How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your Education
Attending college often comes down to a choice between juggling the responsibilities of school and work or taking on the burden of student loans, but it does not have to be that way. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement as a fringe benefit, so with a little bit of planning you may be able to get the boss to pick up some, or even all, of the tab for your education.
Of course companies do not offer tuition reimbursement out of the goodness of their hearts. These corporations would not offer this valuable perk unless they thought something was in it for them. Those companies know that an educated workforce is a smart investment, and that educated workers are more likely to stick around and rise to higher levels within the organization.
If you work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement, it is important to plan carefully before you start back to school. Taking the steps outlined below can make your school, and your work, experience a lot more pleasant.
- Ask for a copy of the tuition reimbursement agreement. Read that agreement carefully to determine just what the company does, and does not, pay for. Many tuition reimbursement programs do not pay for books and lab fees, so you may need to budget those items on your own.
- Discuss your plans with your supervisor. Many bosses will welcome the idea of a subordinate returning to school for more education, but some may worry about time conflicts and lower production on the job. Having an honest conversation up front can head off a lot of problems down the line.
- Contact the school you want to go to and submit the necessary paperwork. Wait until you have been approved to attend classes, then decide on how many courses you can take each semester. It is often best to start with a light course load a you ease yourself back into your studies.
- Complete the necessary paperwork for tuition reimbursement. You typically will have to pay for the courses up front, then be reimbursed later on. Keep in mind that you will need to maintain a minimum grade point average to qualify for reimbursement.
- Work with your employer and the school to develop a schedule that is mutually beneficial. Taking courses that will help you in your career benefits both you and your employer.
The decision to go back to school is rarely an easy one, but tuition reimbursement can at least relieve the financial strain. Many people find that tuition reimbursement programs offer an attractive alternative to high student loan debt and the financial burden it brings.