September 25, 2018

Key Points for Students Considering Tuition Assistance

By B&SC Career Services Team

Key Points for Students Considering Tuition Assistance

Going back to school as an adult brings up many questions, but perhaps the biggest one is “how am I going to pay for my degree?” Luckily student financial aid comes in many forms. Scholarships, grants, loans are all options but there is another way. Many employers offer tuition assistance programs that help employees pay for college.

Tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement programs vary from company to company but they typically focus on giving their employees the opportunity to develop or improve skills that will help them excel in their careers. The programs are beneficial to employees and employers alike. Employers are able to invest in employees so they have the types of skills that will help keep the company profitable. But, employees are the real winners. Tuition assistance programs help employees earn an education while having the cost partially or completely covered. Since going back to school also helps them learn new skills employees are able to become better at their jobs or prepare for career advancement.

But, tuition assistance isn’t free money. Companies design their programs to have some stipulations. Sometimes there are limits to how much a company will pay for the type of degree that’s being earned, designating different amounts for associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate-level education and professional certificates. There may also be rules around what types of courses or degrees a program will cover. Many employers will only cover classes that are related to an employee’s current responsibilities while others may extend the offer to cover responsibilities of that are designed to position an employee for a promotion.

Another consideration is whether or not the tuition remission benefits will be taxable. If you are wondering if tuition reimbursement is taxable, check with a tax professional or the human resources person at your company.

If you are thinking about going back to school, check in with your employer about tuition remission benefits. If you aren’t sure where to start, below are a few questions that will help you figure out what is available and how it may benefit you.

  1. Does my employer offer tuition assistance? This might seem like an obvious question, but not all employers do. Check with your manager or HR department to be sure.
  2. Are there tenure restrictions? For some companies you have to be an employee for a certain length of time before you are eligible for tuition benefits.
  3. How much will my employer pay? Employers often have a hierarchy for how they fund different levels of education. Find out if there are tiered amounts and whether there is full or partial reimbursement.
  4. Are there grade average minimums? Tuition assistance could be dependent on academic achievement, for example it may only be awarded if the employee earns a B average or higher.
  5. What classes are covered? As mentioned above, it would be unwise for companies to pay to train employees on skills unrelated to their jobs. Most programs only cover classes that are related to current or future job responsibilities.
  6. What are the employment retention requirements? Again, companies don’t want to pay for someone’s education only to have them leave for a better offer. So, many organizations put retention stipulations on financial aid for college, requiring employees to stay for a certain amount of time once they earn a degree.

Bryant & Stratton College aims to help all students understand the financial implications of attending college. This article and others are intended to address affordability issues and inform students of the variety of student financial aid available.

Interested in learning more about the online degree programs offered by Bryant & Stratton College? Call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative.

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