New Hampshire is offering all families access to tutoring grants, but few are taking advantage of this academic boosting opportunity.
New Hampshire tutoring scholarships are available for the state’s 185,000 students, but few are opting in on the free assistance program. To date, only 724 students have received the $1,000 Yes Every Student (YES!) grant. The plan is funded by $2.3 million New Hampshire received from the federal government’s Emergency Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).
The New Hampshire tutoring grants are intended to help the state’s students recover from the negative impact COVID had on learning. Children in public schools felt the harshest impact of pandemic-related school closures as many school systems struggled to provide adequate virtual learning alternatives. Even though two years have passed since the closures, many school systems are still feeling the consequences and working on solutions to close the gaps.
The New Hampshire tutoring funds were originally set aside for students from low-income families but a lukewarm response led to the state expanding the program. Now, every school-age student who resides in the state can apply regardless of their family’s income level. The YES! program is open to public, non-public, homeschooled, and Education Freedom Account students.
According to an April 2022 press release, tutoring must be provided by a certified New Hampshire educator. Funds may also be used for special education services and therapies if they are provided by licensed therapists or certified special ed teachers. Parents interested in receiving New Hampshire tutoring can use the Educator Search tool to find a certified educator.
In the press release, Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of Education in New Hampshire, vows to continue to find useful ways to help kids recover from missed learning opportunities in addition to the NH tutoring grant. “Although it has been two years since the start of the pandemic, some students may still feel that they are not meeting their desired academic performance. These scholarships will be used to help children that may have experienced disrupted learning, and provide them with individualized tutoring and support to target their unique educational needs.”
In a recent piece by The Brookings Institute, educators and policymakers nationwide expressed concern over low parental interest in COVID recovery interventions like New Hampshire’s tutoring scholarships. Many are unsure whether low interest is driven by a lack of program awareness or a lack of logistical resources such as transportation to tutoring sessions. Some think it may simply reflect a general disinterest in academic performance recovery.
This is unfortunate because parental involvement is a key element in making these learning recovery programs work. Parents must understand where their child is struggling academically and partner with local educators to help them return to grade-level success. When the Brookings Institute surveyed parents, they found that only 28 percent of parents were interested in extracurricular help such as the New Hampshire tutoring initiative. Educators and policymakers hope that increased promotion of CARES-funded programs will help the most vulnerable students connect with the assistance they need.
Parents are encouraged to apply for YES! New Hampshire tutoring grants through the link provided by the NH Department of Education. Other states, including Indiana, are also using CARES dollars to fund and expand similar learning recovery programs. Parents shouldn’t delay in signing up for these services, as the first round of federal pandemic recovery funds expires on September 30, 2022. The most recent round of funding expires in 2024.