Big business finds big benefit in tuition assistance

A Who’s Who of U.S. companies have embraced tuition assistance as a core component of their benefits packages. Some details:

•    In 2012, more than 23,000 Verizon employees took advantage of the company’s offer to pay up to $8,000 a year for career-related college courses.

•    AT&T reimburses employees up to a $20,000 for courses leading to an undergraduate degree and up to $25,000 for classes toward a master’s or Ph.D.

•    GE invests $1 billion-plus each year in employee training, including tuition reimbursement for job-related courses and tuition loans for employees and their dependents.

•    Food purveyor J.M. Smucker has a 100% tuition reimbursement policy—with no limit.

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•    ExxonMobil offers full-timers 100% reimbursement for tui­­tion, books and fees for approved coursework and allows flexible work arrangements so students can fit work and school into their schedules.

•    Employees of the Publix grocery chain who work as few as 10 hours a week are eligible for tuition benefits at universities and trade schools.

•    Payroll processing giant ADP makes tuition benefit available to employees just a month after they are hired.

•    Every year, energy company Phillips 66 awards 66 college scholarships worth $16,000 each to employees’ children.

•    WellStar Health System helps prepare its employees for college with a “School at Work” program that teaches the English, math and computer skills they need to get into college.

•    General Mills allows some of its employees to take unpaid leave so they can go to school full time.