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The cost of college is higher than ever, and many college students graduate with five figures of student debt. According to College Board, average in-state tuition is $10,740 per year at a four-year public institution. For students attending a four-year nonprofit private school, average tuition climbs to $38,070 annually.
Some employers help reduce this financial burden for their employees through tuition reimbursement benefits. Here’s what you need to know about tuition reimbursement and where you can find jobs that pay for college.
How Tuition Reimbursement Works
Education reimbursement programs can help both employees and employers alike. Workers get a free or discounted degree, while companies can entice prospective employees to join the company and help retain top talent, particularly in highly competitive recruiting markets. Additionally, investing in existing employees by providing education opportunities is advantageous to the business.
These reimbursement programs are becoming increasingly common. Forty seven percent of employers offered tuition assistance in 2020, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Jobs that help pay for college typically require you to continue working at the company while enrolled in your degree program. Depending on your employer’s policy, you might have to pay for your tuition upfront or it might send funds directly to your school. The employer will partially or fully reimburse your tuition after you’ve successfully completed your courses.
Each employer has its own policy regarding eligibility, program criteria and other requirements. Some details to watch for include:
- Eligible school or degree program. The company might restrict which institutions qualify for the benefit. It might also restrict reimbursable tuition to programs and courses that are directly related to your job or industry.
- Academic performance. Some employers provide tiered reimbursement amounts based on the grade you earn for each course.
- Employee tenure. The tuition reimbursement benefit might only be accessible to employees who’ve been with the company for a certain amount of time—for example, those who’ve been employed with the company for a minimum of three years.
- Benefit amount limit. Not all companies offer a full tuition benefit. Some companies reimburse a percentage of your overall tuition costs.
- Ongoing employment stipulation. A company policy for reimbursement might require you to stay at the company for a predefined period (e.g. two years) after completing your program.
Be aware that if you leave the company shortly after receiving reimbursement, you might have to repay any benefit amount you’ve already received. Talk to your human resources team to learn about its policy.
10 Jobs That Pay for College
If your current employer doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement, or you’re in the market for a new job, here’s a list of jobs that help pay for college while you’re employed.
Amazon associates who’ve worked with the company for at least 90 days are eligible for the Amazon Career Choice program. The company prepays 100% of costs associated with school, including tuition, books and fees.
Participants must enroll in a program or course through an Amazon partner institution. Eligible educational opportunities include general education development (GED) and English as a second language (ESL) courses, supplemental job training, as well as associate and bachelor’s degree programs with no lifetime limit.
Boeing’s Learning Together Program offers employees up to $25,000 per year in tuition assistance for certain certifications and degree programs. You must enroll with a partner school and pursue a strategic field, such as aeronautical studies, business, human resources and manufacturing.
Starting on your first day at Boeing, you’ll have access to this benefit. The company pays the school on your behalf so you don’t have to provide funds upfront.
Full- and part-time Disney employees might be eligible for tuition assistance. Disney pays for 100% of employees’ tuition costs for courses and programs through one of its partner institutions. It also provides reimbursements for books and fees to help keep costs manageable.
Employees can pursue training in a skilled trade, enroll in a Master’s program and everything in between.
4. Home Depot
Home Depot helps pay for college in tiered amounts each year, depending on whether you’re salaried or work as a full- or part-time hourly employee. It provides an annual reimbursement benefit of up to $5,000 for salaried workers. Full-time and part-time employees can receive up to $3,000 and $1,500, respectfully. Up to 50% of tuition, book and fee costs can be reimbursed.
A variety of degree and technical programs are eligible; however, they must meet policy guidelines and be approved in advance.
Through its partnership with Guild Education, Lowe’s also offers a competitive tuition reimbursement program. Full-time and part-time associates can earn a college degree in select programs, as well as enroll in certificate and high school courses.
Eligible associates can receive up to $2,500 in tuition assistance per year, which can also be used to cover books and fees.
Employees who’ve worked at Publix for 90 days can participate in the company’s tuition reimbursement program. Its jobs pay for college undergraduate programs in certain fields of study, individual courses and occupational or trade programs.
Participants enrolled in an accredited college or university can receive $4,000 in reimbursement per calendar year with a maximum $16,000 lifetime limit.
Qualcomm provides full tuition reimbursement for employees who are working toward an undergraduate or graduate degree. You can attend any accredited school; some online courses are also covered.
Starbucks jobs provide 100% tuition assistance for tenured part- and full-time employees who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree for the first time. Costs for books or other non-tuition expenses are not covered.
The benefit is only offered for Arizona State University’s online programs, though the school offers more than 100 degree programs to choose from.
Target offers tuition assistance to part-time and full-time employees. Participants who pursue a specified program within its Debt-Free Education pathway can have 100% of costs covered by the company. With this opportunity, you can attend one of 40 partner schools and choose from more than 250 degree programs.
If you choose to enroll in an area of study outside of those offered through Debt-Free Education, Target provides up to $5,250 in upfront assistance per year for non-master’s degrees and up to $10,000 annually for master’s degrees.
10. Waste Management
Waste Management employees who enroll in relevant educational programs through a partner institution can receive tuition assistance. It covers 100% of costs for tuition, books and fees toward a GED, college prep courses and certain undergraduate degree programs. Even spouses and dependents can take advantage of this benefit.
Employees pursuing a master’s degree can receive up to $12,000 per year toward educational expenses.
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