How To Make Your Tuition Program Cost Less in 2018

Bright Horizons Education benefits

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. 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.


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.


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.


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


Employees who are motivated to take more classes will see the rewards of their efforts - in career and accomplishment -- more quickly, adding a substantial excitement factor that pays off for everyone.

Implemented skills

Completed degrees means earned skills that are being used in your workforce. There's no bigger value than that.

Flat-Rate Tuition Programs: Removing Barriers to Achievement

And there's one more thing; happy employees. Study after study shows that skill attainment is high on employees' lists. By removing barriers for an entire workforce, a flat-rate program adds up in all areas - retention, recruitment, productivity, and more.

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."
An employee getting education assistance from her employer

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Written by: Jonathan Corke

About the Author

Jonathan Corke at Bright Horizons

As Senior Director, Product Marketing, Jonathan has spent the last decade working at the intersection of strategic HR and enterprise technology. He has learned a great deal about converting a talent management strategy into an operating plan through direct conversations with HR leaders and numerous industry surveys. These experiences have sparked a fascination with how leading employers create a better environment for their workforce, and how that environment drives consistent business performance. Jonathan holds an MBA from Clark University.