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We Succeed connects college student tutors with K-12 students. (Photo from We Succeed)

Penn is partnering with tutoring program We Succeed to offer virtual work-study tutoring jobs to students.

We Succeed is a tutoring platform that connects college student tutors with K-12 students in need of flexible tutoring to shrink the educational opportunity gap. We Succeed announced the agreement with Penn on Sept. 7, and welcomed five tutors from Penn during the summer. Thirty seven students are involved in the work-study program this fall.

Penn work-study students can apply to be tutors at We Succeed through Workday, as with other external work-study opportunities. We Succeed pays 30 percent of the total wages earned by each student, while the remaining 70 percent is paid by work-study funding, according to a press release.

“I’m really excited about this agreement because it allows Penn students to get work experience that can help with their finance and career goals, and it helps reduce college expenses while providing tutoring chances for youth," We Succeed President Zahid Mustafa said. "It’s a win-win situation.”

We Succeed employs tutors in a wide array of subjects, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and literature, according to a press release. Students can also ask for advice on college preparation and college entrance exams such as the SAT.

Mustafa said that We Succeed hopes to hire at least 500 tutors nationwide and tutor 1,000 students this year.

College sophomore Jamaal Spence, a tutor at We Succeed, said the tutoring position has allowed him to learn more about himself while helping students excel in their academic interests.

Spence said he thinks the program's virtual nature is a huge benefit because it allows for adjustable scheduling. He added that the students on the platform really want to learn and that tutors want to teach, so the pairing works well.

“I had role models in my life who helped me get to the point where I am, and I wanted to give back," Spence said. "We Succeed was a good way to reach out to more people.” 

Engineering first year Alexis Powell said that in her experience, many of the available work-study jobs require in-person attendance.  

“I think it’s a great agreement because it makes work-study more accessible to students, and it also services the K-12 community,” Powell said. 

She added that the flexible, virtual nature is especially helpful due to Penn's new block schedule, which students have said created inefficient break periods.

Mustafa added that We Succeed has improved the average tutee's grades by one full letter grade — likely in part due to the close age gap between tutors and tutees.

“[One] reason why I think it’s working is because the college student tutors are not that much older than the K-12 students, and they have recently finished their K-12 education, so the age gap isn’t that large," Mustafa said. "It makes them much more relatable.”