Tuition reimbursement programs shouldn't be relegated to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Online courses, certifications, and trainings should also be included for a variety of reasons.
Offering online courses as part of your tuition reimbursement program can save your company a considerable amount of money. Since university
courses and degrees will, typically, be significantly more expensive than online courses and degrees, your company will save money every
time an employee chooses the latter route.
In fact, the University of Potomac states that an online degree can cost 80% less than a traditional degree from a brick-and-mortar institution.
This puts the total average cost of a traditional degree at $85,000 and the total average cost of an online degree at $35,000.
And while it's great to include traditional degrees within your program, providing the option to also choose online certifications and degrees can decrease the cost of your program without affecting participation rates or satisfaction levels.
In addition, saving money on courses means that it frees up money for other participants. Regardless of whether you have an annual budget or a per-employee allotment, your program will stretch much further than it would have before if you allow employees to choose online colleges. For example, due to the money savings, companies will be able to raise tuition limits, which allows participants to take more classes and complete degrees faster.
Working full-time (or even part-time) and going to school at a traditional university can be a huge challenge. Finding time for homework while
keeping up with job responsibilities and personal lives can be the reasons employees are deterred from pursuing higher education and learning new skills.
However, by including online courses in your program, you are giving employees a great level of flexibility to continue their education than they would have at a brick-and-mortar institution.
Online classes and coursework can often be completed at an employee's discretion, rather than at a specific date and time each week, providing them with the freedom to get an education on their own time.
Plus, not having a commute and not having to pay for gas are two major benefits of online courses that employees will benefit greatly from and enjoy.
All of these factors add to employees being able to fit online education into their schedule, rather than the other way around, which can cause frustration and unhappiness.
A tuition reimbursement program is only considered a benefit if employees are actively using it. If you find that the majority of employees aren't
taking advantage of your program, satisfaction levels within your organization can decrease.
By offering a variety of options to employees, although, you can keep satisfaction levels high. There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to education. While some in your company might prefer a brick-and-mortar university, others might highly desire the option to take online courses, and by offering both, you increase the likelihood of keeping the most valuable employees loyal to your company.
Check out these statistics from the University of Potomac:
Everyone learns differently and if you’re limiting employee options in regard to education, you may find that many opt to not take advantage of your program.
But when you expand the options of your tuition reimbursement program, it will appeal to a greater variety of employees. For example, a developer might want to get certified in a new language through an online course he or she can do at night after work. And, certain trades, like graphic or multi-media designers, might do better at an online trade school than a brick and mortar due to learning preferences.
All of the points above lead to one conclusion, which is that companies can greatly benefit by catering to the varied wants and needs of their
employees when it comes to tuition reimbursement programs.
By doing so, your company remains forefront in the best candidates' minds when deciding where to apply and which job offers to accept. In addition, it can increase loyalty and job satisfaction rates amongst current employees and boost the likelihood that an employee will want to stay with your company long-term.
In the end, you're offering a tuition reimbursement program to benefit your company - but you can't do that without first making it enticing to employees.
Continually revising/upgrading your program will ensure it stays competitive and that your company remains a top choice amongst the most eligible candidates in your industry.