to the difficulty in balancing school, work, and family/social life.  This is a testament to the importance of convenient, on-demand tutoring to aid students who require the proper academic assistance.  

  1.    Help where and when it’s needed

Convenience and accessibility… These are two words that all college students love to hear.  When it comes to balancing the demands of both a hectic academic and social life, some college students find themselves falling through the cracks.  Whether it’s 2:00 P.M. on a Sunday or 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday, on-demand tutors are prepared to assist university students with a wide variety of subjects.

  1.    Fosters an engaging learning environment

As the old adage goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”; on demand tutors not only serve as a convenient academic resource, but also equip university students with the tools necessary for success on a collegiate level.  Since StudyTree works in partnership with the university, the tutors are also direct peers; tutees have the unique opportunity to positively interact with their tutors who have taken many of the same classes they are currently taking.  This educational environment helps to foster the perfect climate for tutee engagement and academic success.

  1.    Mutually improves self esteem

As famed French essayist, Joseph Joubert once said, “To teach is to learn twice”.  Too often, we see the one-sided benefits of tutoring.  However, on-demand tutoring allows both tutors and tutees to academically and emotionally flourish.  As tutors have taken or are taking the same collegiate level classes as their tutees at the same university, both parties are able to mutually benefit by either teaching and learning a wide variety of subjects.  This unique process of fostering knowledge and positive social interaction empowers both parties to feel more confident inside and outside the classroom.  

  1.    Ability to reach more students who need academic help

Let’s face it…  What do college students love more than socializing?  Academics, of course!  Well, maybe for some… but technology!  Cell phone, laptop, tablet, and now smartwatch usage is pervasive amidst all college campuses across America.  Using an on-demand, app-based tutoring solution helps tutors and tutees to connect and arrange meetings faster than ever before.  Sorry, Johnny—now there’s no excuse for procrastinating and not understanding the subject material for your 8:00 A.M. exam tomorrow.  There will always be an on-demand tutoring ready to assist you at your convenience!


By: Joe Snyder

Partnership With Blackboard!

Recently, we at StudyTree solidified our partnership with Blackboard. We are extremely excited for what this development means for us moving forward, and the institutions that we can have even further integration with. Here is some background information for those of you that enjoy the details.

What is an LMS?

Most college students have no idea what this acronym stand for but they have all in one way shape or form used an LMS. Now if you’re unfamiliar with all of this; The acronym is popular in the EdTech startup world, referring to a system that organizes information for schools. Ever heard of Blackboard? Moodle? or Canvas? Yes those are LMS and it stands for Learning Management System. It’s basically one behemoth platform that allows the institutions in education to communicate between the administrators, instructors and most importantly the students.

The Market

Now let’s get into the market of these Learning Management Systems. Don’t worry we won’t get into the boring details, let’s just summarize that Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas collectively control almost 75% of the market for institutions of higher education. The LMS market by the numbers is pretty staggering in regards to who is running the show, especially to StudyTree. For us trying to operate within higher education, it is imperative that we partner with these companies to offer the most that we can to our clients… while avoiding competition when we don’t need to.  


We all love and hate FERPA depending on which side of the educational wall you’re on. Students love this when they’re trying to hide their poor performance in class from their parents. And parents hate this when they’re trying to find out how their kids are performing and legally can’t. Well for the greater good, FERPA protects everyone from releasing any kind of information to anyone. At StudyTree, we are not trying to create an “uber for tutor” platform. We are striving to create powerful platforms for students and institutions themselves to enhance the learning environment and drive success. So the question is, how do you do this without the information on the student’s performance? and notify them when they’re at risk? Well the answer is simple, you can’t.

What Now? New Partnership

We wanted to create a system within StudyTree that would notify any “high risk” student who is underperforming in class. So how do we do this without all the FERPA restrictions to access student’s data? We needed access to their grades to get this new addition to the platform started. There were some interesting options to be FERPA compliant. We could have just applied for the certification, of course this would mean we would have to go through some rigorous and extremely time consuming process. As a startup, we were scaling, not stalling and this was the last thing that we wanted to do in regards to time sensitivity. Another way was to hire and contract a FERPA certified information technology company to handle all of our traffic. Again we didn’t want to waste our funding on a big IT contract. I mean obviously it’s not our bread and butter but we wanted to make StudyTree better with this notification feature. There was only one option left, partnerships.

Ethan had met someone from Blackboard during his invite to EDUCAUSE 2015, the biggest institution of higher education conference in the country. After reaching out to Blackboard, we got a meeting with a representative. Which later turns out, that’s all we really needed. By the time we ended our conference call with the Blackboard representative, we knew exactly how we would integrate with their LMS. This would open up an entire new door to StudyTree’s notification feature and access to all the pre-existing institutions that are using Blackboard. Partnering with Blackboard has been the biggest validation for our platform to this point.

We’re taking big steps into EdTech and into institutions of higher learning with our partnership with Blackboard. We are excited to see what we will do next with Blackboard and new partners as we move forward.

Yoshi’s Story

I’m a St. Paul, Minnesota native and attended Tartan Senior High School just outside of the city. After graduation I decided to enlisted in The United States Army. I picked up a lot of valuable habits and philosophies, but I wanted more. So, during my four year tenure in the military, I decided that I wanted to further my education at Drexel University. It was a pretty big step transitioning from the military to not just civilian life, but into academia. I was out of school for more than four, almost five years now. My memory for basic algebra severely needed a refresher. I think the biggest obstacle during this transition was the inability to keep up with my classmates. I knew I needed an outlet or some kind of solution to help my full acclimation into academia. StudyTree was actually an extremely useful tool for me to overcome these obstacles.

The GI Bill that paid for my tuition and expenses here at Drexel required me to maintain a 2.5 GPA every term. I’ll admit I came close to losing eligibility for the GI Bill with a 2.8 GPA during my Winter and Spring term. Conveniently the one term that I decided to use StudyTree’s resources, I finished with a 3.5 GPA and 3.9 the following term.

After realizing how viable the platform was to my success I thought it would be a great tool for my social fraternity. As Vice President of Tau Kappa Epsilon, I am responsible for the academic performance of my fraternity’s members. I figure StudyTree would be a great platform to design our chapter’s academic program around. We immediately saw StudyTree as a perfect fit for the fraternity’s academic program. A lot of fraternities have some halfway programs for their members who are academically under performing. I know before adopting StudyTree, our chapter’s academic program consisted of a study session at the library once, maybe twice a week for those under performing members. This was supposed to help increase their academic performance but no one had the same concentration or worked at different paces. The only thing we were really accomplishing with this method was fulfilling the required study time; completely disregarding of how the members performed. Since integrating StudyTree into our academic program, our average GPA has increased from 2.8 in 2014 to a 3.1 by the end of 2015.

It is such an easy platform for our members to get the help that they need. Our members who are performing well academically are also able to apply through the university to tutor other students as an outreach initiative to increase our chapter’s campus engagement. It’s a pretty versatile application for greek chapters to increase their campus engagement but most importantly improve their membership’s academic performance. The absolute last thing we want is to remove a member for under performing in the classroom. We as the greek community pride ourselves in our performance on campus and StudyTree is a great tool for our academic success.

Introduction to StudyTree (from a current user)

What is StudyTree?

StudyTree is a platform that creates a peer-to-peer learning community on institutional campuses.  


How does it work?

Students use their smartphones to make requests and university tutors are notified instantly. They can instant-message, meet up and start the study session.  From StudyTree’s website,  administrators can manage their tutors and view all the data analytics on the tutoring sessions.


What can it do for my school?

StudyTree can handle the entire process of managing your tutors as well as creating a dynamic system helping your students get as much tutoring help as possible using their mobile devices. With the review system, you can see which tutors are doing outstanding work and address those not doing the best work for your students.


What has it been doing at other schools?

At Drexel, it has helped the LeBow Business school streamline the process of tutoring. Even now, sessions are being created everyday for Math, Econ, Business, and various other majors.


Who are they talking to right now?

StudyTree is currently talking to Temple University, Messiah College, DeSales University, and Montgomery Community College.