Fear of high costs is one of the most common reasons adults avoid returning to school. With tuition rates increasing each year, it’s an understandable concern. But what if we told you, your employer is willing to help cover the costs of your tuition? We’ll show you how your new degree benefits your employer along with some ways you can get some tuition help from your boss, even if they’re not currently offering it.
Many employers offer some sort of aid to help working adults return to complete their degrees. In fact, around half of US employers offer financial assistance for undergraduate degrees and 53% assist with graduate degrees. If you’re currently working full-time and would like to enroll as a student but are concerned about costs, your employer just might have the support you’ve been needing.
Here, you’ll learn about different kinds of education benefits, different employers that offer them, and how to convince your employer to offer these benefits if they don’t already. We’ll also take a look at how you can even get help paying past college debts through the C2C Grant in addition to employer education benefits.
A degree is valuable to employers
There’s no question that earning a degree can unlock brighter horizons for you, but employers also stand to gain from this accomplishment. As a smarter, more experienced, and higher-skilled employee, you’ll have more to offer. This leads to greater job security, higher pay, and upward mobility. Employers see education benefits as an investment in their employees rather than a gift, and many are willing to help cover the cost of returning to college with the goal of creating a well-educated and capable staff.
What kind of education benefits are available?
Even though many employers offer some form of education benefits, it’s important to understand the various kinds. The type of assistance provided can determine when you pay, how much you pay, and other important details. While it varies between companies, here are the most common forms of employer education benefits:
Tuition Assistance - This is the kind of assistance most adult students would prefer since the employer contribution is provided beforehand. With the help offered before you must pay for tuition, you’re keeping more money in your bank account. Depending on how much your employer offers and the price of attending the college, you might not even have to spend a dime.
Tuition Reimbursement - Unlike tuition assistance, you’ll have to cover the cost of your tuition at the beginning with this form of employer education benefit. Your employer will reimburse you a set amount or for the entire tuition later. Some companies pay after each year while others wait until the degree is completed. Although you’ll end up with the same coverage, this method requires an investment at the onset.
Scholarships - Instead of helping employees cover tuition costs, some companies offer sponsored scholarships. While you still have to qualify for the award, the pool of applicants is much smaller, and the requirements are much lower when compared to other scholarships.
MS employers that offer education benefits
Here are a few popular employers that offer competitive education benefits:
AT&T - Regular employees are eligible for reimbursement for degrees that benefit the company.
UPS - Part-time employees can gain up to $25,000 towards a college education
Chick-fil-A - This employer offers workers multiple scholarships and tuition discounts for 30% or less.
Fed-Ex - Employees can take advantage of the Tuition Assistance Program which seeks to help students achieve higher education opportunities.
How to encourage your employer to offer benefits
If you ask around only to realize that your employer doesn’t offer any education benefits, don’t give up quite yet. Just because a company doesn’t actively provide tuition assistance, it doesn’t mean they’re against the idea. Some organizations, especially newer or smaller ones, simply haven’t gotten around to creating these programs, or they may do it on an individual basis. As a dedicated employee looking to further increase your professional skills, you’re in a great position to make a case for why your employer should develop a program that offers assistance. Here are some tips for presenting the best case:
Look to competing companies - If you can point to a competitor that’s successfully increasing the value of his employees by investing in their education, then you’ll have your employer’s attention. No company wants to get left out of effective strategies that boost efficiency, productivity, and the bottom line.
Explain the value - Not everyone sees the connection between higher education and greater value at work. You’ll have a better chance of convincing your employer by clearly explaining how returning to school will benefit the company. Employers will be more likely to invest in something if they can understand the return on their investment.
Talk specifics - If your employer doesn’t already provide some form of tuition assistance, they won’t be convinced with general statements. Instead of giving a big picture explanation, you should explain how this will contribute to your value as an employee and to the company. You should know what degree you want to get, what school you want to earn it through, and how long you expect to take. This gives employers a clearer picture of what you’re asking for, making it more likely that they’ll say ‘yes’.
Employee benefits are just the beginning
An employer willing to help cover some of the costs of returning to school is only part of the way there. You’ll still need someone to guide you through the process of enrollment, claiming credits you already have, enrolling in the right classes, and mapping out an achievable timeline. You’d hate to end up in the wrong program, take too long to graduate, or bring on more than you can handle. After all, there aren’t many employers, if any, willing to offer these education benefits more than once. Fortunately, the C2C Program can help you make the most out of this unique opportunity.
The C2C Program can cover the rest
Your employer can help get you started towards degree completion, and the C2C Program can take care of the rest. Our dedicated team of C2C Coaches works one-on-one with eligible students to come up with a personalized game plan outlining the quickest route to graduation. You’ll have support from the second you enroll all the way until you walk across that stage at graduation. If your employer’s education benefits aren’t enough, the C2C Grant will give you an extra $1,000 to help cover tuition costs.
Check-in with a C2C Coach today to see if you qualify!