Companies Use Tuition Reimbursement to Get a Competitive Edge
Study finds that nearly 85% of companies offer tuition assistance to employees
Even as the national unemployment rate lingers at nearly 10% and the economy continues to teeter along the line between recovery and recession, college enrollment rates are booming. Americans are realizing now is the time to finish their education, and employers are stepping up to help. The Benefits USA 2010/2011 survey, conducted by Compdata Surveys, found 84.7% of companies offer tuition reimbursement to their employees. Information was collected from nearly 4,500 benefit plans covering over 6 million employees across the country.
Just over 38% of companies offer tuition reimbursement to management employees. Slightly fewer (37.9%) reimburse technical or professional employees, while 37.4% extend the benefit to administrative staff. About 33% of companies reimburse hourly employees, and close to half (45.3%) of organizations make it available to all employees.
“The economic state of the past couple of years has amplified individuals’ awareness of the importance of education,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys. “Companies offering tuition reimbursement are not only providing a valuable benefit to employees, but they are creating a more valuable workforce, giving them a competitive edge.”
Requirements and Limitations
To receive tuition reimbursement, employees are often required to meet certain conditions. For example, 63.4% of companies require their employees to continue working for them for an average of 15 months after being reimbursed. Over 86% require that employees take certain courses to meet reimbursement guidelines.
Most organizations surveyed also impose annual maximums on the amount they will repay. Only 27.2% reported they don’t cap the amount employees can be reimbursed for tuition. Maximum amounts vary by region. Companies in the Northeast reimburse the most, $4,183 per year, followed by those in the Southeast at $3,871. Organizations in the West have an average annual reimbursement maximum of $3,731, followed closely by those in the South Central region, at $3,716. Respondents in the Midwest report reimbursing employees the least, $3,624.
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