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Breaking the Barriers to Company Provided Tuition Reimbursement

NETtime Solutions’ survey “Tuition Reimbursement – The Unused Benefit” provides a peek into the benefit from an employee perspective

04/24/2013 (press release: NETtime) // NETtime Solutions

In a recent survey hosted by NETtime Solutions, the company collected responses from over 40 people regarding their thoughts and experiences with tuition reimbursement programs. The findings were clear. While most companies (nearly 40% of those surveyed) do offer some type of tuition reimbursement program, the concept as a whole seems to be vastly under utilized by the workforce and in need of reform.

During the survey, NETtime found that 50% of employees offered tuition reimbursement for ongoing education utilized the benefit. The other 50% did not use the company benefit because:

– 75% did not have time to return to school

– 25% reported their company’s program was difficult to understand

– 12.5% believed there was no financial incentive to continuing their education

– 12.5% would have received reimbursement after they completed the course and were unable to pay for classes in advance

Eighty percent of employees at companies where no tuition reimbursement option was available said that they would have used the benefit had it been made available to them. Among the remaining twenty percent, the top reasons given for why they would not utilize tuition reimbursement included:

– 40% Did not have time to go back to school

– 40% Did not have the finances to pay for courses up front, then wait for reimbursement

– 40% Feared being locked into their job by tuition reimbursement guidelines

– 20% Had no interest in continuing their education

With these results, and survey participants’ open-ended responses about tuition reimbursement programs, it is evident that the benefit could be more useful if the guidelines for use were more flexible or if companies actively encouraged continued education.

For example, there seems to be an ongoing vicious cycle of people wanting to go back to school so that they can better their career and income, yet they do not have the funds available to pay upfront for classes. Since most tuition reimbursement programs only pay employees back once the course is completed with a passing grade, the employee cannot use the benefit and therefore remains in their current situation.

Additionally, many company provided reimbursement programs only cover classes pertaining to one’s current job role. If an employee needs classes in other fields to broaden their knowledge and advance their career, these classes would not be covered under most reimbursement programs.

Of course employers need to protect their investment and try to do so with the guidelines in place around tuition reimbursement, however there needs to be a tipping point at which rules are revised to overcome barriers to use.

Do you have your own opinion of tuition reimbursement programs or ways to make them better? Let us know on NETtime’s Facebook page.

For more helpful labor law and human resource insights, readers are encouraged to subscribe to NETtime’s company blog.

Social Media Tags:tuition reimbursement programs, company benefit, hr executives, ongoing education, continued education, HR survey

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