Stretch Your Education Dollars With Your Employer’s Tuition Benefits

Your employer may be willing to help foot the bill for higher education at Florida Tech.

WorldatWork, an association for benefits providers, said that 85% of U.S. employers offered tuition assistance in 2017. Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement, which repays workers after courses are completed. Others may pay for tuition up-front.

In addition, some employees may be able to receive corporate tuition reductions or deferred payments. Program details, requirements, maximums and eligibility vary by employer. The Human Resources or Talent Management department is usually the first place to ask about benefits.

Thomas Kobyluk, an aerospace project manager who recently earned his MBA in Project Management online, said the tuition benefit process at his organization was “simple.” He also said Florida Tech was willing to work with him to keep out-of-pocket expenses low.

“Florida Tech allowed me to defer payment to after the class was completed so that I could use my company’s tuition assistance program. This provided me a way to process the transaction quickly after course completion, without impacting my finances.”

What’s in It for Me?

Employees are increasingly looking to their employers to satisfy their educational needs as part of an overall interest in professional development.

“It’s expected by today’s talent,” writes Meghan M. Biro, HR Brand Strategist and CEO of TalentCulture, for Forbes. “It signals that the employer values their people and are actively interested in their success — not just on the job, but over the long haul.”

There are many reasons why professionals might consider higher education, including:

  • Promotion
  • Development
  • Compensation
  • Industry certification or continuing education credits
  • Updated skill sets
  • Soft skills
  • Self-esteem
  • Pride
  • Satisfying professional or personal curiosity

Janessa Aarsvold, who earned her bachelor’s degree online using employer tuition assistance, has been able to apply what she learned in her program to improve her everyday responsibilities.

“I manage several teams being a project manager and have to put together training plans, etc. I honestly have never known the best way to go about doing that and now I do. Several of the skills I have learned will take me far. I now have accounting skills, know more about how organizations run and their culture, know how to deal with people and more.”

Online Advantages

Even with tuition assistance available, prospective students might be concerned about balancing their education with their professional obligations. With the immersive online classes offered through Florida Tech, students have the flexibility to work on their own time, without the need to travel to campus. The media-rich lessons provide opportunities for students to interact with colleagues and instructors.

Jessica Rodriguez, who also used tuition assistance for her bachelor’s program, needed the flexibility the online classroom offered due to her full-time job and parenting responsibilities. She ended up enjoying the online format:

“I was most surprised at how an online program functioned just like a regular classroom. I was also surprised at how responsive and involved the professors were. Despite attending online, I still felt like I was part of the Panther community.” 

What Employers Want

While these benefits are obviously valuable for employees, they’re also good for the organizations themselves, as research has shown they attract talent, retain workers, address skills gaps and improve productivity. One well-known study involving insurance giant Cigna demonstrated a 129% ROI for every dollar invested in education benefits. In addition, the study demonstrated that employees who used the benefit were less likely to leave and more likely to receive promotions.

Kobyluk said his MBA from Florida Tech helps both himself and his company. “The return is reciprocal,” he explained. “I benefit from higher promotion potential and my employer benefits from my added focus on project execution within the organization’s vision.”

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