Enhance Your Tuition Assistance Program: The ABC’s (and D)
Moving a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) from an untracked benefit to a strategic investment is a goal for many Training and Development departments. Articles in some of the recent HR or Training journals show how enhancing the TAP can save tuition dollars, make decisions with strategic reporting and even align the TAP to career development or talent management.
Here are the “ABC and D” First Steps to enhance the Tuition Assistance Program:
- ADMINISTRATION. If the TAP is manually administered and in-house, you may want to think about outsourcing this function. Using valued employees for tedious, clerical functions is a waste of time. The outsourced administration companies, also known as Educational Management companies can move the TAP to an Internet based, 24 X 7 access, with online or Help Desk customer service and reporting functions.
Outsourced Tuition Assistance Administration can be either reimbursement or disbursement. A Learning Directory will list all the degree programs, schools and majors supported by the company and can handle multiple sites. Some of the typical reports include Expenditure Report, Transaction Report, College Providers, Trends and some specialized strategic reports to help make additional decisions about Tuition Assistance Program changes.
- BENEFITS. Outsourcing your TAP to an Educational Management company can help move this program from an untracked benefit to a strategic investment. Consultants from one of the Educational Management companies can help review your company’s Tuition Assistance Policy, outline the advantages of reimbursement and disbursement, and help align the program to career development or talent management.
Other benefits of using an Educational Management company would be to reduce fraud by reviewing grades, documents and tuition statements. The Educational Management Company can also provide College Fairs and other marketing to help boost the level of employee participation.
- COUNSELING. Educational Counseling or Academic Advising is another benefit of using an outsourced Educational Management company. Advising can save tuition dollars and help employees select the best school and degree plan by focusing on goals, background and skills. Trained academic advisors can help employees who were educated outside the US and unfamiliar with the US education system. Trained academic advisor can help employees who have not completed their degree by showing them educational options that will save them time off their degree plan. Trained academic advisors can help employees balance life/work and school.
- DISCOUNTS. The Educational Management companies have partnered with community colleges, state and private universities, online colleges and for-profit universities to provide 5% - 20% tuition discounts. These discounts can save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars off the total reimbursement spend per year. The Educational Management consultants can also partner with local schools to bring degree plans, certificates and training programs on-site.
Review the benefits of outsourcing your TAP program to an Educational Management company. Some companies charge per administration transaction; some charge a fixed monthly or yearly fee. Most charge separate amounts for the Administration and Advising, but a “package” service of Administration, Counseling and Discounts can show the greatest benefit to the Tuition Assistance Program.