Tuition reimbursement is one of the most valuable benefits a company can offer. Tuition reimbursement gives employees the ability to obtain, maintain, and improve their professional capabilities through participation in courses related to ones career at accredited colleges and universities. It also provides companies who offer tuition reimbursement an advantage when recruiting new employees.
My PositionI believe that every mid-to large sized company should offer some kind of tuition reimbursement or educational assistance. However, certain guidelines and restrictions should be fully understood before taking advantage of the opportunity. Companies often have certain criteria and qualifications that employees must meet before receiving assistance. WD Communications LLC states:”Often, tuition may only cover courses in the core curriculum, and only in certain majors. If a student wants to take courses outside of the curriculum, he may need to provide proof the classes were required for the major. Additionally, if an employee discontinues the class, he may have to immediately repay the money to the employer while waiting for a refund from the university, if they are to receive a refund at all. Employers also differ in that some only provide benefits for graduate-level study.
Be certain the benefits offered will cover all courses leading to the desired degree, and not courses leading to a certificate. Such courses often will not transfer into a four-year program, as they are specialized or skill-based and do not satisfy the broader academic requirements. The employees’ grades may also be important. Companies might require that the student maintain a certain grade point average to continue receiving the program benefits. The GPA could have an impact on the amount of tuition the employer will reimburse; for example, a company will pay 100% of tuition for a 4.0 GPA, but a reduced percentage for a lower grade point average. Students may also need to make the initial payment for the program upon enrollment, and be reimbursed by the employer later.
Participation in the plan could also include the requirement that employees remain with the company a certain length of time after they complete the degree. If not, tuition benefits may need to be repaid. The employer may require that the program be finished within a certain period. Students should ensure that the employers’ time frame coincides with that of their chosen university or school (2006).”Opposing ViewCompanies want to be assured that they will be getting their money’s worth when making outside training investments in an employee. They are concerned that the dollar investment turns into business success and that the employee will not leave after completion of the program.
Reimbursement JustificationsWhile these concerns are legitimate, retention of key talent is one of the greatest benefits tuition reimbursement can offer a company. If one has been identified as a high-potential employee and the employer is interested in keeping him, the importance of this benefit to that person should be acknowledged. The employer’s continued support provides a meaningful method for recognizing a promising and valued employee. If the employer chooses not to follow through on the tuition reimbursement and one decides to leave in search of another company that would invest in his education, the cost to his current employer of hiring and training a replacement may cost more than the tuition.
Employees with advanced degrees can offer more training, ideas, and skills. That means companies will see the direct benefit of strengthening their departments. Additional benefits from a strong educational program include direct application of classroom learning, enhanced inquiry and analysis skills, and exposure to some of the best business minds and models. Students often have the opportunity to bring in current company-specific issues for a “free analysis” from a team of classmates to develop creative solutions to an existing business problem. The network of faculty and students may also benefit the sponsoring company.
Tuition reimbursement programs can be an effective way to recruit good workers. Many people with a strong desire to complete their education seek employment with certain companies specifically for this benefit. Employees who are supported and able to reach their personal goals while working are happy, which improves moral, and results in greater work performance. If resources are tight and the employer remains hesitant, one can try to work out a contract in which he agrees to stay with the current company for a certain period. This may be enough to convince the employer to follow through on the tuition reimbursement program.
Any individual who possesses a desire to continue his education in addition to performing their full-time job shows a commitment to improving themselves and their position with the company. To encourage and reward these individuals, please introduce a tuition reimbursement program. Companies who offer tuition reimbursement are often looked at as more than a job, but as an investment into ones future.
WD Communications LLC, (2006). Will your employer pay your tuition? Retrieved March 29, 2007, from Back to College Web site: http://back2college.com/tapprograms.htm