More companies are offering tuition reimbursement for employees to help pay for college. Taking advantage of an employer-paid tuition assistance is a great way to help pay for college and reduce the amount of student loan debt you’ll owe. Companies are also offering student loan repayment assistance as well. Learn which companies offer tuition reimbursement, how it works, and what you should know.
More than half of employers offer employer-paid tuition assistance, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
How does employer tuition reimbursement work?
The details concerning how much tuition assistance a company offers depends on the company. For example, Home Depot currently pays 50% of cost of tuition and fees while UPS offers up to $5,250 per year for employees.
Many companies have stipulations for receiving tuition assistance. They may require an employee to have worked at the company a specific amount of time, agree to work there until a certain date and limit it to certain positions. Typically, companies require the employee to agree to continue working for the company after they graduate, one year for each year of tuition assistance. Some companies also specify the specific school that is included in the tuition reimbursement, the program of study and whether it’s for an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Tuition assistance is often provided in the form of a reimbursement after the class is over. Some companies will reimburse only if the student receives a particular grade, such as at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
How do you pay for the rest?
If your employer’s tuition assistance doesn’t cover all expenses, there are other ways to pay for college. These include:
- Scholarships: Apply for as many scholarships as you can. This is free money you don’t have to pay back. Sallie Mae and Scholarships.com have free scholarship searches.
- Savings: Use any savings you have or your parents may have put aside for your college education.
- Work while you’re in school: Another option to pay for school is to attend college part-time and work. It will take longer to graduate, but it may mean less debt upon graduation. Or you could work less and continue to go to school full-time. Academic performance may suffer if you work full-time while enrolled full-time.
- Grants: Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for any grants, which is free money you don’t need to pay back.
- Federal Student Loans: Once you exhaust all other resources, if you need to borrow student loans, borrow federal student loans first. These are often a lower interest rate. Subsidized student loans means the interest is paid while you’re in school and doesn’t accrue if you have to pause payments because of unemployment or economic hardship. Federal student loans are also better because they have a lot of perks that private loans don’t. These include an option for student loan forgiveness (having your loans cancelled), reduced payments based on your income, Joe Biden’s proposal for loan forgiveness and the option to pause payments if you lose your job or are having financial difficulties.
- Private Student Loans: Once you have exhausted federal student loans, you may need to borrow private student loans.
All student loans need to be repaid, plus interest. Keep costs as low as possible through college so you can borrow as little as possible. Learn how to borrow responsibly.
These Companies Offer Tuition Assistance for Employees
- Bank of America
- Barnes and Noble
- Best Buy
- Capital One
- Electronic Arts
- Home Depot
- Kaiser Permanente
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
- Marco’s Pizza
- Papa John’s
- Pizza Hut
- Proctor & Gamble
- Taco Bell
- TD Industries
- Wells Fargo
- White Castle
At Savingforcollege.com, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.