continuing education

How to Continue Your Education in Asheville NC While Working

Just how do you continue your education while working? Getting an education is the key that will drive you toward success. Many workers hope to get more education, whether by attaining a technical certificate, getting an associate’s degree from the local community college, or going to a four-year college or university and earning their bachelor’s degree.

This article talks about the benefits and challenges of continuing your education while working.  It’s not easy but you can and should consider continuing your education so you can stay on the cutting edge in your line of work.

 You should also consider reading: Go back to school article

Schedule Conflicts
The biggest stumbling blocks for most workers are time and money. You may be looking for an employer that offers you the scheduling flexibility that you need in order to balance your other commitments like family. You wonder how you can get an education if you are already committed to working a regular 9 to 5 job.

How to Afford College
The second challenge facing most people who want to climb the ladder of success is figuring out how to afford the growing cost of higher education. According to a recent study done by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average price tag for an undergraduate degree at a public college now exceeds $16,000 a year, factoring in the cost of tuition, book fees, room and board. For a private college or university, the numbers are even higher, topping out at approximately $42,000 per year.

A Solution to Your Problem
As you are reviewing the challenging situation, a valid question come to mind. You’re thinking, “How am I going to pay for continuing my education when I’m already struggling to pay my bills now?”

Employer based tuition assistance may be a solution to your current problem. If you research the issue, you will be surprised at the number of major employers who will pay for employees’ continued education in Asheville NC. Many employers may not advertise this benefit, but it’s a very real option for you to consider.

Why Don’t Employers Advertise This Benefit More?
All employers are interested in attracting and retaining the highest quality employees. After all, the success of their business is based upon the quality of their employees. Many employees, however, are more interested in salary and health benefits, or sometimes perks like free parking, flexible work schedules or daycare benefits. As a result, employers will promote those commonly requested benefits.

How to Talk With Human Resources And Your Boss
You may even consider asking your current employer if they offer tuition assistance. How do you bring up the subject with your boss or with Human Resources? You pick the right time to have a conversation, and be sure to do your research in advance. You may want to create a list of reasons why you would like to pursue continued education in Asheville NC, rather than going to a different market.

Be Sure to Write It Down
Put in writing the kind of credential or college degree you are hoping to attain, and list how your earning the degree will benefit the company. Be sure to explain in writing, “I’m interested in continuing my education while I continue in my current position.” You may want to connect the degree you want to attain to your current position, and explain how it will benefit the employer in the next 3 to 5 years. Show how your continued education will solve a business need for your employer.

Why Employers Give Tuition Assistance
Why would an employer offer help with paying for continued education for their employees? Employers often offer tuition assistance, because they are hoping to give the best potential employees an incentive to come work there. Employers also offer help paying for college classes or other kinds of continuing education, because it allows good employees a chance to stay with their current employer. One of the highest costs for any company is high employee turnover, so the better they are at attracting and retaining high quality employees, the better the bottom-line looks.

How Does Tuition Assistance Work?
Every employer’s tuition assistance program runs differently, so you want to be sure to ask for details. Some offer an employee stipend that you as the employee never need to repay. Commonly, employers will offer tuition assistance that is not considered part of your base salary, but it may be considered a part of your overall income and benefit package. You want to check with an accountant about whether you need to include tuition assistance on your income tax return.

Grade Requirements and Proof of Class Completion
Often, employers will ask that you as the employee pay for the cost of classes in advance. They will reimburse you upon seeing proof that you have successfully completed the course work. Be sure to ask what kind of proof is required, like a course transcript and whether a certain grade requirement exists. Many employers will also have an annual limit or lifetime limit on what they pay in terms of employee tuition assistance.

Major Employers Who Offer Help Paying for Continued Education
The Asheville NC area is filled with major employers who offer their quality employees help in paying for community college or technical training. Some employers will offer tuition for a four-year program only if the desired credential is related to your line of work, so be sure to ask.

Major Employers That Help You Pay for College:

1. Mission Health
Mission Health offers tuition assistance to their employees from the first day of work. The amount they offer increases based upon the employee’s length of time with the employer. The longer you work for Mission Health, the more money they pay. Tuition assistance for full-time employees ranges from up to $1,500 to a maximum amount of $2,500 for employees who have five or more years with the company.

2. Publix
Publix offers a generous tuition assistance program for their employees who have been with the company for a minimum of 6 months of continuous service, and who work at least 10 hours per week. The amount of assistance varies, depending on whether you attend a two-year or four-year program. They even pay for some online classes and other training opportunities outside the traditional college coursework, so be sure to ask Human Resources for more details.

3. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is another major employer that generously offers help paying for college. They may provide qualifying employees up to $5,000 annually in tuition reimbursement, and they additionally offer scholarships to children of employees.

4. UPS
UPS offers helping paying for college not just to full-time employees, but they also give tuition assistance to part-time employees. Ask about minimum hours required to receive help paying for your continued education. UPS offers tuition assistance starting on the employee date of hire, with a lifetime maximum of $25,000.

5. Starbucks
Starbucks is famous for the generous tuition assistance program they offer employees. Employee partners who work at a company-owned store need to work a minimum of 20 hours per week to qualify for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. The Plan extends to all eligible employees who don’t currently have a bachelor’s degree. Since 2014, Starbucks has partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to give eligible employees a chance to earn their degree, with Starbucks paying the entire cost of ASU tuition.

More Time and More Money
These quality employers are just a few examples of the many companies that offer tuition assistance. Many employers like medical centers and retail stores offer you the opportunity to have scheduling flexibility outside of the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule. If you find the right employer, you may find both the time and money you need to continue your education. You can look forward to a brighter tomorrow, with higher earnings and career advancement. With all of these tremendous options available to you right here in the Asheville area, your future looks bright.

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