More than half of all-full time undergraduate students are employed. Most of them have to if they want to stay in college — working helps make sure that they will be able to pay for tuition and other related costs.
But did you know that other employed individuals get their educational expenses reimbursed?
Enjoying the same is possible if you work at a company that pays for employee professional growth and development in terms of tuition reimbursement. And if you’re willing to give this approach to more affordable higher education a try, all you have to do is keep reading this post.
Below, I will give you the names of companies that will be more than willing to send you to college. But first, let’s answer a few pressing questions that can help you get to know tuition reimbursement more.
Why Do Companies Pay for College?
Most companies send their employees to college in order to entice them to work for and stay longer with them. It benefits the companies paying for college, too, in that they enjoy better skilled and more productive workers as well as avoid spending lots of money searching for and hiring new employees.
According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which is a Washington, DC-based think tank, any increase in the level of education of the workforce leads to greater productivity.
It’s exactly for this reason why many private companies are more than glad to send their employees to college.
While it’s true that college doesn’t come cheap, employers who invest in it get to save money in the long run because it encourages employees to stick around, thereby allowing the companies themselves to benefit from their newfound college degrees. And, as already mentioned, they enjoy lower turnover costs.
What is It Called When a Company Pays for Your Education?
The act of companies paying for the college of their employees is called tuition reimbursement program or simply tuition reimbursement. Since it’s not all the time that it covers all higher education-related expenses, it’s also sometimes referred to as tuition assistance program or simply tuition assistance.
Simply put, tuition reimbursement is just like other employee benefits such as healthcare and paid leave.
It’s important to note that the amount of money degree-seeking beneficiaries get is not a part of their normal salary. There are some companies that make it a habit to set aside funds specifically for the program in order to be able to help their employees have access to college education.
Tuition reimbursement is one of the best benefits working adults may get because not only does it allow them to work on a degree but also work for a company and enjoy a steady income.
How Much Do Companies Pay for College?
Technically, there is no maximum amount of money companies can allot for their tuition programs. But when it comes to budgeting, they are limited by factors such as the industry, company size and HR policies. Employers, on average, pay $5,250 for undergraduate degrees and $10,500 for graduate degrees.
Each company can place a cap on how much college costs they cover, which courses or majors qualify for the programs, what GPA employees should maintain, etc.
It’s not uncommon for many employers, however, to set the limit to $5,250.
That’s because, as of 2021, the IRS requires tuition reimbursement participants to pay tax if they receive more than $5,250. In addition, employers should include in the wages the amount that recipients must include in income.
How Does Tuition Reimbursement Work?
As the name suggests, a tuition reimbursement program reimburses college costs. In most instances, it’s still the employers who pay for their degree programs. Once the courses are over or the degree is earned, their employers will reimburse them. Besides tuition, some companies agree to cover other college fees.
Before a company agrees to pay for your tuition or some other college-related expenses, it’s a must that you meet or keep meeting its requirements for you to be able to get the program or stay in it.
For instance, it’s not unlikely for your employer to require you to opt for a program that’s related to your job.
Maintaining a minimum college GPA is also a common requirement among those who wish to take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs. Such is perfectly understandable since employers just want to make sure that they’re not wasting money on people who are not serious about earning a college degree.
Are Tuition Reimbursement Programs Common?
Based on a recent survey, around 47% of employers in the US offer tuition reimbursement to their employees who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degree programs. However, another survey says that only about 25% of employees who are interested in tuition reimbursement programs apply.
Annually, companies spend almost $180 billion on the formal training and skill and talent development of their employees. Up to $28 billion of the said amount go to tuition reimbursement.
It’s true that many companies in the land pay for the higher education needs of some of their employees.
Unfortunately, only a very few of them take advantage of any present tuition reimbursement. For instance, statistics show that only 2% of all employees participate in it even though up to 40% of the workforce knows that their employers have tuition reimbursement programs. And also, as much as 80% of working adults actually want to go to college.
Which Government Jobs Pay for College?
Besides private companies, there are also numerous governmental jobs that pay for the higher education needs of their students. Some programs similar to tuition reimbursement apply to those who wish to pursue graduate degree programs, while others are for those who wish to earn undergraduate degrees.
Applying for jobs in the government in order to enjoy tuition reimbursement is just like applying for regular governmental jobs — one must meet minimum requirements, submit essential documents, etc.
In many instances, hopefuls must have the necessary 4-year degree from an accredited college.
Public school teachers and public servants, for instance, may apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and Public Service Loan Program, respectively, if they want the government to shoulder a part of their graduate school expenses. There are various eligibility requirements to meet, though.
Those who haven’t attended college may join the military or enlist in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in order to be able to go to school to work on their undergraduate degrees.
56 Companies That Will Pay for Your College
And now, we have arrived at the core of this post — various companies whose employee benefits include college tuition reimbursement or any other program similar to it.
In order to make sure you have a lot of options, I will discuss a total of 56 of them!
Front-line employees at Amazon may apply to the company’s Career Choice program that pre-pays 100% of tuition costs of eligible individuals. It’s available not only to those who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree but also its associates who are looking to complete their high school diplomas and GED certificates.
There are a couple of ways Apple employees may pursue a college degree at a fraction of a cost. First, there’s going to the company’s very own Apple University where they can earn scholarships. Second, they may apply for Apple’s tuition reimbursement program, which awards up to $5,250 per year for college-related expenses.
Provided that they have worked at AT&T for not less than 6 months, part-time and full-time workers are eligible for the company’s tuition assistance program. Every year, eligible individuals may receive tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250. Unfortunately, as of this writing, no similar program for those who wish to earn certifications is available.
Per year, Baxter reimburses up to $5,250 of tuition for employees who are enrolled in undergraduate programs offered by accredited institutions. A separate tuition reimbursement program is available for graduate coursework.
Full-time employees pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree may be eligible for Best Buy’s tuition reimbursement program. The maximum amount awardees can get per year is $3,500 for undergraduate students and $5,250 for graduate students. The company also foots other approved college expenses.
Employees enrolled in approved STEM-related programs receive tuition assistance with no limit per year.
The oil giant offers tuition reimbursement to employees — full-time only, unfortunately — with up to 90% of the costs of tuition and fees and/or books. In order to get approved for the program, interested workers may only choose from a selection of pre-approved courses. And they must also maintain a certain grade in order to stay in the program.
Through Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions, Capital One offers a tuition assistance program that reimburses up to $5,250 per year for both part-time and full-time employees pursuing higher education.
Associates at CarMax who wish to work on a degree may apply for the used vehicle retailer’s tuition reimbursement program, which amounts to $5,250 per year (full-time employees) and $2,500 per year (part-time employees).
Education assistance program at Chevron is designed for employees who plan on climbing the career ladder by completing college courses. The company offers reimbursement of up to 75% of the cost of tuition as well as other approved fees, including books. A lifetime cap of $5,000 is set for eligible associates.
Employees at one of the largest fast food chains in the US, Chick-fil-A, can enjoy tuition discounts at more than 100 partner colleges and universities. There are also scholarship grants available to eligible team members.
In 2019, Chipotle partnered with Guild Education, which is a company employed by Fortune 1000 companies to handle their education assistance programs. This led to full coverage of tuition costs for Chipotle employees wishing to pursue a college degree — they can choose from 75 business and technology programs.
There are numerous colleges and universities that Comcast has partnered with for its tuition reimbursement program. Besides traditional degrees, the company’s tuition assistance also covers online programs. For instance, eligible employees may attend Champlain College online where they can get tuition reimbursement of up to $5,750 per year.
Other than tuition reimbursement for part-time and full-time employees, which allows them to receive up to $3,000 per year, CVS also offers a number of scholarship programs for the children of its workers.
While it has a tuition assistance program, unfortunately, Deloitte limits its eligibility to its top-performing consulting professionals who wish to attain professional growth and development by earning a graduate degree. It’s for this reason why the said program is called the Graduate School Assistance Program (GSAP).
The financial services company has partnered with Guild Education in order to give its existing tuition reimbursement program a facelift. Now, Discover repays up to $5,250 in tuition costs at any accredited institution.
Various rewards packages are offered by Disney to its employees and cast members, and some of those are educational benefits. For instance, there’s Disney Aspire, which pays 100% of tuition costs at partner colleges and universities. The program applies to both part-time and full-time hourly workers.
The American clothing company offers its employees an assortment of career benefits. One of them is its tuition assistance program, which covers the full costs for job-related certificates and college degrees.
There are numerous colleges and universities that FedEx has partnered with for its tuition reimbursement program. At Utah Valley University, for instance, employees may choose from any of the school’s available programs at potentially no out-of-pocket costs. At Robert Morris University, meanwhile, there’s also a discount for up to 9 credits per year.
Both managers and employees may apply to the tuition reimbursement program Fidelity offers. It’s important to note, however, that the company will only repay up to 90% of tuition costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per year. To be eligible, one must be a regular employee who has been working at Fidelity for at least 6 months.
Every year, Ford covers up to $6,000 of the yearly educational program costs of full-time employees. To be eligible for it, applicants must have been working for the company for at least 90 days.
Guess what the tuition reimbursement program of Gap is called? It’s GAP — the Gap tuition Assistance Program. It’s made to provide funding to employees who enroll in approved programs offered by partner community colleges.
One of the nicest things about Geico’s educational benefits is that it covers various eligible expenses, from tuition, books and various fees, amounting to up to $5,250 per year.
Herschend Family Entertainment
In 2022, Herschend Family Entertainment announced that all of its 11,000 employees would enjoy 100% coverage by the company of their tuition costs and books through its educational program called Grow U.
The tuition reimbursement program at Home Depot is applicable to full-time and part-time hourly employees pursuing technical, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and even doctoral degrees. As a matter of fact, the company has partnered with numerous 2-year and 4-year institutions as well as vocational or technical schools.
Up to 100% of educational costs are covered by iHerb’s tuition assistance, although there’s an annual limit of $5,250.
At the American low-cost airline, employees may apply for the JetBlue Scholars Program designed for crewmembers who wish to go to college for the first time or to finish their degrees. However, it only applies to online learning.
Easily, the tuition assistance program at Kroger is one of the most competitive and flexible around. As a matter of fact, it has set the maximum lifetime cap for its educational assistance to $21,000 in tuition reimbursement for eligible associates completing anything from a GED certificate to a doctoral degree.
Provided that the degree program you are pursuing, whether undergraduate or graduate, has something to do with your job at LiveRamp, the company will reimburse up to $5,250 of your tuition costs per year.
Among the various tuition assistance programs offered by US companies, that of Lowe’s is one of the most flexible. Like most others, its program is available for eligible employees who wish to earn certificates and undergraduate degrees. However, the benefit is also available for those who like to complete high school or a college prep program.
Employees who have been at McDonald’s for at least 90 days and are working for at least 15 hours per week may apply to the fast food chain’s tuition assistance program. Crew members are eligible to get up to $2,500 per year.
On the other hand, franchise managers and corporate managers are eligible to get up to $3,000 and $5,250 per year, respectively.
By the way, did you know that McDonald’s has its own university called Hamburger University. Read more about it here.
Every year, the massive tech company offers each of its employees pursuing business-related programs, including an MBA, up to $10,000 in order to cover the cost of tuition, books and other college-related expenses.
Employees who are eligible for Nuance’s tuition assistance may get a maximum reimbursement of $5,250 per year.
Compared to most other tuition assistance programs, the one at Oracle reimburses a higher amount of tuition costs of up to $5,000 per year. However, only full-time employees are eligible to apply. More importantly, it’s a must for the recipients to maintain a high GPA in order for them to be able to stay in the program.
The Dough & Degree Program — this is what tuition assistance at Papa John’s is called. The company reimburses 100% of the cost of tuition of employees attending either Purdue University or the University of Maryland Global Campus.
Up to 70% of yearly tuition for job-related degrees is covered by the company.
Individuals who have been working at PEAK6 for a year are eligible for reimbursement of up to $8,000 per year for certifications, bachelor’s degrees and other academic programs.
Employees at PepsiCo are eligible for tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 for undergraduate students and up to $8,000 for graduate students. However, the program applies only to approved and accredited programs.
Procter & Gamble
Tuition reimbursement is just one of the various employee benefits Procter & Gamble offers. Full-time employees are the ones who are eligible for the said program, allowing them to reimburse 80% of tuition and other eligible expenses. A maximum lifetime cap for its educational assistance is also set at $40,000.
The company’s tuition reimbursement program is awarded to employees enrolled in 2-year and 4-year institutions, granting up to $1,700 and $3,200 per year, respectively. Tuition assistance eligibility requirements include being a Publix employee for at least 6 months continually and working an average of 10 per week.
Individuals working at Qualcomm who are interested in undergoing programs offered via a number of various massive open online courses (MOOCs), like Coursera or Udacity, may enjoy full tuition reimbursement.
At Raytheon Technologies, there’s the so-called Employee Scholar Program. This allows eligible associates to reimburse tuition as well as selected college-related fees. However, those who wish to take advantage of the company’s tuition assistance program can only choose from approved courses or degrees.
Employees at ServiceNow can be reimbursed up to $5,250 per year for eligible tuition and fees.
The tuition reimbursement programs at Smucker’s are referred to as Financial Well-Being Benefits. Employees who are interested in attending college may choose from a list of allowed programs. Once approved, beneficiaries could enjoy 100% tuition reimbursement. Renewable scholarships are also available for employees’ children.
Employees of Starbucks who are US-based, working for an average of 20 hours per week and have no bachelor’s degree are qualified to take advantage of its partnership with Arizona State University online. They can choose from over 100 online undergraduate degree programs and get 100% tuition coverage.
Ashford University, Capella University, Colorado Technical University, the University of Phoenix — these are institutions that T-Mobile has partnered with where its workers can enjoy free or discounted tuition costs.
Employees at Taco Bell who wish to earn a high school diploma or select college degrees or college preparation courses can have 100% of their tuition covered. The company also offers personalized program recommendations.
A debt-free tuition reimbursement program at target is geared toward employees who are seeking a college degree for the first time. The said employee benefit covers up to 100% of tuition costs per year. The company also offers a separate program for those who wish to work on graduate degrees — up to $10,000 per year for a master’s.
Other than the annual award of $1,500 for educational needs, employees also have access to a mentorship program.
Besides full-time employees, part-time employees at UPS are also eligible for the company’s tuition reimbursement program. Eligible ones can receive up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per year and up to a lifetime maximum amount of $25,000. At partner colleges and universities, full tuition coverage is very much possible.
The payment protection and management firm has a tuition reimbursement plan of up to $5,250 per year.
One of the nicest things about the tuition reimbursement program at Verizon is that it is available to all part-time and full-time employees across the company who work for not less than 17 hours a week. Eligible ones may get up to $8,000 annually to fund their education regardless of the level.
Annually, Vertafore offers tuition reimbursement of up to a maximum of $5,250.
In 2021, Walmart announced that it will pay 100% of tuition costs and books of eligible part-time and full-time employees. This is made possible by the Live Better U (LBU) program. Walmart’s approximately 1.5 million associates may apply for the program, which allows them to learn trade skills or earn a college degree at a fraction of the cost.
Before, employees were the only ones who could benefit from Waste Management’s educational benefit, which allows them to choose from more than 170 fully-funded programs. Now, it also extends to benefits-eligible dependents.
Because the company encourages and supports professional development, Wells Fargo reimburses eligible tuition costs of up to $5,000 per year, which is much higher than the maximum at most other companies. It also offers the children of its employees several scholarships, whose amount can range anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
Just Before You Apply to a Company That Pays for College
According to data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), up to 53% of full-time undergraduate students are working. Many of them work to earn money for college.
But you can also work in order to enjoy free tuition and, in some instances, other college-related expenses.
Above, we talked about 56 companies where employees can enjoy tuition assistance. By applying to any of them and meeting the minimum eligibility requirements, you can also take advantage of discounted college, allowing you to have a regular salary as you work on a degree at a fraction of the cost.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.