The importance of tuition reimbursement cannot be overestimated. From a return-on-investment standpoint, as indicated earlier, the program can be configured to be cost-neutral, so the ROI is immediate. In a series of studies with U.S. leading employers, including Cigna, Discover Financial Services and Advocate Health Care, The Lumina Foundation examined the differences in promotion, transfer, retention and absenteeism rates for employees who did and did not participate in tuition assistance programs. The studies found that tuition assistance consistently results in a strong return on investment, with all of the study participants achieving a positive ROI.
A recent tuition reimbursement case study describes how one manufacturer took a strategic and creative approach, using existing tuition reimbursement dollars to solve for emerging organizational talent needs. Rather than incurring a large learning and development (L&D) expense and enduring the laborious process of implementing a training program, they partnered with DeVryWorks, the workforce development partnership program of DeVry University, to implement a customized learning pathway that would train their assemblers to become technicians. The six-class DeVry Manufacturing Technology Certificate curriculum enabled the team members to obtain the new skills they needed faster, and the program’s employee participants earned an accredited certificate they can carry forward if they choose to seek further career advancement.
Jenna McCoy, senior enablement manager at DeVryWorks, encourages employers to think of a tuition benefits program in terms of return on objective, or ROO. “Studies have consistently shown how education benefits can produce a strong ROI for employers, but they should also think about tuition assistance in terms of ROO, as these benefits should be closely aligned with their current and predicted talent gaps,” says McCoy.