A post from guest blogger, David Stelten, Financial Aid Advisor:
Did you know some employers will provide assistance to help pay for tuition, books and fees? It’s true!
Employers are placing more emphasis on education by encouraging employees to go back to school and picking up the entire tab or a percentage of it. Most companies call this an Employer Tuition Assistance or Employer Tuition Reimbursement program, and if they offer it it is usually added to their benefit packages.
Employer Tuition Assistance (ETA) is when the employer pays the funds directly to the school on behalf of the student. Employer Tuition Reimbursement (ETR) is when an employer pays the funds directly to the student after the term ends. In some cases, this would require a student to have financial aid in place to cover the initial balance, then the employer reimburses the employee with money so that the student can pay down student loan debt incurred.
We have many students attending who are getting some or all of their educational expenses paid by their employer through these programs. For most employers that have this benefit, there is a yearly limit of generally $5,250 based on IRS guidelines.
Employers often have some requirements that a student must meet to remain eligible for the benefit.
Here are some common requirements:
- The employer may require an employee to work for a specific period of time before receiving and after receiving the benefit. This means if a student leaves prior to
satisfying this requirement, they could be required to pay back all funds to their employer that were already paid out.
- The employer may require an employee to maintain a satisfactory Grade Point Average (GPA).
- The employer may require an employee to earn a grade of B or C to continue to receive the benefit. If a student is receiving ETR and gets a lower grade, the employer may not pay for that class and the employee could be required to pay the school.
- Some employers even restrict what classes or programs a student can be enrolled in.
Contact your Human Resources Department at your place of employment to find out if they have this benefit and how it works.
If your place of employment doesn’t have this program, be sure to ask about scholarship opportunities.
For more information on ETA and ETR go to: http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/employertuitionassistance.phtml