Are you planning to go back to school but not sure how you'll pay for it? If you're currently employed, a good starting point is to find out whether any employer-provided education benefits are available to you.
Tuition reimbursement benefits vary depending on the company. Some employers might cover the full cost of tuition, whereas others may cap reimbursement at a dollar amount. Generally, you'll be able to exclude up to $5,250 of educational assistance benefits from your taxes.
In addition, it's likely that you'll have to satisfy other requirements set by your employer to be eligible for reimbursement benefits. These may include, and are not limited to:
- Discussing course of study with a manager or supervisor prior to enrolling (and receiving approval)
- Pursuing a degree or training that is job related
- Maintaining a minimum grade-point average
- Working a certain length of time for the company before taking advantage of the benefit
- Meeting eligibility requirements for regular benefits
You can learn more about tuition reimbursement qualifications by speaking with your human resources department.
Scholarships for employees and their families might also be part of the employee compensation package at some companies. Often this is a payment made to an employee upon proof of enrollment. Employee training programs may also be available to advance skills needed for certain jobs. Some larger companies may have partnerships with local colleges or universities, which can provide company-specific education at a lower cost.
And if you're still seeking additional funds, don't forget to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Be sure to report your tuition assistance amount from your employer on the form, because this may affect the amount of federal financial aid you receive.