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Hours cut back at Academic Achievement Center

By Ashley Smith and Gerron Green
Staff Writer and Editor

ABAC students in need of tutoring may find the Academic Achievement Center (AAC) to be shorthanded and open fewer hours in the coming months because of efforts to reduce marginal spending by the program.
According to Kim Talley, supervisor of the AAC, she has been forced to cut several hours out of each tutor’s work schedule due to budget constraints; students who were previously working the maximum of 15 hours per week are now working only seven to 10 hours.
At least a portion of that is due to limits on federal work-study expenditures. According to the financial aid department, students on work-study are now limited to $1,000 per semester. Those who work 15 hours each week run out of funds before the end of the term. At least three other departments faced the same problem in recent weeks, including The Stallion.
Although some tutors were pleased that the loss of hours would give them time for other activities, others were furious.
“That’s my only job,” said Kristen Conway, a math tutor in the AAC. “I was working 14 hours and now I’m down to nine. That’s almost half of my paycheck.”
Although the supervisor is going to great lengths to keep at least one tutor in each department at all times, it isn’t enough; many students have reported going to the AAC for help, only to leave when they had to wait for 30 minutes or more to see a tutor.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Ryan McDonald, a sophomore at ABAC. “I went in for some help with my homework and had to wait almost an hour becausethere weren’t enough tutors. There used to be four or five at a time, but now there’s only one.”
Lead academic support counselor Nicholas Urquhart said he would like students to know there are more to the recent changes than budget cuts. Based on analysis of AAC use, he discovered that fewer and fewer students come to the tutoring center in the early morning, and from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“I noticed the peak times were from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.,” Urquhart wrote in an email to The Stallion. “In addition, the center was only visited by 125 students during the eight month period at the 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. time slot, which is only 0.89 students each day the center was open.”
Based on this data, Urquhart decided that the ACC could more efficiently schedule its workers. The number of tutors is being decreased for early morning and evening hours, while the amount of tutors during mid-day will increase.
Starting in the fall of 2013, walk-in tutoring for math and composition will only be provided from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m, though special appointments for tutoring will be available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. That means the AAC would close at 8:00 p.m. rather than 9:00 p.m.
Academic Support is also looking into online tutoring, which would be offered at all times. It is also considering off-site tutoring on Sunday afternoons at locations such as the residence halls.