Why You Should Ask About Employer Tuition Reimbursement

By CSU Global - August 4th, 2020

Woman talking on her cell phone and looking at her laptop

Your current employer could be the key to helping you continue your education. How? Because many organizations partner with higher education institutions to provide their employees with some type of tuition reimbursement. Employee tuition reimbursement can also be a tax deductible benefit for employers. 

If you haven’t looked into tuition reimbursement at your place of work, now’s the time to ask.

Employer Education Support Options

Most employers that support their employees’ education will typically offer some amount of tuition assistance or reimbursement. However, sometimes there are strings attached – you might have to commit to stay with the organization for at least a certain amount of time or pay back the reimbursement, for example. 

Tuition reimbursement benefits are available at many organizations – CSU Global partners with more than 3,000 employers – but these affiliations are still widely underused. Taking advantage of this benefit can save employees thousands of dollars on continuing their education! 

Why Your Employer Might Offer This Benefit

In today’s fast-changing world, companies’ needs are constantly evolving. To keep up, some universities will work with organizations to design programs specifically for their needs, ensuring their employees get a valuable education.

There’s an old anecdote about two executives trying to decide whether to offer extra training to their employees. One executive asks, “What’s to stop them from taking their new skills and getting a better job somewhere else? What if we train them and they leave?” The other executive responds, “What if we don’t train them, and they stay?”

While there’s always a risk that an employee will get their degree, stay the appropriate amount of time, and leave, that’s not as common as people think. If the company retains an employee once they earn their degree, they become a valuable asset to the company. It can also be an attractive benefit when hiring new employees, especially in industries where there is a deficit of qualified employees.

Employee Retention

In a report by Peter Cappelli, he found that offering to pay for school for employees created longer employee retention, which decreases recruiting and training costs, as well as any losses in institutional knowledge. It’s also important to realize that training employees isn’t a sunken cost. Hiring a new employee isn’t free — by some estimates, it costs anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 to onboard a new employee, not to mention the lost productivity while they’re training and not working at full efficiency.

If you’re not sure if your employer offers financial assistance, it can’t hurt to ask! They might cover a certain percentage of your tuition, a certain fixed amount, or they might have a relationship with a university where their employees can receive a discounted tuition rate. 

If they don’t have such a program, you might remind them of the tax benefits. The IRS allows employers to deduct $5,250 in tuition reimbursement for each employee, and that amount isn’t taxable to the employee as income.

Attracting and Retraining Qualified Employees

Educating employees to increase their marketability is a win-win. Businesses get a more qualified employee, employees gain valuable experience, and everyone saves some money. If you’re curious as to whether or not your organization has this kind of arrangement, ask someone in your human resources department. 

And when you are looking for your next job, ask about the professional development opportunities the company offers. In the long run, tuition reimbursement can be just as big a factor in deciding where to work as salary and other benefits.

Talk to CSU Global

Whether your employer is offering tuition assistance or reimbursement, or you’re striking out on your own, you’ll need a degree program that’s flexible enough to fit around your work and home life. CSU Global can offer that, with dozens of certificates, undergraduate degrees, and even graduate degrees to help you advance your career. If you’re ready to get started, CSU Global is the place for you.

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