From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Dec. 5 — Tuition assistance can help employers hold on to employees and improve their skills, but the programs must be designed properly, consultants say.
“Tuition assistance benefits, like student loan assistance, college coaching for families, and college savings assistance, are part of benefits that employers offer to assist employees with the cost of higher and ongoing education,” Betsy Dill, senior partner and financial wellness advisory leader at Mercer LLC’s Los Angeles office, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail Dec. 5. “Tuition assistance addresses the cost of additional education, training and certifications that may be required on the job.”
Two factors are driving employers’ tuition assistance and reimbursement programs, Jonathan Corke, senior director of enterprise solutions and partnerships at EdAssist, said Nov. 30 during a Chief Learning Officer magazine webinar. These factors are the tight labor market and the need to improve employee skills, he said.
Employers should decide whether they will pay employees directly to reimburse them for tuition expenses or follow the “emerging trend” of paying the school directly, said Mark Ward, vice president and general manager of tuition management company EdAssist. Paying schools directly avoids the problem of employees waiting for their reimbursement, he said.
The policy design of many employers’ tuition assistance programs needs an overhaul because they may be outdated, making the explanatory documents very dry and “not employee facing,” Ward said during the webinar.
Employers should ask themselves what they are “trying to accomplish,” he said. They need to be clear on both program goals, such as how much money will be spent, and company goals such as improving employee retention.
The policy “has to be user-friendly,” clear and concise, said Tracy Beard, head of tuition administration at EdAssist. Goals and deadlines should be clear to users, she said.
Tuition assistance programs need to be marketed to prospective employees to distinguish the organization from its competitors, Corke and Ward said. Compliance systems need to be in place to make sure the program is administered properly and guard against occasional fraud, Beard said.
These systems protect employees too, Corke said.
Less obvious perhaps is that “academic guidance is essential to success for adult learners,” as Beard said. Employees need advice that is in line with the company’s goals in funding their tuition, she said.
A third-party administrator can provide crucial help to the employer, Dill said, “not simply the help with validating expenses, and facilitating payment—though better compliance and reduction in administrative costs are a benefit. A third-party administrator can also work with the employer and employee to ensure that the higher ed/technical training institution, curriculum and course selection lead to the desired results,” as well as data analytics and benchmarking to support strategizing and decision-making.
EdAssist is part of Watertown, Mass.-based Bright Horizons, a provider of education and child care services.
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)