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Choiceortunity #33

December 7, 2009

Tuition Reimbursement

I recently read an article that I would like to share with you. It talked about tuition reimbursement and how to approach your employer. Many employers offer it but the employees don’t take advantage of it. In this day and age that seems crazy to me, why wouldn’t an employee want to take benefit from any money for school that they can get. Jamie Littlefield, the author, gives some great advice on the ways to discuss tuition reimbursement with your supervisor.

How to Discuss Tuition Reimbursement with Your Boss

If your company already has a tuition reimbursement program or business-college partnership in place, visit the human resources department to learn more. If your company does not have a tuition reimbursement program, you will need to convince your employer to design a personal program.

First, decide what classes you would like to take or what degree you would like to obtain.

Second, create a list of ways your education will benefit the company. For example:
• Your new skills will make you more productive at work.
• You will be able to take on additional assignments.
• You will be able to be a leader in the workplace.
• Your degree will improve the company’s professional image when you work with clients.

Third, anticipate your employer’s possible concerns. Make a list of problems your employer may raise, and think of solutions to each. For example:
Problem: Your studies will take time away from work.
Solution: Online classes can be completed in your free time and will give you skills to help you do better work.
Problem: Paying your tuition will be expensive for the company.
Solution: Actually, paying your tuition may cost less than hiring a new employee with the degree you are working on and training the new recruit. Your degree will make the company money. In the long run, your employer will save by funding your education.

Finally, set an appointment to discuss tuition reimbursement with your employer. Practice your “why-you-should-pay spiel” beforehand and come to the meeting with your lists in hand. If you are turned down, keep in mind that you can always make another request in a few months.

Signing a Tuition Reimbursement Contract with Your Employer

When your employer agrees to pay your tuition, he will probably want you to sign a contract. Be sure to read over this document carefully and discuss any parts that raise a red flag. Don’t sign a contract that forces you to meet unrealistic terms or stay with the company for an unreasonable amount of time.

Here are a few questions to consider when reading over the contract:
• How will your tuition be refunded? Some companies pay the tuition directly. Some deduct it from your paycheck and reimburse you up to a year later.
• What academic standards must be met? Find out of there is a required GPA and what happens if you fail to make the grade.
• How long must I remain with the company? Find out what happens if you decide to leave before the term is up. Don’t let yourself get locked into staying with any company for too many years.
• What happens I stop attending class? If health problems, family issues, or other circumstances prevent you from finishing a degree, will you be required to pay for the classes you’ve already taken?

Jamie states that the best way to pay for an education is to have someone else foot the bill. Convincing your boss to pay your tuition can take some work. But, it’s definitely worth it.

So I challenge you to take a look at your employer’s education policies and see if there isn’t an opportunity waiting for you. Even if they don’t have a formal policy it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Amy

Shop in time for the holidays – don’t forget to visit the Herzing E-Store – Click HERE

You can read Jamie’s article here.

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