What Are College Tuition-Reimbursement Programs?

A tuition-reimbursement program can send your money flying back

Flickr user Devon D’Ewart

Tuition-reimbursement programs are a special type of repayment plan where employers offer to reimburse their employees’ education expenses. In most cases, employees who choose to participate will have to pay out of pocket for the courses they take. They then get back some or all of their tuition expenses, depending on their company policy.

Why Do Employers Offer Tuition-Reimbursement?

Employers from diverse industries are beginning to recognize that employees with higher education bring higher value into the organization. While on the job training can provide employees with some of the skills they need, it cannot replace the knowledge that students acquire through a four-year college education. College-level classes equip mid and higher-level employees with certain skills and knowledge that would be difficult to learn on the job.

To encourage their employees to enroll in an advanced program, employers offer to cover all or at least a large part of the tuition expenses.

In addition to the benefits of a smarter workforce, the reimbursement program costs are also tax-deductible. After calculating their tax benefit, the company essentially pays very little to offer employees this perk, putting them in a win-win situation.

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Important Things To Know About Tuition-Reimbursement Programs

The first thing to know is that these are reimbursement programs. That means you will have to pay the tuition fees upfront and the company will reimburse you later.

Every company has their own unique reimbursement program in terms of what they cover and what they do not cover. The majority of employers agree to cover the cost only of those classes that are directly related to the employee’s current job in the company. Very few employers will cover a program that is unrelated.

Even when covering the expenses related to a relevant college program, different organizations vary in the amount of fees they will reimburse. Some will cover 100% of the cost, while others may cover only a portion of the fees.

Are There Any Conditions That Apply?

There are a few companies that offer unconditional reimbursement programs but they are in the minority. Most companies impose certain conditions for reimbursement. Fortunately, these conditions are often pretty straightforward and easy to comply with.

The most common condition that employers impose is related to the field of study. Most companies require that their employees enroll in a program that is applicable within their company.

The second condition usually applies to the amount that the company will reimburse. Most companies have a certain amount that they allocate every year towards this scheme. This varies greatly from one company to another. It is important to find out exactly how much you will get reimbursed should you decide to participate in the program.

Grade point is another condition that some employers impose. The amount they reimburse is directly proportional to the grade that the employee earns. An employee who has obtained an A grade may get their full tuition reimbursed. Another employee with a B or C grade may get part of their tuition reimbursed. An employee who earns lower than C may not receive any reimbursement.

These conditions, of course, may vary from one organization to another so it is important to find out all details.

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