You want to advance your career. You want to earn an MBA. You don’t want to spend a fortune doing it.
It’s your hard-earned money and you want to make the most of it. Completely understandable. So why are you paying your own tuition?
Many companies – even smaller ones, surprisingly – offer tuition reimbursement programs. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your boss to pay your tuition. Here’s how:
Do Your Research
Does your company already have an established tuition reimbursement program? Start by checking your employee handbook. Information on such programs is usually included in the section about benefits. You might also want to check with your HR department if the details of the program are unclear.
If your company does have a program, check out the requirements. Must you attend an accredited school? Are there restrictions on the kind of degree you can earn or the field of study you can choose? If you accept tuition assistance from your employer, are you obligated to continue working for them for a certain period? If you leave the company or are laid off, must you return the tuition money?
Have a Plan
If your company doesn’t have a formal program in place, propose one and offer to be the first to try it out.
Create your own proposal and talk it over with your boss. You might even want to outline your thoughts in a brief proposal to leave with your boss after the discussion.
To draft your plan, talk with colleagues at other companies in your area or industry to learn about their tuition reimbursement programs. Based on what you know about your company, its culture and financial position, you can draft a plan that is likely to be considered seriously and possibly accepted.
If you’ve already started the application process with the school of your choice, you might also want to include information about the costs of the program, how much you plan to personally contribute, and how the additional education and experience will ultimately benefit your company.
Ask for Help
Proposing a tuition reimbursement program may not be enough to get the program started. You might need help from the school you want to attend. Don’t be afraid to ask program directors or admissions committees to write letters of support on your behalf.
Our MBA Director, Kelli Crickey, has written several letters for students entering North Georgia’s MBA program in support of their request for tuition assistance. If you’d like to talk with Kelli about how to approach your employer about financially supporting your MBA studies, please attend an upcoming MBA Information Session or call (770) 205-5448.