Helping employees improve their skill sets benefits employers too by enabling them to attract top talent and show employees that they value their dedication to the company.
For this reason, many organizations have begun to offer tuition reimbursement programs as an employee perk. In fact, a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 92% of US companies have some type of educational benefit program.
These programs vary and may cover a range of educational courses, from IT skills to corporate language training. One thing they all have in common, though, is that they offer employees money for taking courses that lead to a certification or degree while they’re employed with the company.
While some programs may cover the full amount of the employee’s class and registration fees plus additional expenses, others might simply cover a portion of the tuition fees.
Not sure whether you are eligible for tuition reimbursement programs or even whether your company offers them as a perk? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Check the company website
The company website is usually a good place to begin your search when looking for information regarding the tuition reimbursement programs your company may offer.
Before you enroll in any courses, however, be sure to read the fine print regarding the program requirements and limitations to ensure that the educational institution and credits will qualify for reimbursement. There may also be a requirement to remain employed for a certain period of time after you’ve completed your course.
2. Speak with your manager
If the company website doesn’t offer enough information regarding tuition reimbursement programs, it’s a good idea to speak with your manager or HR department, so they can point you in the right direction. In order to get the most out of your company’s reimbursement program, you should also ask your HR representative whether there are any specific certifications or business language programs that could lead to pay raises or promotions within the company.
3. Talk to coworkers
Although your manager or HR representative will be able to provide specifics on how reimbursement happens and whether the courses need to be directly related to your job, your coworkers will be able to give you their personal insight into what the experience was like. With this in mind, if you’re looking to take advantage of the employee benefits your organization offers, it’s worth asking around to find out if any of your coworkers have completed an educational course paid for by the company.
4. Subscribe to company newsletter
If you haven’t already done so, it’s worth subscribing to your company’s newsletter to ensure you’re receiving up-to-date information about potential opportunities for tuition reimbursement. Receiving timely announcements regarding tuition reimbursement will also help you get the timing right, as classes taken later in the year are typically only reimbursed the following calendar year. There may also be paperwork that needs to be filled out and signed weeks or even months before your course actually begins.
5. Attend workshops
Many companies offer professional development workshops or short training programs, and taking advantage of these could give you a taste of what a full training program might look like. Attending company workshops can also give you a better idea of the specific courses you might like to enroll in and the skills you can expect to become proficient in.
What if your employer doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement?
Even if your employer doesn’t currently offer tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit, it might still be possible to negotiate with them. There’s a chance they would be open to it, but simply don’t consider it a priority since it hasn’t been brought up before.
If you do approach your employer to discuss tuition reimbursement, it’s worth spending some time familiarizing yourself with some of the ways the course or program you are interested in would strengthen your skills and provide value.
You may also want to highlight some of the ways tuition reimbursement can benefit your employer, such as attracting and retaining top talent, enabling employees to do their jobs more efficiently and increasing overall job satisfaction.
Are you an employer looking to offer a language course as part of your tuition reimbursement program? Or perhaps you are a busy professional looking to upskill? Berlitz offers a variety of business language programs, both in the form of flexible group courses and private lessons that can be tailored to your specific needs. Find out more.