5 Reasons to Offer Employee Tuition Reimbursement

Employer tuition reimbursement problems are growing in popularity among employees who want to earn a degree without going into debt. During the pandemic, many employers are expanding tuition reimbursement programs as a way to attract and retain top talent — candidates are attracted to jobs that offer the opportunity for professional development, especially development that can be transferable to other jobs.

If your company isn’t offering tuition reimbursement yet, it’s time that changed. It’s not just your employees who will thrive when they’re supported to improve themselves — your whole company will benefit from a more skilled workforce and a demonstrated commitment to employee development. Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to offer your employees tuition reimbursement.

Attract Top Talent

These days, it takes more than a competitive salary, a 401(k), and a health insurance plan to attract the best talent. Good candidates want ample vacation days that they can actually use, flex time, remote work options, and opportunities for continued training and development. Clever, hard working people will apply to work at your company because they see it as a stepping stone to an education and a better life — and that means you’ll have a better crop of candidates to choose from in hiring.

Improve Your Workforce

If you want your employees to be more educated, the easiest way to get there is to educate them yourself. Employees are more likely to go back to school for an online bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree, if they can get it for free or cheap using tuition reimbursement — and with each course an employee takes, they’ll become a little more skilled. You’ll benefit from a more qualified workforce, and you’ll begin to see those improvements right away, because employees won’t wait until they have their degrees in hand to start implementing the things they’re learning in class.

Boost Retention

You might be concerned that employees will move on to better jobs elsewhere as soon as the ink has dried on their new diplomas. Most companies get around this problem by requiring employees to stay with the company for a few years after last claiming tuition reimbursement, or risk paying their own tuition after all. But that’s not the only reason why employees will be more likely to stick around if you offer tuition reimbursement.

For one thing, if an employee wants to finish a degree or earn a new degree, online, in their spare time from a full-time job, it’s going to take them a while. Most people won’t have time to take more than one or two courses at a time, what with family responsibilities, a full-time work week, home maintenance, and so on. Employees will stay with the company longer just to finish their studies, and avoid taking on student debt.

Save on Taxes

The IRS will allow your company to deduct up to $5,250 each calendar year for each employee that takes advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits. Costs you can deduct include those for tuition and related expenses, like books, tools and supplies, and even lodging, transportation, and meals required to allow employees to attend a qualifying course. If the courses are job-related and conditional to an employee’s employment, there is no limit to the dollar amount you can deduct for related expenses.

Keep Employees Engaged

Employees who take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs are the kind of people who tend to get bored easily and may look for more challenging work with a different organization if they’re not feeling challenged in their current roles. Tuition reimbursement encourages these employees to direct their energy toward professional development in a way that will benefit the company and help them continue to feel passionate about their work. Supporting employees’ development is the best way to help them feel appreciated and valued — it’s saying that you believe in your employees enough to invest in their futures, even after they leave the company.

Employee tuition reimbursement is one of the most sought-after perks you can offer, and it’s one that will pay for itself quickly in terms of boosting the skillset of your workforce and fostering greater retention and engagement. Show your employees you’re committed to their development — help them pay for school.