Our Tuition Assistance Predictions: What to Expect in 2014

We recently summarized what we learned about tuition assistance programs in 2013. While many of these trends for example, the retiring baby boomer generation aren't leaving any time soon, much of the employer-sponsored education world will continue to change in 2014. Here are some of our predictions.

EdAssist's Tuition Assistance Predictions for 2014

Changing Compensation and Rewards Policies

Given that companies are only beginning to face the challenges of an aging workforce, employers will start introducing new roles for older workers and new compensation and reward policies for baby boomers.  These new policies will allow companies to better retain skilled older workers. This raises interesting questions about how employers can encourage these employees  to continue learning when the employer may not benefit from this investment. In other words, companies may start thinking about tuition assistance for older employees as a professional development and retention tool, but not as a strategic investment as they do for younger employees.

New Education Programs and Models

The higher education marketplace will continue to change.  We will see a proliferation of online degree programs, virtual universities, and re-engineered corporate training programs. Today, most online programs serve the school's existing students, but in 2014 we will see a higher number of schools pursuing non-matriculated students at all levels. This rush for the "non-traditional student" will result in increasing competition, causing further mergers and school closures.

We will also see alternate forms of credentialing.  Some students might prefer a certificate in business, for example, from a more prestigious institution rather than a business minor from their home school.  All of this change will cause more confusion for adult learners who are trying to navigate their options.

Increased Spending on Tuition Assistance

Over the last three years, we have seen the overall tuition assistance spend by American employers decrease from 87% to 71%. Many companies opted to eliminate or suspend their tuition assistance programs because of the weak economy.  There are two reasons we'll see it increase:  First, the economy has started to improve. Second, companies are starting to see that a strategic approach to tuition assistance can help to mitigate the skills shortage by filling gaps, creating talent mobility, furthering career development and improving a company's overall talent pool.

 A Big Year for Tuition Assistance

All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting time in tuition assistance.

Have you noticed any changes in tuition assistance, professional development, or employee training at your organization? What do you think might change at your workplace this year? Comment on this post and let us know!

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.