Brisbane tech startup Vygo is set to expand their university tutoring marketplace nationally, after successfully rolling out their peer to peer offering to students at the University of Queensland (UQ), Griffith University (GU) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Vygo works as a mobile platform that helps university students improve grades with better access to affordable peer tutors, whilst also giving students a ‘business in a box’ to earn money on campus, tutoring classes they have recently aced.
A win-win for both students and higher education, Vygo helps universities improve dropout rates by providing hyper local, affordable and accessible tutoring on campus. The platform also helps universities support, retain and understand their students by providing data about which classes and degrees students are struggling most with.
Vygo foundation partner, QUT Guild, has been a supporter of the app since its launch in 2016 and cannot praise its benefits enough.
“We’re really excited to be working with Vygo,” said QUT Guild President, Isobella Powell.
“Far too often we see students failing subjects and even dropping out because tutoring is too expensive. Not only does Vygo make tutoring more accessible, but it also helps provide income for students as tutors, so it’s a win-win for us.”
What is the story behind Vygo?
Vygo was created by Co-Founders Ben Hallett, Joel Di Trapani and Steven Hastie. They were all tutors themselves and had seen firsthand how difficult it could be for their friends and peers to get the academic support they needed.
With Australian universities currently experiencing record dropout rates, with 1 in 3 students failing to complete a degree within 6 years of starting one, the need for something like Vygo was too big to ignore (The Department of Education, 2017).
Students who drop out after their first semester ends can cost universities up to $50,000 in lost fees. With over a million university students in Australia, student attrition is now estimated to be costing universities a total of $1.4 billion annually (The Hobsons Retention Project, 2010).
“Universities love that we can rapidly deploy our platform and begin supporting their students in a matter of weeks. We can’t wait to take this across Australia and the US,” said Co-Founder Ben Hallett.
How exactly does Vygo work?
Along with the direct peer to peer offering, Vygo provides university partnership subscriptions. Universities can partner with Vygo to provide free access to the platform to their students and in turn receive valuable data about student activity.
“Private tutoring at university level currently isn’t attainable for a lot of students because it’s not affordable, not reliable and not class specific. Vygo solves these issues by deploying hyper-local campus marketplaces,” continued Hallett.
Tutors set their own fees and are paid at the end of each week through the platform. Average external market rates for tutoring sessions are $65 per hour, the average Vygo sessions are $25 per hour, making it far more affordable for students looking to achieve better grades through one on one tutoring.
“When I’m stressed out with my course I can quickly get in contact with someone who has had my exact class and lecturer. They can fit in a session with me in between their own lectures,” said University of Queensland student, Brooke McLay.
How is Vygo doing so far?
Over 1,300 students and more than 650 tutors across Queensland have downloaded the app to date. Students have also reported a 17% increase in their grades as a direct result of using the platform (Vygo Survey, 2018).
Students can now easily earn extra income between their lectures. One tutor on the Vygo platform made more than $4000 in a 16 week semester during the pilot at the University of Queensland.
The Vygo team are based in Brisbane and Melbourne and have the ability to roll out the platform at new universities within a two-week turnaround, no matter where they are located.
Vygo is backed by River City Labs Accelerator (powered by Telstra’s muru-D) founded by Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter. Vygo is available to download from the Apple App store and Google Play store.