Last month’s article, 5 Things you Need to Know About Funding Your Grad Degree, briefly addressed employer tuition assistance (ETA) as a solution to finance your education. Whether you’re completing an undergraduate degree or earning a graduate degree or certificate, ETA could significantly decrease or eliminate the cost.
When approaching the topic with your employer, lead with information about how your education will ultimately benefit the company. In short, better skilled managers who know the organization from the bottom up will make for a better organization. Before discussing ETA with your employer, prepare for the following:
- Find the right fit. Research and select the best option to fit your own career needs, as well as the organization’s needs. Decide whether a single class, certificate program, or degree program is the most direct and effective route to develop the knowledge and skills you need to move yourself and your organization forward. To help you select the right program or school, check out the Top 10 Considerations to Find the Right Program For You.
- Know the program. Once you select a program, outline exactly how the coursework aligns with your job responsibilities. Employers will want to see that your time spent in class will directly correlate to your work on the job.
- Compromise. Be prepared to discuss multiple options for tuition assistance if your employer seems hesitant about full remission or reimbursement. One option is to split the cost. Another is to be reimbursed based on grades, so that your employer sees you are excelling in the program before paying your way. Go in with alternatives in mind so you can make a case for compromise.
If your organization does not have an ETA policy in place, become a policy shaper! Your initiative will demonstrate your commitment to your personal growth as well as your investment in the well being of the organization.