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HostedHR's TuitionManager Helps Valvoline Operate a Low-Maintenance Tuition Reimbursement Program


Valvoline is one of the world's leading brands in the engine and automotive maintenance industries. Having celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016, Valvoline currently ranks as the #2 quick-lube chain and #3 passenger car motor oil brand in the United States.

The reimbursement process is so efficient that we don’t really have to think about it. TuitionManager practically runs itself."

Jennifer Mart
HR Benefits Manager

The Challenge

In 1950, Ashland Inc. acquired the Freedom-Valvoline Company, and with it, the Valvoline brand. At that time, Ashland was a rapidly growing oil refinery. Over many decades, Ashland continued to grow the Valvoline brand as the go-to lubricant for hot rods, muscle cars, racing vehicles, and daily drivers.

In 2015, Ashland announced its plan to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies. Two years later, the transformation was complete. The new Ashland is a premier specialty chemical company with leading positions in fast-growing consumer and industrial markets. The new Valvoline remains an industry-leading engine and automotive maintenance business, built on the strength of premium-branded lubricants.

This separation created a challenge for Valvoline's HR department. For many years, they had been using paper-based processes to manage their tuition reimbursement program. At the same time, their parent company, Ashland, had been using TuitionManager. As it turned out, Valvoline's HR department's challenge was really an opportunity to decide how they would move forward into the future as a standalone company.

The Solution

Because its former parent company used TuitionManager, it was a no-brainer for Valvoline to use the platform to handle their tuition reimbursement program for its 5,500 employees.

TuitionManager automates program workflows by electronically routing applications through a pre-defined approval chain based on the organization's policy. No longer is there a need to submit paper applications or documentation. And, because it's web-based, everyone involved with the application and reimbursement process can access the platform from any computer or mobile device.

"Knowing the features that were available to us, we chose to move forward with TuitionManager as our solution based on the positive feedback we received from the Ashland HR staff," explains HR benefits manager Jennifer Mart. "They liked that the platform supported a hands-off approach, that it was easy for employees and managers to navigate, and that it was easy for the HR staff to reimburse employees through our payroll grid."

The Results

The decision to follow Ashland’s lead when it came to using TuitionManager has paid off by streamlining the reimbursement process and improving reporting capabilities.

Saves Time Through Efficiency

From the perspective of the HR department, it was important that staff didn't need to spend a significant amount of time processing reimbursements. Fortunately, TuitionManager is a very low-touch platform.

"After an inquiring participant is approved for the program by their manager and department head, we add them into TuitionManager," shares Jennifer. TuitionManager then sends out a welcome email along with login information. The email also gives the participant instructions about how to use the platform to submit their request for reimbursement. This eliminates the need for staff to manually follow-up with each employee about submitting their documentation.

"Once the employee logs in, they can submit information about their courses and get approval for payment once their course is complete," says Jennifer. "The reimbursement process is so efficient that we don't really have to think about it. TuitionManager practically runs itself."

More Useful Reporting

Instead of taking the time to create manual reports, the HR staff now has easy access to more useful reporting. "We have a custom report that we use weekly to inform the payroll department when to make any reimbursements that may be due," explains Jennifer. "Also, in a situation where the employee has been terminated prior to the reimbursement period, the report shows if a payback is due."

When asked what she would say to other organizations considering TuitionManager as a solution, Jennifer replied, "Just think about all of the time involved with administering your program. That time can be significantly reduced thanks to an employee-friendly platform like TuitionManager."

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