Professional Education and Career Blog

Revising Your Company’s Tuition Assistance Policy to Support Student Loan Repayments

There are a new crop of companies opening their doors to administer student loan repayment benefits for progressive companies that view this as a valuable way to hire and retain employees…especially those in the millennial category who are graduating college with heavy debt burdens.  Although a benefit such as this can stand alone, I believe there are a number of advantages to including this benefit as part of a more holistic tuition assistance strategy.

With a few changes to an Organization’s existing tuition assistance policy, student loan repayment can be added and administered alongside more traditional education reimbursement programs.  By using this approach, a company has a single policy that supports both employees seeking new educational pursuits and those who have already completed education for which they are paying off student loans. 

The advantages are many…not the least of which is the ability to support a single annual cap per employee regardless of their use of the benefit.  For example, you may have employees who are using the benefit to support BOTH a new program for advancement inside the organization alongside their student loan repayments.  That’s fine, as long as the organization has a way to cap these collective amounts annually. 

An additional benefit is the ability for a single analytics platform to provide data on programs currently being pursued, and those that have been completed by employees, whether they were completed while the employee was employed or prior to employment. This gives the organization a single view to the competencies obtained by employees. Many of our existing clients don’t have a way to capture the education an employee possesses prior to employment. With a single administrative platform to support all forms of tuition reimbursement, this can be achieved.

Here’s some ideas for ways to edit your Company’s existing tuition assistance policy to support this new benefit:

  1. Maintain existing eligibility requirements
    • Eligibility

      You are eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Program if you meet the following requirements: 

      1. You are an active full-time employee working a minimum of [# HOURS] per week.
      2. You have completed [# MONTHS] of continuous service on or prior to the course start date.
  2. Include Student Loan Repayment in the Expenses Covered Under the Plan
    • The following types of educational expenses are eligible for tuition assistance under this plan:

      • Coursework towards an associates, undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate degree taken at a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED college or university.
      • Certificates or certification programs taken at a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED college or university.
      • Individual classes taken at a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED college or university.
      • Student Loan repayments made to a federally backed student loan provider and towards a previously completed degree program taken at a REGIONALLY ACCREDITED college or university
  3. Maintain your existing caps on tuition benefits
    • Annual Caps on Tuition Assistance

      You will receive reimbursement for approved expenses incurred not to exceed a calendar maximum of [$DOLLARS].

  4. Make a slight revision to your process to support student loan repayments (EXAMPLE)
    • Process for Receiving Tuition Assistance

      The following conditions must be met by an eligible employee to receive tuition assistance:

      1. Create an account to manage your tuition assistance requests. Go to [] to set up your account.
      2. Apply and receive approval for tuition assistance.  Log into your account and complete the process to Apply for Tuition Assistance.  Await approval.
      3. Apply for Reimbursement.  Log into your account and complete the process to apply for a reimbursement.  If it is a course or set of courses you are planning pursue, complete the process and await approval prior to pursuing the courses.  If it is a student loan repayment request, complete the process and you will be automatically prompted to upload your documentation for reimbursement.

Those are the main sections of an existing tuition assistance policy that require revisions in order to support student loan repayment.