‘Homework Hotline’ Answering the Call to Help

Students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology are available five nights each week during the school year to provide free math and science tutoring for students in grades 6-12 through the college’s Homework Hotline. The hotline surpassed a major milestone in 2014 – 500,000 sessions by telephone calls, online chats and e-mail resources since the service’s opening in 1991.

And, it has become a national education model, with similar hotlines started at California’s Harvey Mudd College (in 2010) and the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (spring, 2014). A franchise may open at Penn State University’s branch campuses this school year.


Rose-Hulman students are available between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern Time), Sunday through Thursday, from September through May by calling 1-877-ASK-ROSE (1-877-275-7673) or submitting questions by e-mail and online chat at www.AskRose.org.

Approximately 140 tutors are trained to be on the Homework Hotline staff, with more than 30 available each night at the Homework Hotline’s Communications Center, located in the institute’s Learning Center (basement of the library on campus). Tutors do not give answers, but have been trained to guide callers through homework problems to help them better understand math and science concepts. They have access to current math and science textbooks, and have been specially trained for this assignment. Funding has been provided by Rose-Hulman and Lilly Endowment, Inc.


Homework Hotline staff members offer the following tips to help students get them through the school year:

  • Learn the Art of Note-Taking — Key points are usually repeated or written on the board.  Be sure to write those items down, make sure to add your own notes for clarification, and leave wide margins so that you may add comments later when reviewing or studying the material.               
  • Discover the True Value of Textbooks — Textbooks provide much supplemental value to each lesson.  Check for highlighted vocabulary, example problems, and additional charts and mini-lessons throughout your book.
  • Develop Time Management Skills — Effectively managing your time is vital for success.  Keep track of assignment due dates in a planner and set goals for projects and papers.
  • Locate a Suitable Study Environment — Find a study area with minimal distractions.  Develop a plan for what you want to accomplish in a study session and study difficult subjects first.
  • Be Honest With Yourself — Don't wait until you are struggling to seek help.  Denying that you are having academic difficulty will only compound your problems later in the course.