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Can I Ask My Employer to Pay for My Education?

Want to go back to school, but nervous about asking your employer to foot part or all of the bill? Don’t be. There are numerous ways that funding your additional education could benefit the company. Learn the strategies for selling those advantages to your employer and it could mean a win-win for everyone.

What advantages can funding your education offer an employer?

  • Benefits such as tuition reimbursement programs can help companies recruit talented individuals.

  • It can also help a company retain its workforce. In addition to acting as an attractive work perk and increasing loyalty, many companies structure their plans to include a contractual requirement that employees must stay with the company for a certain period of time after the financing of education.

  • Educated and informed employees are more competent and productive and better equipped to generate additional revenue.

  • Companies can take advantage of tax credits and deductions that come from funding education.

What types of programs do companies offer?

Paying for education is not an all or nothing proposition. Tuition reimbursement programs vary significantly from company to company in terms of size and structure. A 2014 Business Insider article provides some examples of differing components:

  • A maximum dollar amount. Apple offers tuition reimbursement up to $5,000, while Boeing provides education assistance up to $3,000 annually.

  • A maximum percentage of educational costs. Chevron offers reimbursement for up to 75% of employees’ educational pursuits.

  • Only funding job-related courses or degrees. Bank of America reimburses employees up to $5,250 for job-related courses or to fulfill a job-related degree program

  • Limit reimbursement based on employee status and/or tenure. Home Depot covers up to $5,000 for all salaried associates and $3,000 for full-time hourly associates who have been working at the company for at least a year to take courses related to their business.

  • Offering education in-house. In addition to covering 100% of reimbursable costs, Intel has an internal training organization called Intel University that provides more than 7,000 courses.

What if my company doesn’t offer a tuition reimbursement program? How can I get them on-board with funding my education?

  • Outline your desired education plan with specifics (degree, school, courses, estimated costs etc.) and go in prepared.

  • Create a list of ways your company will benefit from your additional education.

  • Anticipate concerns/questions your employer may have and come up with responses that will address them and even lead back to a benefit for the company. (Concern: Your studies will take you away from work. Response: I can complete online classes or night classes in my free time and gain skills that will help me do my job better.)

  • Formulate your own questions about the funding specifics in case your employer is receptive. (i.e. How are costs refunded? Are their academic standards? How long must you remain with the company?)

Tuition reimbursement offers a number of benefits to both employers and employees. Strategizing how you approach your employer can help guarantee that those benefits are realized. 

Sources:

  • Investopedia
  • Andrew Jensen
  • Udacity
  • Business Insider
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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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