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Getting Your Company to Pay For Your Education - in a Tight Economy

Oct 5, 2009 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

In tough times, companies are looking for ways to save money—not spend it. If you’ve been counting on your company to pay your tuition for a new degree, certification or training program, it may be a tougher sell now than in years past. Still, an educated workforce can help any company get ahead—even in a tight economy. Here are a few ways you can convince your company to pay for your education—despite tough times.

Focus on how it will benefit them

Maybe your company cares about your personal development, and maybe it doesn’t. But don’t go into a meeting with your boss assuming that it does. Your company may bill itself as one that leads the industry in people development, but chances are when you mention your college education, the only thing your boss will see is dollar signs.  Keep the focus on how educating you will benefit the company—preferably in terms of their bottom line, not soft benefits like employee loyalty.

Tie it in to your company’s profitability

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If your company is being affected by tough economic conditions, they’re going to look especially hard at expenses and where to cut—so promote your tuition reimbursement as an investment that will directly benefit them. Explain to them how the skills you learn in classes will directly impact their profitability—in terms of money saved as well as money earned. Bring specific examples of other employees with the same skills and the money they saved or earned for their companies. Bring graphs and charts. Do your research—and it’s likely to pay off for your company and you.

Offer to sign a guarantee

One of the reasons companies are often reluctant to reimburse tuition is that they believe they’ll spend a lot of money to educate their employees, only to see them leave to work for a competitor. To get around that fear, offer to sign a guarantee stating that you’ll stay with the company for a specified number of years after earning your degree. Show them that you have no intention of going anywhere.

Be aware of your company’s budget cycle

Your request may go down easier if you ask at the end of the budget cycle, when the company has excess budget to spend. Some companies  will cut departmental budgets if they don’t spend everything by the end of the quarter. If your company is this way, your boss may be looking for things to spend money on at the end of this budget cycle. This is particularly useful if you’re just asking your company to pay for a certification course, not for a year’s worth of online college tuition.

Offer to train other team members

Make your company see that you’re committed to helping them get the most possible out of your new training. Offer to run regular training sessions for other employees—at no expense to them—if they’ll pay for your tuition. This seems like more work for you, but actually it’s win-win: it will give your company not just one educated employee, but dozens; and it will make them more likely to help you pay for school.

Focus on the competition

Do you know whether your competitors are educating their workforces? It’s good news for you either way. If they’re not, it’s an easy way for your company to get an edge over them—a highly educated workforce is a great way for them to differentiate themselves to prospects. If they are, then your company has to keep up—or it could lose market share.

It’s true that in a tight economy, getting your company to reimburse your tuition will be a tough sell. But it’s not impossible, especially since companies need highly educated workers now more than ever. Focus on the benefits to your company’s bottom line and make sure your boss understands that you plan to stay with the company and use your new skills to benefit them, and hopefully you’ll be able to go to school on your employer’s dime.

Sources: How Not to Pay For Your MBA
Brazen Careerist: How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your Education Convincing Your Boss to Pay for Developer Training Getting Your Boss to Pay for an Online Degree Tips and Tricks To Pay Tuition




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