Tuition Assistance Programs Best Practices: Sneak Peek at Upcoming Study

EdAssist helps streamline your tuition assistance program

In 2009, Bersin & Associates released a study titled, "Tuition Assistance Programs:  Best Practices for Maximizing a Key Talent Investment."  We, EdAssist®, recently hired Bersin to update this study based on current data and information. Read on for a sneak preview of this study slated for release in the coming weeks.

Of the original study's nine best practices for tuition assistance programs, the 2012 Bersin Study eliminated two and added three new ones.  Starting today, I'll provide in-depth analysis of these new best practices.

Centralize the Program Across the Organization

The first new best practice for this year is to, "Centralize the Program Across the Organization." From our experience, there are many companies that have a decentralized program.  That is, the tuition spend sits in the business units' budgets.  Indeed, often each business unit has a different policy.  This makes it extremely difficult to leverage the tuition spend, link it to the talent development needs of the company, and provide accurate analytics.

The upcoming Bersin Study concludes, "Centralization of the program can offer significant efficiencies, and a tuition assistance program needs adequate resources (whether internal or outsourced) for program administration development and operations."  Centralization does not mean you have to centralize your company policy across the globe.  However, it does make sense to centralize based on the post-secondary education system.  For example, in the United States, it would make sense to centralize domestically because of our regional accreditation system.

Recommendations for Centralizing a Tuition Assistance Program

If you are one of the companies that has a tuition assistance program that is decentralized, Bersin recommends completing an "enterprise-wide" review of all of the current policies, procedures, exceptions, and spending.  Further, they recommend determining the outcomes the company wants. For example:

  1. High morale due to a sentiment of employee investment and goodwill?
  2. Closure of gaps for certain skills?
  3. A more robust labor market for certain positions?
  4. A deeper leadership bench?
Bersin also recommends that your company should benchmark what competitors are doing with their tuition assistance programs.  As I have mentioned in my other blog posts, we at EdAssist have a policy database of more than 100 company policies.  We keep each one confidential, but we are still able to provide benchmarking by industry.  This type of analysis can help your company figure out what you need to do when you centralize your policy.

In my next blog, I will talk about another new best practice.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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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.