Tips for Using Employer-Paid Tuition Assistance

Seven tips to assist in determining how much, what type of education, grade requirements, employee status, and other factors for receiving employer-paid tuition assistance.

One of the many options for paying for continuing education is to use tuition assistance funds provided by employers. According to experts from, More than 50 per cent of all employers with a minimum of 100 employers offer tuition assistance. However, employers with fewer employees often offer tuition funding.

The quickest method of determining if a company offers tuition assistance is to review the company’s employee handbook. A second option is to visit or call the office of human relations, benefits section to determine if any type of assistance is offered to employees. The important point is that an employee must be proactive in obtaining these funds; companies do not typically advertise the fact that funding is available.

Seven tips for obtaining employer tuition assistance

The following seven tips are provided as guidelines for taking advantage of this free source of funding, along with other sources of free money for continuing education.

Determine how much the employer will pay – the maximum amount of tuition assistance per employee not subject to federal withholding is $5,250 a year. Most employers are not going to exceed this amount and in many cases, they offer reduced tuition aid to employees.

In many cases, employers are willing to only pay 50 percent of the tuition costs, although sometimes they will offer 100 percent reimbursement. Employers typically limit tuition aid to one course at a time or only two courses a year.

Determine what training expenses the employer is willing to support – for example, does the aid only pay for tuition, tuition, and fees, or tuition, fees, and textbooks? Many schools today have tacked on some pretty hefty fees to avoid raising tuition. In addition, the cost of the best books is beyond belief in many cases; however, there are ways to save on college textbooks.

Determine what type of education the employer is willing to support – in most cases employers are only willing to pay for continuing education courses and microlearning lessons related to increasing employee job skills or preparing for advancement within the company. They will not pay to help an employee change careers.

Determine grade requirements – in most cases, employers place grade incentives to receive tuition assistance. Such as an “A” receives 100 percent tuition assistance, a “B” receives 75 percent, a “C” receives 50 percent, and anything lower receives no assistance.

Determine How the Employer Pays Tuition Assistance – in some cases, employers pay in advance and require a copy of the final grade report to avoid refunding the employer. However, in most cases, the employee must pay for the course in advance and the employer reimburses the employee once they receive the final grade report from the school.

Determine the Type of School – most employers require the school offering the training or courses must be certified by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Determine if Length of Employment is a Factor – typically the employee must be beyond the designated probationary period or may even need to be employed by the company for a specific number of years to receive assistance.

Making connection with employer-paid tuition assistance

Employers offer tuition aid to employees who seek to improve their skills and desire to advance within the company. This free source of money for continuing education, along with federal aid, is an opportunity that all eligible employees must take advantage of today. The key to long-term employment in most companies is remaining current and relevant in the mission of the company. This is accomplished through completing continuing education courses and programs.