How to Ask for Employer Tuition Reimbursement


employee meeting

In this tight labor market, many employers offer tuition reimbursement benefits as a way to recruit and retain their employees. Smaller employers aren’t always able to offer this benefit. On the other hand, they may be convinced if you’re committed to their organization and they view you as a long-term asset. Whether you work for a small or large company, here’s how to sell tuition reimbursement to the people who might be able to say yes to you:

Make a Plan to Ask about Tuition Reimbursement

Before you meet with your manager, prepare the reasons your request for tuition reimbursement should be granted. Write all your talking points down so you can refer to them in your meeting. Research the program you plan to apply to, find its tuition cost, and outline the classes you plan to take. Also find out whether your company’s competitors offer tuition reimbursement and consider mentioning it during your meeting. You’re building a case that you’re worth the investment.

Schedule a Meeting about Tuition Reimbursement

Don’t just swing by your boss’s office or hope to meet up in the break room. Schedule a half hour meeting and reserve a conference space or video link so he or she won’t be interrupted by phone calls. An annual performance review is also a good time to bring up tuition reimbursement and career advancement.

State the Benefits of Tuition Reimbursement to Your Employer

Your request is more likely to be granted if your employer sees your education as benefit to them. Here are some benefits you can highlight:

  • You will learn additional skills that will enable you to take on more responsibilities at work. For example, if you work as a bookkeeper, a degree in Accounting will help qualify you to take on higher level work in accounts payables, receivables, income statements, and financial planning. You might even be able to earn an advanced certification and rise in the ranks.
  • Explain that career growth is important to you. Let them know you would consider training and education for roles that are vacant within the organization. You can even work with HR to determine where there are gaps that you might fill with more education.
  • Anticipate objections and prepare a response. Perhaps your manager is afraid classes will take time and attention away from your job or you won’t be able to work any overtime. Explain your willingness to meet the challenge. You might say, for example, that you’ll take flexible, online courses that can be taken any time of the night or day.

Consider the Benefits of Tuition Reimbursement to Your Career

While you want to pose your arguments in a way that describes the benefits to your employer, keep in mind all the benefits that higher education can offer you. It may put you in a better position for a promotion or higher salary. Or it might qualify you for other jobs if you ever decide to leave your company or get laid off.

Even if your employer agrees to pay some or all of your tuition, you will probably need to pay upfront and then ask for reimbursement when the semester ends. You might be required to earn a minimum grade or commit to stay with the company for a certain period of time to receive reimbursement. Be sure to consider pros and cons of any final arrangement, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for that tuition reimbursement. The worst they can do is say no.

At National American University, we offer online Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as certificates, in a variety of career specialties. Which one is right for your career path? Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor and don’t be afraid to ask your employer about reimbursement benefits.


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