Tuition Reimbursement Policy LO17245

R. Anne Hull (
Sun, 01 Mar 1998 14:44:05 -0500

Replying to LO17184 --

Dear Ryder -

You requested info about establishing a tuition reimbursement program for
your organization.

I served as the 'queen' of tuition reimbursement for 8 years with a
Fortune 500 company & would be happy to share my experience and thoughts
with you. It was a fairly standard, but quite generous program...up to a

The benefit is often driven by the tax-break the company receives, more
than an altruistic reason. The American Society for Training and
Development has been a strong advocate for getting the legislation
approved annually. Currently, an individual does not have to pay income
tax on the benefit. There is a $$ ceiling and no graduate courses are
included. Every company creates it's own program sometimes exceeding the
IRS restrictions, and sometimes offering less.

Based on a core value that valued education, we reimbursed for any
undergraduate, accredited course that related to any job at the company.
This is generous in that the IRS language restricts the course to any
'job-related' course which limits the person's career potential to their
existing field. There were many entry-level, blue-collar jobs people
filled to 'get experience'. This particular company was very diversified,
so about the only field not included was medicine & real estate [even
then, we employed Occupational Health nurses, so nursing courses were

One of my favorite stories is about the VietNamese refugee who had been a
company executive. He could not speak English well, yet was able to do
well in an entry-level accounting job. He completed another [US] degree in
addition to language courses and publicly credited the TR program for his
eventual advancement to controller of one of the company divisions.

At times, with advances in technology, some the craft worker's jobs were
eliminated. They were encouraged to use the benefit to launch new

We found about a 60% completion rate - those that applied for the
reimbursement that actually submitted grades and receipt for payment.

There was no tracking or recording of courses taken other than a note in
the individual's personnel file. I heartily recommend it be a part of any
educational/skill database your org. may have.

It was set up as a fairly simple program to administer and the recruiter's
loved it. We did run into some ruffled feathers as people wanted advanced
degrees or technical courses not related to an undergraduate degree.
[IMHO - This is were Congress needs to expand it's undersatnding of the
sources of 'education'.]

Without rambling on too long, I hope I touched on some of the questions
you may have & created new ones.

Best Regards - Anne

R. Anne Hull & Associates
Organization Development Consulting & Training

~~ Organizations are People & Practices ~ ~~*~ It's About Relationships ~*~ ~~*~*~ Timing is Everything ~*~*~

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>