How To Make Your Tuition Program Cost Less and Do More

Employee studying for a flat-rate tuition program from home

There's an old riddle about a word that becomes shorter when you add two letters to it (see the answer at the end).

It seems impossible in about the same way it seems impossible for a benefit to become less expensive if you let more people use more of it.

But that's surprisingly the case with tuition benefits - the more classes you allow people to take in a single year, the less it can cost. It’s an enormous benefit in this time when people are hungry to learn. And it's the logic behind flat-rate tuition programs, an increasingly popular approach to education assistance that allows employees to take classes by a negotiated single rate rather than by credit or class.

By stretching the same reimbursement cap to pay for more skills, flat-rate programs can substantially increase the value of tuition assistance for both employees and the organization.

How?

Shortened time to degree

By removing the connection between cost and number of classes (and so no longer requiring employees to delay classes when they reach their tuition cap), flat programs free people to take more classes in a year, and finish faster - one to two years faster, according to our data.

Affordability

Many employees are already carrying educational debt, making money a giant barrier to entry. Flat rates diminish that obstacle. Programs that either pay schools directly or defer billing to allow employees to pay after they have employer tuition money in hand further reduce employees' out-of-pocket costs, in some cases to nearly zero.

Feasibility

Next to money, time is one of adult learners' biggest obstacles. Allowing employees to see the end game more quickly reduces that barrier.

Engagement

Employees who are motivated to take more classes will see the rewards of their efforts - in career and accomplishment -- more quickly.

Implemented skills

Completed degrees means earned skills that are being used in your workforce.

Supporting Employees Through Challenging Times

And there’s one more thing. Study after study shows that skill attainment is high on employees' lists. By removing barriers for an entire workforce, a flat-rate program delivers a future-focused boost for people who really need it, at a time when employers can’t afford to pause on new skills.

It's true that the initial spend for such a program may go up. But costs will go down over the life of the degree - and cover more people. It's a prime example of a creative approach to education - and how you can elevate a program that fully funds education for all employees without having to raise your budget.

And btw...the answer to the opening riddle... is "short."

Guide: Making Employee Education Affordable

Learn about no-cost degrees and more of today’s newest strategies designed to engage employees in education.

Written by: Jonathan Corke

July 28, 2020

About the Author

Jonathan Corke at Bright Horizons

As Senior Director, Product Marketing, Jonathan has spent over a decade at the intersection of HR strategy and employee benefits. Working alongside HR leaders and total rewards experts, he focuses on the success factors that help convert a leader’s vision into an impactful program. An active participant in the HR community, Jonathan has led presentations and workshops at numerous industry events and is a regular contributor to the Bright Horizons Solutions at Work blog. He holds an MBA from Clark University.