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Your company may help you pay for an MBA

You have decided to get your Corporate MBA, but the biggest obstacle still remains: paying for graduate school. Paying for graduate courses can be expensive even with student loans and grants, but there are a number of companies that pay for grad school. Companies like Apple, Smuckers, Pier 1 Imports and Starbucks are all willing to help employees get advanced degrees with tuition payments.

Tuition reimbursement is good for employers and employees

Of course, many people ask why companies would do this in the first place. The answer is simple. They get a much better workforce that is more likely to stay with the company. Georgia-based Wellstar Health System runs five hospitals with more than 500 primary care providers, and reimburses its employees $4,500 per year for graduate courses if they maintain a C average or better.

David Anderson, the company's executive vice president of human resources, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it just makes sense to provide tuition reimbursement, citing higher rates of internal promotion, productivity and employee retention. More positions are filled internally and the company has higher productivity as well as a higher employee retention rate. "Eight years ago we were at the bottom quartile, according to Gallup employee engagement surveys," he said. "Now we are at the 97 percent level."

But Wellstar is not the only firm that does this. Deloitte, one of the largest accounting firms in the country, offers high-performing analysts who have been with the company three to four years full tuition reimbursement. Graduates must work two years at the company after graduation, but it also provides a technology stipend for students and offers them the opportunity to return to the company as senior consultants. Other companies like defense contractor Raytheon, British Petroleum and coffee giant Starbucks all have tuition reimbursement plans for their employees.

Check with your company's human resources department

Generally, companies that pay for grad school will have some basic requirements. One is that you will probably need to work for the company a few years after graduation. Second, the degree you obtain may need to be tied to the company mission. A degree in theater arts brings no apparent value to an accounting firm, but someone who has a Corporate MBA would help the firm.

Your human resources department will have more information on requirements, and the company website may list tuition reimbursement under "Employee Benefits." Once you know exactly what expenses the company will reimburse, look at specific programs and how they will affect your finances. After all, if paying for graduate school can be partially handled by your employer, you should take advantage of that perk and secure yourself a brighter future with a Corporate MBA.


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