Stuvia Review: Should You Sell Study Notes Online?

By: Alex Dabek 

Last Updated: Oct 2, 2020

What if you could make money for being a student and that was your job?

Well, Stuvia is a platform that lets students make money by selling their study notes online.

Sounds great, right? But hold up... is this even legal? Can you actually make money?

Many students are making money selling notes but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good option.

In this Stuvia review we'll explain if you should sell study notes online and if it's worth it.

Stuvia Review Sell Study Notes Online

What Is Stuvia?

On Stuvia, you can upload notes, flashcards and study summaries and sell it to other students.

It's really easy to upload notes you've already taken, and you can set your own prices which other students can then pay to download for their own use.

Who Is It For?

Stuvia is obviously geared toward students (or recent former students) who want to make money.

If you're currently enrolled in classes or have recently completed classes for which you’ve taken notes, Stuvia is a way to earn passive income from work you’ve already completed. 

You’ll do especially well if you’re a diligent, organized note-taker.

You'll also do well if you have taken very popular classes with a large attendance. That being said, some niche courses can do well because they’re less likely to have duplicate notes already available online. 

Pros:

  • You can get paid for notes you've already taken. They're probably sitting on your computer or in your notebook
  • Signing up and uploading documents is very easy
  • You can set your own prices and adjust them over time. If you find a certain set of notes is a top seller, you can adjust prices accordingly
  • Positive reviews can quickly boost your profile and lead to more sales

Cons:

  • Selling notes falls into a grey area so tread carefully. Include citations and make sure it's not plagiarized
  • You might need to give away your first few sets of notes for free in order to gain positive reviews and build your Stuvia profile
  • A bit of word-of-mouth marketing might be necessary to get started (telling your friends, posting in a facebook group, etc)

How Much Does Stuvia Pay?

On Stuvia's website it says $103 is the average earnings per month and $8.90 is the average earnings per sale.

Your actual earnings will depend on many factors like:

  • How many classes do you have notes for?
  • How popular are your classes?
  • Are your notes legible, useful and high quality?
  • How many notes are already uploaded for your class? 
  • How expensive are your notes?

The good thing is it's free to upload documents to Stuvia and it requires very little set-up. After your documents are uploaded you might find yourself earning hundreds of dollars per month. 

Stuvia Fees:

Stuvia takes a commission from every sale. However, I couldn't find how much it is anywhere on their website which raises a small red flag.

On a forum I read, "they take 47% of your earnings" but I can't confirm if that's true or false. That seems extremely high. I emailed Stuvia and will update this review when I get a response.

Is It Legal To Sell Study Notes Online?

If done wrong, it can potentially lead to disciplinary action (or worse). If you want to sell study notes online, tread carefully and make sure you are not plagiarizing work or infringing copyright protections.

Stuvia's copyright FAQ says:

"You are only allowed to upload documents on Stuvia if it is your original work and plagiarism was not committed. You are not allowed to copy texts literally but you are allowed to quote them. You must make correct citations when doing this."

I am not a lawyer - but in order to not plagiarize, you need to include citations (credit to the professor, textbook, etc) and make it your own work. Rephrasing content from a lecture, or uploading a professors powerpoint slides will definitely not fly.

Even if you do everything correct, you never how your school or professor could react if they see you profiting from their work. For this reason I think selling notes online is kind of a grey zone and you should be careful.

Read also: 22 Student Side Hustles Your Bank Account Will Love

How To Get Started

  1. Gather your notes from various classes
  2. Asses which ones might be top sellers. You can browse Stuvia's top selling notes to see what generally does well
  3. Edit your notes so they are not plagiarized. Follow Stuvia's Copyright Checklist.
  4. Make a Stuvia account and upload your notes

Tips For Success:

  • Build up reviews for your profile to get more visibility
  • Stuvia recommends you tell your classmates or post in a facebook group to get more attention

Is Stuvia Worth It?

If you sell study notes online, you can potentially make hundreds of dollars per month in passive income. Making study notes will also help you learn the subject matter better.

On the other hand, you should be extremely careful about plagiarism and copyright infringements. You might not get caught but getting punished or kicked out of school is not worth it.

There's many students making money selling study notes online. However, it's kind of a grey area and who knows how your school or professor might react if they see it. So ultimately, it's up to you to decide if it's worth it. Luckily, there are tons of side hustles and ways to make money in school if this is not for you.

Read also: 22 Student Side Hustles Your Bank Account Will Love

Hopefully this Stuvia review was helpful. Thanks for reading!