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Tuition reimbursement: How do you convince the company you’re worth the investment?

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Question: “Our company has a tuition reimbursement program and I've inquired about taking advantage of that little-used benefit.  (I'm currently an executive secretary with 10-plus years’ experience, and I'm ready to finally get my degree.) My managers have requested a "marketing package" to sell them on it.  (I work in the corporate executive offices, and I plan to work toward a BS degree in business administration.) How should I market myself and what should I include?” — KNL

Comments

KNL -

I think one great thing to do is present a SWOT analysis on your self. Outline things that pertain to an increased education and the value-add to the company. Also, I would recommend gathering information specific to annual tuition costs, the degree plan you intend to pursue, and remember to include details on the business courses that make up that specific degree plan. Present this information with your SWOT analysis. Lastly, I would recommend taking a look at the company's growth potential and current needs within the organization related to staffing. If you can project how you think business training will benefit the company in specific departments or business strategies in the future you present a better case for preparation today.

Basically, you have to sell yourself and your abilities to the company. I too am an executive assistant of 10+ years. I am making good use of my company's tuition reimbursement program and plan on doing so through my Bachelors. I am about a year and a half into my studies. It takes A LOT of hard work, but rest assured that if you can figure out a way to make a presentation to your bosses you will be well prepared for your classes.

The tuition reimbursement program at my company has the following criteria: Must be a regular employee, actively working (not on leave) at least 20 hours per week and must be in good standing (not on a coaching for success plan). Employees are eligible for: Undergraduate: All job levels are eligible for undergraduate course work. Graduate: An employee's current position must require a graduate level degree. This level of degree and program must be necessary to the job. Applicability of Class to Position's Responsibilities: Undergraduate: Ensure the responsibilities of the employee's current or aspired position and the class(es) or degree program are related. Graduate: Graduate level work must be a requirement of the employee's cur-rent position only and the classes/degree program must be directly applicable to the major accountabilities of the employee's current position to maintain or improve these job related skills. Yearly Maximum Benefit: Undergraduate: $5,250; Graduate: $10,000. Both programs include tuition, books, lab fees; however not parking, registration fees, graduation fees. The program is administered by an outside firm: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.


My company has a tuition reimbursement policy that reimburses up to $1500/year towards an associate/undergrad degree for full time employees. As long as it is used towards a degree that is generally related to the company's busines, telecom, which is pretty broad, there is never a problem in getting approval.

You need to present how getting the degree will improve the company - not just you as a person. They want to know that the investment that they are making (paying for your education) will result in a better bottom line for the organization. Lay out how your education will help you do your job better, improve process functions in the office, etc. If you focus too much on what the degree will do for you, they may be less likely to foot the bill. Also, if they do not have a detailed tuition reimbursement policy, offer to sign a contract to work 'x' number of years after graduation or you'll pay back the tuition if you leave before that term is complete. That gives them reassurance that you are trying to improve the company and not just trying to get a free education then leave for a better position elsewhere.

My company's policy is tuition reimbursement is 2/3 of tuition (no fees or books) up to $1,500 per year (there are additional benefits for those who attend the college which with we are affiliated). You must work 1 year past the date the last class finished in order to not owe any of the tuition back to the company.

Good luck and congratulations on making the decision to further your education. You won't regret it.

I was clueless when Angela mentioned a SWOT analysis. So I looked it up and found this great website: http://www.quintcareers.com/SWOT_Analysis.html
This may help you in what you're trying to accomplish. Good luck!

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