When you're looking for a job, the biggest number to consider is your hourly wage or annual salary. But the benefits a company offers, from health insurance to tuition reimbursement, can also make a big difference to your monthly bills and are worth factoring into your job decision.
Company Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Many companies offer tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits package. Here's how it typically works: an employee pays up front for college, graduate, or continuing education classes.
Then, once the class or semester is complete, the employer will refund a portion of the money spent—or the full amount.
Why Employers Offer Tuition Benefits
There are several incentives for companies to offer this perk:
- Like any benefit, it helps attract and retain the best employees.
- Relevant coursework can sharpen workers' skills and know-how, strengthening the company.
- Tuition reimbursement is tax deductible up to $5,250 per employee per year, making this program cost-effective for companies.
How Tuition Reimbursement Programs Work
Implementation of this program varies significantly from company to company.
Some reimburse for any educational classes. Others require that coursework is done through specific schools to be eligible for reimbursement. And, some companies may only cover tuition costs for approved classes.
Companies may require a certain grade to qualify for reimbursement, or that employees remain with the company for a set period of time following the completion of the class to qualify for reimbursement.
Some companies may cover the costs associated with classes, such as textbooks or internet connection fees.
Companies Offering Tuition Reimbursement as a Benefit
From fast food chains to telecommunications companies to banks, these are some of the top companies that pay workers' education costs.
As part of its benefits package, AT&T offers tuition assistance—it's available only for approved education costs, and the company does not offer details on how much assistance is available or other details on the program.
Employees at this health benefits company are eligible for up to $5,000 a year in reimbursement for tuition, textbooks, and other education-related fees.
At this oil giant, there are many requirements for eligibility, but tuition reimbursement is a generous 90 percent of the costs of tuition, fees, and books. Among other requirements, employees must get approval for the classes in advance of registration and receive a passing grade.
Both eligible hourly and salaried employees at this fast-food chain are eligible for up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement. As well, Chipotle partnered with Guild Education, which offers online classes, programs, and degrees from a variety of universities.
Tuition reimbursement rates for Home Depot employees vary by role—salaried employees can get up to $5,000 annually, while full-time hourly employees are reimbursed up to $3,000, and part-time hourly employees can get up to $1,500 back.
The airline runs a program known as JetBlue Scholars—employees can apply to enroll, and once accepted, take approved online courses. To be eligible, employees must have worked at JetBlue for two years, and have prior college credits in place.
Proctor & Gamble
P&G, makers of a vast range of consumer and household goods, offers what they describe as a "generous" tuition reimbursement program.
The J.M. Smucker's company makes more than jam—its brands include big names like Folgers, Pillsbury, and Meow Mix. The company offers reimbursement for some tuition costs for company-approved college courses.
All benefits-eligible United States employees of this coffee purveyor can have their full-time college tuition covered, essentially a free bachelor's degree. One important note on this program: Employees can only study at Arizona State University's online program.
Part-time UPS employees who work in package handling can participate in the company's Earn and Learn Program, covering up to $25,000 in college expenses (each year, the program reimburses a maximum of $5,250 per employee). According to the company website, employees are eligible for this perk from their start date. (Other education assistance programs are available for employees in different roles.)
The banking giant offers up to $5,000 in annual (and eligible) tuition expenses.
Verizon, the telecommunications giant, offers tuition reimbursement to employees.
CONSIDER MORE THAN TAKE-HOME PAY When reviewing job offers, keep the entire package, including benefits, in mind.
MANY COMPANIES OFFER TUITION REIMBURSEMENT If you work for a small or newly launched company, check with your HR department to see if they'll consider adding this perk.
COVERAGE VARIES Not all tuition reimbursement plans are the same—check the details to see how much is covered, eligibility requirements, and reimbursement limits.