Writing a Tuition Assistance Plan? Five Tips For Success

Dr. Sandy Womack
August 10, 2009 — 2,702 views  
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You may be asked to write a new tuition assistance program for your company or modify one already in existence. If so, here are 5 tips to consider:

1) Approve Schools that are Regionally Accredited. Regional accreditation is the standard for most companies' tuition assistance programs. Although there are schools listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) listings, you do no favors for your employees by reimbursing so-called "nationally accredited" schools and DETC (Distance Education Training Council) schools. Employees going to these non-regionally accredited colleges have a difficult time transferring credits and rarely can be admitted to their local state university for a graduate degree.

2) Decide if your Tuition Reimbursement Program might become a Pre-Pay Education Program. Lower paid employees may not be able to secure a loan for college tuition and wait until they are reimbursed by the company. They may not be able to put the tuition cost on a credit card or get financial aid. However, most companies favor reimbursement over pre-pay because of the idea of "shared expense" between the employee and the company. Companies also fear an abuse of corporate credits cards. The outsourced Tuition Assistance Administration Companies (EdAssist, General Physics, Edcor) have modified their technology and trained their administrators to cut down fraud and abuse of pre-pay tuition assistance.

3) Pay for any School Option that Saves Time for Employees Getting Their Degree. These options might be testing out of classes (CLEP, DANTES, Excelsior College Exams) and life/work experience options. In the long run these options save tuition dollars because employees can eliminate college classes and cost of these classes.

4) Pay for Online Classes, as well as On-Campus Classes. Online classes, certificates and degree are mainstream formats these days and are a popular way to gain education for working professionals. As long as the college is regionally accredited, it should not matter if the format is online, on-campus or hybrid (combination).

5) Contract with an Educational Counseling group to help your Employees select the Best College for their Goals, Background and Skills. Educational Counseling firms (EduPlan, College Coach, Encompass Education) can show 20% savings off a degree plan and time savings for you employees. Employees are also more likely to finish their degrees if they have had counseling, and that is the main purpose of your educational assistance program.

Dr. Sandy Womack is Director of EduPlan, an educational consulting company specializing in educational counseling for working professionals, tuition reimbursement and managed education. http://www.eduplan.org

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Dr. Sandy Womack