If you have been thinking about going back to school, now may be a perfect time.
A recent survey by benefits survey data provider Compdata Surveys found that more employers are now offering tuition reimbursement to all employees. In fact, the Benefits USA 2012/2013 survey results found that in 2010, when 84.7 percent of employers offered tuition reimbursement benefits, only 45.3 percent of them made that benefit available to all employees. In 2012, 85.8 percent of employers offered tuition reimbursement benefits, with 56.6 percent making the benefit available to all employees.
Michelle Willis, media relations representative at Compdata Surveys in Olathe, Kansas, says the shift is great news for both employers and their workers.
“Over the last few years, there has been a discernible shift from employers only offering tuition reimbursement to certain employee groups, such as management or technical and professional employees, to making the benefit available to all employees,” she noted. “Individuals looking to move up the corporate ladder should take advantage of this new opportunity.”
Steven Rothberg, president and founder of the job board CollegeRecruiter.com in Minneapolis, says that employees in the past have felt guilty about taking advantage of this benefit because they knew that in the long-term, the degree would help them obtain a better job elsewhere.
“They felt like they were being dishonest, but they should not feel like that at all,” he says. Employers have earned their benefits from work done in the past, he explains. They should also understand that benefits packages are what businesses offer to attract and retain good employees. Perks like college reimbursement should definitely be used, particularly as the economy starts to improve.
“Education is always a good choice, particularly if you can pursue it on a part-time basis and your job performance is not affected,” he says. “You’d be more informed, more knowledgeable and gain more analytical skills.”
Compdata Surveys reported that the amount of subsidized tuition varies by industry. Some examples: manufacturing and distribution employers, $4,660; insurance: $4,263; banking and finance: $3,875; and healthcare: $3,045. Twenty-five percent of all organizations surveyed report placing no limit on the amount an employee may be reimbursed for their tuition.
But Willis noted that most organizations require that employees earn good grades to qualify for tuition reimbursement and stay with the company after earning the degree. About 61 percent of employers report requiring employees to work for them an average of 16 months after being reimbursed for tuition costs.
She encourages that employees ask questions about requirement and flexible scheduling options. She adds: “Once you’ve received answers to these questions, you’ll be ready to enroll and in a position to make the most of this valuable benefit.”
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