Going back to school is usually a good idea, but many people forgo a return to their education because they think they cannot afford it, either in terms of money or time. Many employers pay for their employees' education through tuition assistance programs. These programs are so valuable to employees because they allow not only for an education payment method, but also a chance to integrate that education with one's career plans. Using a tuition assistance program provides double value in a way in that an employee can acquire more education while also moving up in a company. Employers provide tuition assistance programs because they are a way to provide farther education to employees, ultimately making them more valuable to the company.
According to tax laws, employers can give $5,250 of tax-free money to employees each year for their education. Since employers can write off this assistance, they are often eager to send employees back to school. Most employers do not exceed this limit of assistance because anything over $5,250 gets taxed. Still, that amount is significant and can really help employees receive greater education.
Each tuition assistance program is different, as some companies emphasize specific traits over others. Almost all programs require employees to maintain a high GPA, however. There is no reason to pay for an education if it is not going to go to good use for the company. Thus, if you cannot maintain a high GPA, applying for tuition assistance might not be a good idea. Some companies even give more money for better grades as an incentive to work hard. A 4.0 GPA might be worth 100% of the potential tuition assistance, while a 3.0 might be worth only 75% of the money.
Some companies pay you tuition for you, while others ask you to pay it and then reimburse you. This means applying for tuition assistance might be futile if you do not have the money to make the initial payments. Ideally, you would like to have enough money saved up that you can easily pay for two semester of schooling on your own.
Many companies also enforce certain stipulations regarding what you study and where you work following the completion of your degree. Many want you to major in something which will give you an education that is beneficial to the company. There is no reason for a marketing company to pay for an employee to get a degree in history, for example. Companies might also require that you work for them following the completion of your education. If you decide to leave, you may be on the hook for the tuition assistance they already provided you. Thus, if you are unsure of your future with the company, you probably should not ask for tuition assistance from them.
Lastly, note that companies usually have a time limit on how long it can take you to finish your degree. They will not continue to pay for your education indefinitely, and many want you to take the maximum course load possible to finish as quickly as you can. If you are not ready for full-time schooling, you may have to rethink tuition assistance.