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CAEL Pathways Blog

Refine Your Tuition Assistance Program: Provide Support, Guidance and Maximum Choice

It's widely understood that tuition assistance programs provide a win-win benefit for both employers and employees; workers see their company as an employer of choice for providing educational resources and career opportunities, while employers benefit from improved employee engagement, retention, and knowledge and skills development.

Because of these benefits, employers are accelerating their commitments to offer and reshape educational resources for workers. How can businesses ensure that they're providing the greatest benefit for their employees while realizing a substantial return on their investment?

UpSkill America, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, recently partnered with the Institute for Corporate Productivity to publish a useful guide that outlines the key elements of successful tuition assistance programs.

The guidelines highlight several important areas of emphasis for organizations that want to increase the accessibility of their tuition assistance programs while providing the best service possible. There are two significant areas that deserve further elaboration.

First, tuition assistance programs must provide the maximum amount of choice possible to employees who are choosing educational providers. And secondly, employers need to provide strong support and guidance for workers who want to access these services.

What does this look like in practice?

Maximum Choice

When UpSkill America talks about providing 'maximum choice,' they're talking about two things: choice of educational provider and choice of educational track. When students can choose among several programs that meet their schedules, their budgets and their career interests, they're definitely more likely to opt in.

The flip side is that unlimited options can lead to analysis paralysis. With so many possibilities in front of you, making a decision becomes more difficult. Employees might also find it challenging to determine which organizations and courses of study will best help them grow their careers with your business.

That's why support and guidance are so crucial.

Support and Guidance

Employees need help determining which educational opportunities would be best for them. Skilled advisors can help employees assess their interests and existing skillsets. Then, they can align those factors with career targets while helping students determine the best steps they can take to reach their goals in the shortest amount of time.

Additionally, skilled advisors and curated online resources can help students stay motivated and navigate around pitfalls so they can complete programs and troubleshoot any obstacles that emerge along their path to educational attainment.

As an added incentive, CAEL's research indicates that 82 percent of organizations that offer advising or coaching services say it improves employee productivity!

Choice, Support and Guidance: Crucial Factors for Educational Success

Choice, support and guidance aren't the only factors that employers need to keep in mind as they lay the foundation for a strong tuition assistance program, but they are crucial elements that require careful implementation as well as strong and sustained commitment from employers. As business challenges change, tuition programs should change to reflect the current business reality.

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