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Many Companies Will Help Pay for Your MBA

February 02, 2022
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There’s never been a better time to pursue your MBA and the life-long career benefits it can create. More than half of companies in all verticals, ranging from financial services and retail to non-profits, are offering some form of tuition support for employees seeking to further their education.1 Companies with educational assistance programs (EAPs) range in size from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

MBA degrees require time and effort, as well as money. The potential return on your MBA investment is also significant. Some MBAs cost as much as $200,000, while tuition for an online MBA from Seattle Albers School of Business and Economics is under $50,000. In-demand MBA skills drive salaries typically 75% higher than staff with bachelor’s degrees.2,3

Earning an advanced degree while working is challenging. When your company helps pay for your MBA, that builds success for both you and your employer. If you are pursuing your MBA, you definitely want to find out if your employer is one of the many companies that pay for MBAs.

What You Need to Know About Educational Assistance Programs

Read more about different types of educational assistance companies offer and the frequently attached conditions. We’ll also explore why employers provide educational assistance and share tips on finding companies that pay for MBAs and fit your career goals.

Why Now Is a Good Time to Earn Your MBA

Converging technology trends and socio-economic forces to make this an excellent time to pursue your graduate degree in business:

  • Increasingly sophisticated learning management systems and video meeting technology create exceptional educational experiences in online programs.
  • As more higher education institutions have developed online programs, the prestige of the parent organization has become most important, with graduates of online and onsite MBA programs seeing similar salary results.4
  • Working from home and flexible work arrangements can free up time formerly spent commuting for coursework.
  • The “Great Resignation” has prompted employers to find new ways to attract and retain talent with advanced skills. That’s one reason why companies pay for MBAs. Many companies are broadening and deepening their EAP benefits, with some even offering benefits to new hires.5
  • Work futurists have predicted that “85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet.”6

Strengthening your core business skills, refreshing your knowledge of current business trends, and expanding your network will help you thrive amid ongoing global changes.

Your MBA Is Good for You – And for Your Employer

You probably already have a list of compelling reasons for enrolling in an MBA program, including getting a promotion and earning more money. Plenty of data points support those ideas. Research also shows that there are benefits for your employer when the company helps pay for your MBA.

How Earning an Online MBA Can Benefit You

The Social Security Administration estimates MBA degree holders earn about half a million dollars more than workers with only bachelor’s degrees throughout their careers. Seattle University Online MBA graduate Emily Panyard won her promotion before completing the program. MBA graduates also have greater job security and mobility as well as higher earnings. Further, psychologists and sociologists have found that learning has numerous links to personal well-being and resilience.5, 7, 8

Why It’s Good for Companies to Pay for MBA Degrees

Employee recruiting and retention are improved when companies pay for MBA degrees and other educational benefits. Chipotle’s CFO recently said that employees who participated in the company’s educational program were much more likely to stay and to move into management.9

Lower turnover at companies that pay for MBAs also lowers recruiting and training costs. A recent study at a large financial institution that helped cover the costs of staff education showed a return of 129% on its tuition investment. Additionally, loyal, engaged employees tend to make better business decisions and to set and achieve higher goals at work.5, 6

Different Ways Companies Help Pay for MBAs

With more than half of U.S.-based companies offering educational support programs to employees, there’s a good chance your company will help pay for your MBA. Seattle area industry leaders Amazon, Boeing, and Starbucks are among the growing list of organizations recognizing the value of assisting employees in financing their education.

Since there are so many education support programs, types of academic support are also multiplying. Companies may reimburse employees for tuition or pay the educational institution directly. Some offer a fixed amount per year, while others pay all school-related expenses for a qualified employee. Some companies also provide tutoring and mentoring, and some will provide release time during which employees can study. The Society for Human Resource Management has noted that a small but growing number of businesses are also helping employees pay off student loans.1

Pay Attention to the Fine Print

If your company offers to help pay for your MBA, pay attention to the details. Some common conditions for support include:

  • Satisfactory completion of coursework. Some programs offer different levels of support based on your grades.
  • A commitment to stay with the company for a certain amount of time. One to two years after the last support payment is typical.
  • Tenure with the company. Different companies have different periods for benefit vesting.
  • An acceptable course of study. Some companies only pay for courses relevant to the business or the employee’s role.

In addition to these considerations, you’ll want to understand when and to whom the company will release the funds. Some require you to pay upfront, while others pay the institution directly. You should also understand any tax ramifications of your company’s support. Annual tuition support of up to $5250 is currently tax-free for students and employers. Additional amounts are usually taxable but may be tax-free under certain conditions.10

Your Company Doesn’t Offer Tuition Assistance? Ask For It Anyway!

Think about proposing an EAP if your company doesn’t already have one. A well-prepared proposal that addresses the company's benefits—along with the direct benefits to you and other employees—might make the difference. Your discussion should include cost savings realized through higher retention rates as well as the federal tax advantages.

Be sure to include the value to the company of helping you reach your goals, along with a brief discussion of your previous contributions to the company and how you can create more value with the new skills and knowledge gained through your coursework. Correlate specifics about the degree program and the classes to your enhanced value to the company.

Some employers might still be reluctant, so prepare arguments to counter possible objections and suggest other ways, such as flexible scheduling and release time for studying, that your company can support your education. This level of preparation will not only make your case but will also demonstrate your ability to succeed in an MBA program.

Where To Find Companies That Pay for MBAs

Many resources are available if you need to find a role with a company that will pay for your MBA. Online research using terms such as “businesses that pay for MBA,” “educational assistance programs,” or “best places to work” will yield a rich harvest of information about the possibilities.

Business media and employment services frequently revisit the topics of employer benefits and EAPs. Fortune magazine recently published a list of Fortune 500 companies offering EAPs and Builtin.com published a list of startups and tech companies. Indeed published “How To Find a Company That Will Pay for Your MBA,” while Glassdoor posted “18 Best Places To Work Companies With Remote Jobs That Pay $100,000+.” 2, 8, 11, 12

An Online MBA Can Repay Your Investment Many Times Over

The Albers School of Business and Economics Online MBA offers working professionals the flexibility of a part-time program and the high quality of an AACSB-accredited program. Albers is one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Value Schools; it’s a place you can grow and learn while you continue to contribute to your company’s success.

Learn more about the curriculum and tuition, then review our application requirements to get started. You can also connect with an Admissions Advisor to learn more about the program. Invest in your future now to reap a lifetime of benefits.

  1. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and surveys/documents/shrm%20employee%20benefits%202019%20executive%20summary.pdf
  2. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from fortune.com/education/business/articles/2021/07/15/these-fortune-500-companies-will-help-pay-for-employees-mba/
  3. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/gmac_corporate_recruiters_survey_sept_2020.pdf
  4. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from fortune.com/education/business/articles/2021/04/24/will-your-online-mba-result-in-a-higher-salary/
  5. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2021/09/12/companies-are-offering-education-assistance-and-its-the-perk-for-happy-work/?sh=6358843c39dd
  6. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from fool.com/the-blueprint/tuition-reimbursement/
  7. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from ssa.gov/policy/docs/research-summaries/education-earnings.html
  8. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from builtin.com/company-culture/companies-that-pay-for-mba
  9. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from cnbc.com/2021/09/02/companies-offer-tuition-assistance-so-workers-can-go-back-to-college.html
  10. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from irs.gov/publications/p15b#en_US_2021_publink1000193667
  11. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/companies-pay-for-mba
  12. Retrieved on January 25, 2022, from htglassdoor.com/blog/remote-jobs-100k-bptw/