Questions 12-22 refer to the following information.
Tuition Reimbursement: A Mutual Benefit
All employers want a well-educated workforce, and one way to accomplish that goal is to provide tuition assistance benefits to employees. Tuition assistance programs are 12 commonplace; a 2013 study showed that 61% of U.S. employers offered undergraduate tuition assistance as a benefit—but their goals and guidelines vary widely. Companies that offer tuition assistance 13 see it as a benefit both to employees and to the company. Whether employees are taking classes that are related to their careers or not, tuition assistance programs result in improved morale, 14 also better job performance, and retention.
Those who are skeptical of tuition assistance programs argue that 15 the programs cost a lot and provide very little return on the investment. Some firms have instituted a requirement that employees receiving tuition benefits must stay with the company for a specific amount of time after completing their educations. 16 In any case, such clauses are hard to enforce, and research shows that they aren't necessary. Over 80% of workers who receive tuition benefits from their employers feel an increased sense of loyalty stemming from the investment, and they are in fact less likely to 17 leave—than the average employee is.
Increased employee loyalty is not the only way that employers benefit from offering tuition assistance. The programs can also be powerful recruiting tools. Employers from the U.S. Armed Forces to Starbucks are able to attract workers who are interested in earning an education while they earn money, without having to 18 take out loans. Most companies require employees to earn a minimum grade in their classes, but student employees often find it easier to maintain their grades when they feel a responsibility to the company paying for their education, not just to themselves. Managers can also use tuition assistance programs to evaluate their employees. If an employee takes advantage of the optional benefit, the thinking 19 goes then he or she is likely to be a highly motivated and productive worker.
Some companies are increasing the value of their investment in tuition assistance programs by restricting the benefit to classes that will provide their employees with necessary or helpful job skills. 20 In addition, some employers have even gone so far as to create custom degree or certification programs. The figure shows the ways in which a company can leverage its tuition assistance program to 21 make a killing on the company's investment in the program. As shown in the figure, the most effective programs will 22 start with a strategy to manage the workforce necessary for a particular field, which will lead to a secure workforce, will provide a reliable source of talent, and will ultimately make talent development proceed productively.
Benefits of Employee Tuition Assistance Programs