How Employer Tuition Assistance Helps Professionals Return to School

If you’re a working professional, you may recognize that returning to school to complete your bachelor’s degree or pursue a graduate degree could help you advance and succeed in your field. Despite the potential gain it can bring, you also have to consider the cost.

While the price tag might seem like a roadblock, the good news is that funding options are becoming ever more available, including employer tuition assistance from companies and industries actively seeking new recruits. Not only can that add some powerful financial support for your studies but also a job upon graduation.

What Is Tuition Reimbursement?

Tuition reimbursement is a benefit many companies offer their employees. With it, companies pay some of the costs of higher education, so employees can build their skills without facing steep expenses—and then bring those skills back to the company.

Many companies offer tuition assistance since they recognize the value of supporting employees who want to advance their careers. After all, a more skilled workforce helps companies stay competitive and fills the high-level and specialized roles that keep them so. Tuition reimbursement also boosts morale, making employees feel more valued and, consequently, more likely to stay with the company rather than seeking jobs elsewhere.

How Does Tuition Reimbursement Work?

Companies offer different versions of employer tuition assistance. But generally, employers reimburse employees for their educational costs. Naturally, the support may come with some stipulations, including:

  • Working at the company for a certain length of time—perhaps 90 days, six months, or one year—before you qualify
  • Working a certain number of hours per week
  • Studying at specific schools
  • Pursuing a subject area that applies to your current position or your company’s industry
  • Capping assistance at a maximum dollar amount or percentage of costs per semester or per certificate or degree program
  • Paying costs upfront and receiving reimbursement from your company when you finish your classes or semesters successfully
  • Staying employed with your company for a period of time after you’re reimbursed or paying the company back if not

Allstate is one example of a company that offers tuition reimbursement. After working at Allstate for at least one year, employees pursuing certain undergraduate or graduate degrees, IT certifications, or insurance designations related to an Allstate career path are eligible to receive up to $5,250 annually. Employees can use that money to pay for tuition, books, and academic fees. Other companies with tuition assistance programs include Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, Disney, Lowes, Starbucks, Walmart, and Wells Fargo.

On top of this, employer tuition reimbursement comes with tax benefits—you don’t pay taxes on up to $5,250 of educational assistance benefits each year.

Can You Use Your Tuition Reimbursement at APU?

To find out where and how you can use your tuition reimbursement, contact your company’s human resources department. It can also make sense to work with APU’s Office of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services, which can help you strategically apply the assistance within your larger financial aid package.

The Student Services Center may also point you to further tuition support you may qualify for, such as:

Taken all together, any anxiety you have about the costs of further education may dissipate, especially if your employer—current or future—takes an active role in your betterment. Indeed, your employer may be setting you up for long-term success.