There is more than one way to pay for your education. Take, for example, Daniel Watts, who earned over $11,000 winning the game show “Wheel of Fortune,” which he used for school expenses.
While you don’t necessarily need to put yourself under the pressure of a game show to get money, you do need to think creatively when it comes to paying for your education. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for financing your education. Namely, asking your company to cover some of the cost of tuition.
This guide will walk you through tuition reimbursement programs and point you to companies that offer them. And if your company doesn’t offer one, we also have some tips for asking your boss to consider financing your graduate degree.
You can also jump down to the infographic to quickly scan some companies offering tuition reimbursement programs and some other corporate job perks.
What Is Tuition Reimbursement?
The promise of a paid degree seems far fetched, but trust us, it exists. It’s called tuition reimbursement.
Tuition reimbursement is an employee benefit offered by some companies — it provides payment for a portion or all of your education tuition fees. The very first step in securing any money this way is checking your company’s policies. Understand if it’s an option for you and how your company manages these benefits.
One thing that you might discover in reviewing your company’s policies is how much they pay for tuition reimbursement. There are several factors that go into how much companies pay their employees for education and career development. Such considerations include the type of degree you’re after, your academic standing at school, if you work full or part-time and the company’s size and bandwidth. We’ll get into the numbers below when we go over some companies’ tuition reimbursement programs.
Another important thing to note is that not all tuition reimbursement programs function the same way. Some involve you paying the tuition fee upfront and then being compensated by your company after that payment. However, some companies will pay their contribution to the fee first and have you cover the rest. It’s important to be aware of your company’s policy when it comes to payment timing.
20 Companies with Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Tuition reimbursement programs not only benefit you, but they also make sense for your company. According to the Lumina Foundation, education reimbursement programs have a 129% return on investment, which means for every dollar the company invests, it generates an additional $1.29.
Here’s a list of companies that offer some great MBA tuition reimbursement programs. Of course, there are plenty more, but this list is concentrated on companies in the business field:
- Amazon. “Amazonians” can participate in the Career Choice program and have the company pre-pay 95% of their tuition. They will also be reimbursed for 95% of textbook costs.
- Apple. Apple will reimburse full-time employees up to $5,250 per year towards tuition. They also match charitable contributions, which is great for employees that are looking to get into the social impact space.
- AT&T. For employees that are after an undergraduate degree, they can get up to $20,000 at AT&T. Employees pursuing a graduate degree can receive up to $25,000. Textbook and exam prep fees can also be covered by the company.
- Baird. The asset management firm and investment bank pays 100% of its employees’ MBA tuition through the Baird Scholar program. The program is open to standout associates at the firm who have excelled in their first few years of work.
- Bank of America. Once employees have spent six months with the company, the company offers up to $5,250 a year for courses relevant to their position or for degree programs. Once training is complete, employees also receive access to Bank of America educational resources including e-books, web-based trainings and instructor-led classes.
- Boeing. The airplane manufacturer offers an unlimited annual amount for employees studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
- Best Buy: For employees that work up to 32 hours a week for a minimum of six months, they become eligible for Best Buy’s tuition reimbursement options. For undergraduates, that includes up to $3,500 per year in tuition reimbursement, and for graduate students, the number caps at $5,250 per year. The company will also pay for other fees involved in coursework (tutoring, studying prep, etc.), up to $325 for undergraduate students and $525 for graduate students per year.
- Deloitte. Participants of the company’s Graduate School Assistance Program receive a full tuition reimbursement after two years of employment. Other benefits include a job offer upon degree completion, a technology stipend, discounted price on GMAT preparation materials, application support and career development support.
- Fidelity. The company has saved students over $38 million in school loans through its educational offerings. Employees that work for the company six months and longer can receive up to $10,000 a year in contributions for work-related courses and university. The bank also has a student loan assistance program and retirement assistance program that will match up to 7% of employee 401k accounts.
- Ford. The motor vehicles company offers an Education Assistance Plan that gives employees up to $6,000 per year. They also have programs for personal development costs and textbook reimbursement.
- Geico. The company offers more than an entertaining, talking reptile. It offers its full-time employees up to $5,250 per year in tuition assistance. It also covers outside costs like application fees, coursework material and textbooks.
- Intel. The tech giant will reimburse employees up to $50,000 for their degree, with no annual limit. They also offer free tutoring and have scholarships available for employees’ children.
- Intuit. The financial software company offers its full-time employees up to $5,000 per calendar year. And for part-time employees, they still cover some costs, reimbursing up to $2,500 per calendar year.
- McDonald’s. The golden arches also has a golden tuition reimbursement program. For those who’ve worked at the fast-food joint for more than 90 days and meet a minimum of 15 hours of work per week, they can get up to $2,500 per year in tuition reimbursement. That number increases to $3,000 per year for managers. However, tuition assistance is only applicable for community colleges, universities or trade schools.
- Oracle. The software and technology company offers its full-time employees up to $5,250 per calendar year for courses related to their position.
- Raytheon. This defense technology company offers its eligible, full-time employees as much as $10,000 a year for their tuition fees. They also offer college planning programs for employee dependents.
- Smuckers. Smuckers — the company that bought you those iconic peanut butter and jelly uncrustable sandwiches — offers some seriously delicious tuition assistance as well. Eligible employees can get full tuition reimbursed for company-approved courses. Children of employees can also apply for scholarships and get up to $3,000 paid toward their education.
- The Boston Consulting Group. According to Transparent Career, BCG will offer full tuition reimbursement for employees who plan on remaining at the company after they get their degrees. They also offer a Social Impact Leave of Absence if to take a few months off to volunteer or do some social good.
- UPS. UPS workers have a lifetime cap of $25,000 for education expenses, and eligibility begins on day one for both part-time and full-time employees.
- Wells Fargo. The bank encourages continuous learning by reimbursing employees up to $5,000 annually for tuition. The company also has scholarship opportunities for the children of employees which reward eligible students up to $3,000 per year.
This is only a handful of firms that offer tuition assistance. According to the Lumina Foundation, 56% of firms have some type of tuition reimbursement program. So, if you’re considering business school, be sure to check if your company falls in that wedge of the pie by reviewing your employee benefit package closely.
How to Ask for Tuition Reimbursement If Your Company Doesn’t Offer It
If your company doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement, not all hope of your MBA dreams is lost. Looking to pursue an online degree at a lower cost is a good idea.
However, if you have your heart set on campus learning or if the online tuition is still out of your price range, consider asking your employer about tuition reimbursement. Here are some steps to think about before sitting down with your boss:
- Review your company’s policies. Read through your company’s policies with a critical eye for things like career development, educational aid benefits or tax benefits for schooling. There might be different phrasing for tuition reimbursement that goes overlooked or a third party takes care of those things. So, before you have a conversation with your boss, do your homework and review the company’s policies and benefits.
- Assess the cost of your MBA. Next, assess the cost of your MBA. Do you absolutely need the help of your employer to cover it? Could you come up with another way to fund your MBA? Is there a cheaper alternative? Gather all this information before you talk to your boss.
- Put together your pitch. You’ve crunched the numbers and read the fine print, but it still looks like you need to turn to your company for help. Now, it’s time to prepare the pitch. You’ll want to have a case prepared including the company policy, the cost of your MBA program, the amount you’re asking for and a suggested plan on how to move forward. Additionally, you’ll have to reason the return on the investment. Make clear how the skills you aim to learn will directly benefit the company.
- Discuss it with your boss. By this point, you’ve polished your case. When pitching it to your boss, make sure your passion comes through. If going to business school is your dream and money stands in the way, it’s in your employer’s best interest to help out — remind them of that. And if the discussion doesn’t go your way, be sure to ask questions as to why and if there are any alternatives.
Asking your company for tuition reimbursement is one of the many ways you can alleviate the financial pressure of paying for your education. Especially if you’re considering a top business school, you’ll want to explore all your options. Your education is valuable and it shouldn’t come at a personal, irreparable cost.