Does your job offer tutition refunds? Find out!

Tuition assistance is a nice benefit for many employees today. Its existence is the reason many students wait to begin college: they wait to locate a position that offers them the opportunity to return to school without the added expense or necessity of student loans. Of course, the policy of each company is different, so it will be necessary for you to clarify those policies before you begin school in order to know just what your options may be and whether you will need to obtain additional funding from other sources.

Overview of Tuition Assistance

One very important thing to remember is tuition assistance is just that: it is money to help you complete your education. Unless you hold a very important position with your company it is unlikely they will cover the cost of your tuition and books. In most cases the company will reimburse an employee for the cost the student paid for the course after presenting proof of a passing grade or achieved the required grade. Some companies only require employees to pass the course while others insist on a grade of "B" or better. It is also possible your company may have a limit on how much they will reimburse during the course of a physical or fiscal year.

Qualifying Factors

It is safe to say that tuition reimbursement programs are not all alike except on one respect: the company reimburses the student after he or she completes an approved course. On the other hand, there are other factors that are likely to differ between companies such as the following:

  • Employee must be with the company anywhere from 90 days to one year before qualifying
  • Some companies will only reimburse employees who take courses directly related to their current positions while others allow employees to take courses that may improve their opportunities with the company. A few companies do allow employees to pursue any degree program of their choice
  • Some companies require employees to continue with the company for a specific period after graduation or face the possibility of having to reimburse the company for the cost of tuition

Exceptions to the Rule

Employees who are in a very important position that requires additional education will often find the company will pay for their educations up front. For instance, a long-term employee who is promoted to manager but only has an Associates Degree may need to return to college to obtain a four-year degree, and in this case the company may choose to cover both tuition and books at the time the student enrolls for classes. In these cases the company may also choose to allow the student to take classes during his or her regular workday instead of the student needing to schedule classes around the work schedule.

Another exception is in banks. There are often a number of courses employees can take through the American Bankers Association, and the employees do not have to pay the costs of these courses. These are not degreed courses, however, but courses that are directly related to the banking industry or something that will help those who work for the banks such as new computer software packages.

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