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Knack by the Numbers: Peer Tutoring in the COVID Era

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If there's been one thing we've all learned since the start of COVID-19, it's to expect the unexpected. Like so many of our partner institutions across the country, we were optimistic about the opportunities an in-person fall 2021 semester would bring, looking forward to reforging ties that have been frayed after nearly two years in a global pandemic. Then came Delta. Then Omicron. Now, once again, the higher education industry finds itself in the throes of uncertainty. 

Since 2019, college enrollment rates have declined at historical levels, totaling a more than 6% drop and more than a million less students  – the largest decrease in fifty years. This downturn has exacerbated already existing disparities across the education system, highlighting the gender gap on college campuses as more and more American men drop out of college, as well as economic inequality amongst students of all ages as remote education continues to play a pivotal role. These shifts, in conjunction with widespread staffing shortages across industries that naturally affected campuses – from dining halls to tutoring centers – tested our small but mighty team in ways we never thought possible. Nevertheless, we charged on. 

Why? Because our mission to ensure every student has access to quality academic support has never been more important, and we’ve never been more committed to seeing it through.

Here’s what the past twelve months looked like at Knack, by the numbers.


Leveling the playing field

Accessibility and Impact are two of Knack’s core values, and they go hand-in-hand. With every engagement we take on, we seek to expand access to tutoring to as many students as possible, creating the strongest possible impact on each and every campus. 

COVID-19 dramatically increased demand for tutoring services across the globe. As a result, the private global tutoring market is anticipated to surpass $201 billion in value by 2026 – but what about students and families who can’t afford private options? What resources do they have at their disposal? 

In creating a more equitable approach to education, we aim to help colleges and universities level the playing field. 

Based on these trends, we prepared to see a corresponding increase in demand for tutors going into 2021, but we had no idea we would experience a more than 78% increase in student contact hours compared to 2020. 


Not only did the core number of contact hours increase – the number of courses covered on the Knack Platform did as well. 

This introduced new options for tutoring for students who may have been limited by course before. By the end of 2021, 2,505 unique college courses were supported on Knack, a 282% jump from 2020.


Size doesn’t matter

A common misconception is that Knack’s platform can only benefit campuses with large student populations (and budgets). While we are extremely proud to partner with a number of large and R1 institutions, like the University of Florida and Rutgers University’s College of Business, we’re just as proud of our partnerships with smaller universities and community colleges across the country. Better yet, these partnerships are just as effective. Less than half of our 2021 partner institutions exceeded 15,000 students, and some of our strongest student stories are graduates of the community college pipeline.  


Meeting students where they are

When coronavirus cases involving the Delta variant began skyrocketing late in the summer, we vowed to our partners that Knack was ready to continue supporting students wherever, and however, they prefer to receive tutoring – whether that be one-on-one or group sessions, in-person or online. 

In spite of the return to offline learning, the vast majority of tutoring sessions conducted on Knack in 2021 remained online – more than 91%, with over 90% of sessions occurring in a one-on-one setting. 


Preparing students for the classroom – and beyond

The unofficial ethos of Knack is to “never stop learning.” Our goal is to prepare students for more than just that next exam or even graduation – we want our tutors to feel like their experience working with Knack has benefitted them in their post-college careers, while providing a valuable, paid work experience while they’re in school. 

Over the course of 2021, Knack created 1,371 new student jobs across our partner campuses, a 45% increase from 2020. Active Knack Tutors delivered an average of 60 student contact hours, earning 1,160 professional development badges in the process. This resulted in 42% more badges awarded in 2021 compared to 2020. 

In spite of its challenges, and there were plenty to choose from, 2021 was a landmark year for Knack. 

We made seismic gains in the growth of our platform, welcomed eight new hires (as well as two baby Knack Packers – with another on the way!) and celebrated one year as a fully-remote organization


We look forward to carrying all of that momentum into an even bigger, better 2022 – and beyond. 

Thank you all for making it possible. 


Want to learn more about what the last year has looked like at Knack, or how we could improve student success on your campus? Get in touch with us below.