The Hidden Benefits of Tuition Assistance

by | Oct 19, 2023

At the beginning of this year, Harvard Business School predicted that talent upskilling would be one of the most significant trends to shape the workplace in 2023. Keeping great employees – and providing good employees with the tools to be great – is crucial for any company concerned about turnover and retention.  And these days, what company isn’t concerned about those?

Upskilling can take many forms, but increasingly, employers are returning to a tried and tested tool: tuition reimbursement. A 2022 survey by SHRM found that, post-COVID, 48% of employers offer undergraduate or graduate tuition assistance as a benefit. More importantly, employers are extending this benefit to hourly and front-line workers, not just managers or senior staff.  That means that higher education opportunities such as online certificates, part-time programs, and accelerated degrees are particularly well-suited to employees and employers.

As the Wall Street Journal recently discussed in a Your Money Briefing podcast, tuition reimbursement or assistance programs benefit companies in multiple ways, such as improving retention rates and lowering recruitment costs. Beyond the quantitative aspects, companies who invest in education may find that their employees’ newly acquired skills facilitate more internal promotions, which may increase employee satisfaction and loyalty.

With the growth of tuition assistance, professional programs are wise to recruit from this applicant pool of highly motivated candidates for whom the stress of paying for school has been removed or at least lessened.  Additionally, students receiving reimbursement are often incentivized by their employers to finish their programs, and external accountability can make them stronger students in the classroom.

“Before and throughout the pandemic, we consistently see motivated, working professionals want to accelerate their career by gaining skills via graduate programs. And successful, driven people excel at maximizing the resources at their disposal, including employer-provided benefits such as tuition reimbursement,” says Mike Fogarty, founder of MF Digital Marketing. “These individuals have clear objectives for returning to school, taking what they learn, and applying those skills back to the workplace, enriching their colleagues along the way. They also make for engaged learners who become strong advocates for their program upon graduation.”

Even as tuition reimbursement expands across corporate America, such benefits are still not as plentiful for employees at smaller companies, nonprofits, startups, and other work environments outside of large businesses.  In those instances, employees may have to become their best advocates, working with their supervisor and human resources to demonstrate the value of professional development to the bottom line and long-term organizational goals.  This blog post offers some straightforward tips to help connect those dots.

Turning employees with tuition benefits into applicants for your program is easier than you might think.  The MF Digital team is skilled in creating campaigns designed to reach individuals whose goals and resources align with what your program has to offer.  Contact us to learn more.

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