Tuition reimbursement is offered by employers who recognize the worthwhile investment of funding their employees’ education. This educational assistance benefit can cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and supplies and help students acquire the knowledge and skills essential for advancement within their company.
Your first step in pursuing tuition reimbursement is finding out if your employer has an existing policy and whether you’re eligible. If your employer has an existing policy in place, you should follow their process for requesting tuition reimbursement benefits. If your employer does not have an existing process, you can move forward with creating a reimbursement proposal to help convince your employer that pursuing a graduate credential is an opportunity for you to further develop your engineering skill set.
Option 1: Your Employer Offers a Tuition Reimbursement Program
Review your employer’s tuition reimbursement policy to confirm your eligibility and ensure that UT Austin’s online mechanical engineering program is covered. For assistance, contact your supervisor or HR representative. Once you’ve been admitted to our program, you’ll be able to submit any documents required under your employer’s reimbursement policy.
Option 2: Your Employer Does Not Offer a Tuition Reimbursement Program
Don’t be discouraged if your employer doesn’t have a tuition reimbursement policy in place. In that case, consider submitting your proposal to your direct supervisor.
Here’s how it works: Prospective students create a reimbursement proposal, highlighting the many benefits of continuing their education, and present it to their employer. If successful, their employer agrees to cover a pre-determined amount of tuition costs. Employers generally cap educational benefits at $5,250 per full-time employee per year — the cutoff for nontaxable payments.
Creating a Successful Reimbursement Proposal
To create a successful proposal, outline the benefits of your professional development, detailing how your desired program of study relates to your employer’s objectives. Don’t forget, the gratification that comes with earning a graduate credential is yet another reason to continue your education, and many employers recognize the value of career satisfaction.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the benefits of our online mechanical engineering program. These will provide a good starting point for developing your proposal.
- Industry-relevant course content: Our online mechanical engineering program helps professionals — and by extension, their organizations — remain at the forefront of an ever-changing landscape, deepening their knowledge of emerging trends and technologies.
- Efficient online learning format: Graduate students in our program can work full time while continuing their education. You can earn a master’s degree in as little as two years or a graduate certificate in as little as one year, further mitigating any impact on your professional life.
- Renowned program of study: Ranked the No. 10 best mechanical engineering program in the country, our program provides a first-rate education to engineering professionals the world over.
Strengthening Your Proposal
Despite the many benefits of our online mechanical engineering program, your employer may have initial reservations about funding your education. Below, we’ve addressed some common concerns raised by employers so that you can strengthen your proposal and broach the subject of reimbursement with confidence.
“Tuition reimbursement is too expensive.”
A study on reimbursement benefits conducted by the Lumina Foundation and Accenture revealed that for every dollar spent on tuition, a company saves $1.29 in talent management costs. This 129% ROI stems from the money saved by attracting and retaining talent in a competitive job market. Employers can also deduct up to $5,250 annually per employee as tax-free educational assistance benefits, keeping their investments relatively small and risk free.
“Free resources are available online.”
Ranked the No. 12 best engineering school in the country, UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering offers professionals online instruction unmatched by any webinar. Courses are led by a team of industry leaders who are experts in heat transfer, mechanical design, and advanced manufacturing, among other subjects. Our esteemed faculty members are joined by 8,000 students and over 70,000 alumni, forming an engineering community that will prove far more beneficial than any free resource.
“Employees will leave the company once they’ve graduated.”
Tuition reimbursement policies usually include a clause stipulating that employees who use reimbursement benefits must remain with the company for a set period of time. Employees who leave prior to the agreed-upon time are required to reimburse their company for tuition expenses.
Reimbursement programs tend to foster a loyal workforce, however. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, employees are almost twice as likely to stay longer at a company with high internal mobility. These findings are supported by LinkedIn’s 2019 report, which found that 94% of employees would stay longer at a company that invested in their tuition.
Tuition reimbursement is an investment that can truly pay dividends for both you and your employer. Take the first step and inquire about your workplaces’ tuition reimbursement policy, and get one step closer to joining the Longhorn Nation.