How do I get Employer Tuition Reimbursement?

Lainie Petersen

To get an education reimbursement from an employer, you will need to ask for it. Depending on where you work, your employer may have carefully-crafted reimbursement policies or you may need to dig a bit to receive employer tuition reimbursement. In situations in which your employer has a reimbursement program, you may need to complete paperwork, demonstrate that your classwork is pertinent to your job, and show proof of completing the course with a passing grade. If your employer does not offer a formal tuition reimbursement program, you may need to make a special case for your request.

Workers often have to choose classes or degrees related to the industry they work in to be eligible for tuition reimbursement.
Workers often have to choose classes or degrees related to the industry they work in to be eligible for tuition reimbursement.

A good place to begin your quest for tuition reimbursement is in your employee handbook. The handbook should inform you if such a program exists and explain the application process. If it doesn't, you can visit your employer's benefits or human resources department. If you work for a very small company, you may need to ask your supervisor about employer tuition reimbursement.

If your employer does reimburse employees for tuition, you should find out the exact requirements of the program. In many cases, you will need to fill out an application that is approved by both your supervisor and possibly a company executive. In cases where your company does not have a formal program, you should still ask if the company would consider your request, particularly if you believe that the education you'll receive will help you do your job better.

Some companies are stricter than others when it comes to approving courses for employer tuition reimbursement. You may need to document that the course or courses you are taking are directly related to your job duties. If the course you choose is not directly related to your job duties, but you feel that taking the course will assist you in advancing your career, ask your employer to make an exception. For example, you can point out that the course will enable you to complete a degree program, which may be a requirement for some jobs in your company. Once you complete the course, you'll need to submit appropriate paperwork to get your employer tuition reimbursement check.

Many schools have a policy of requiring students to pre-pay for their classes regardless of whether or not the student is eligible for employer tuition reimbursement. This is because the school does not want to risk losing money if an employer withdraws aid or the student becomes unemployed. Contact your school to find out its policy on reimbursement. It is also a good idea to contact the financial aid office to find out if employer tuition reimbursement affects your eligibility for grants, loans, or scholarships. If it does, you'll need to run the numbers to make sure receiving tuition reimbursement won't cost you more money than it saves.

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