student with laptop


The STAR-NY Difference

The goal of STAR-NY tutoring is to help students learn how to learn, not teach them what to learn.

  • Tutors follow a guiding philosophy based in the Socratic approach to help students learn how to think about their work, better understand the subject matter and become independent learners.
  • A tutor training, assessment, and development team checks session logs to improve service to students.
  • The consortium is student-need driven. Campus Supervisors from each member college meet once a year to plan what subjects to cover and make changes in how the consortium functions.

How it Works

  • SUNY colleges and universities apply to join the STAR-NY Consortium.
  • Member schools post a link on their college website where their students sign in to Pisces®, which is a collaborative platform for online tutoring.
  • Students enter a virtual room to work with a tutor one-on-one.
  • Papers or problems can be loaded into the whiteboard, allowing both the tutor and tutee to write on them; a scrolling chat feature allows tutor and tutee to note key session points and “Aha!” moments.
  • Audio or video chat features can be used to facilitate communication between tutor and tutee.

Benefits to Students

  • Tutors are available free of charge.
  • Students have access to a variety of subjects with more to be added as the consortium grows.
  • Tutors help students become better writers and more effective problem solvers.
  • Students learn how to learn the course material.
  • Help is available when campus tutoring services are typically closed.

Benefits to Schools

  • Member schools can supplement existing campus tutoring services with a greater availability and better quality of online tutoring offerings than they could afford on their own.
  • Regular session log reviews provide feedback to promote tutors' development and ensure the quality of service students receive.
  • Academic support professionals gain opportunities to network, share resources and expertise, and collaborate to test and/or develop best practices in tutoring and tutor training.


STAR tutors are trained to use the STAR guiding philosophy in the Pisces online tutoring environment, and receive ongoing support to further develop their STAR tutoring practice. They are a diverse group that includes:

  • Professional and paraprofessional tutors
  • Peer tutors, most of whom are College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) certified
  • Adjunct faculty
  • Graduate students

What Schools Provide

  • One or two tutors who work five hours per week during both Spring and Fall semesters, paid by the college
  • Annual membership/Pisces License fee of $1,200
  • A Campus Supervisor, often the director or assistant director of the campus learning center, who recruits, hires, and supervises the school's tutor(s) and attends the annual STAR Conference/business meeting