Challenging times confront professional and continuing education leaders. Ten percent of the population is unemployed and an estimated 20% are underemployed. Money is tight and competition for resources has never been fiercer. According to Dorothy Durkin much of the education accountability discussion is centered on K-12, yet millions of students have spilled out of colleges and universities into the job market.
At a time when institutions are looking for alternative and creative ways to generate revenue beyond financial aid, corporate tuition reimbursement benefits are a $20 billion resource that is often overlooked. Research shows only a small percentage of employees take advantage of this valuable benefit.
Recommendations from Kevin Currie, Northeastern University Online
How do you combat decline in tuition reimbursement?
1. Understand your current business and plan for your business
2. Create programs for the market – where were the opportunities, programs with markets but not offered
3. Increase financial aid options – developed their own capability to serve their students
4. Develop external partners – offer discounting programs for preferred organizations
5. Offer degrees online
Recommendations from Michael Echols, Bellevue University
Companies have cash on the books. The problem is how to invest it in an environment of uncertainty. The approach has to focus on risk and reward for employee and employer. How do we manage?
1. Co-design curriculum to preserve integrity of the education process with the model of the enterprise. Increase the valuable of the deliverable – employee needs to be more in tune and oriented to the needs of the organization.
2. Communicate educational strategy to the organization – problem is that most tuition reimbursement programs are managed by the HR office, not organizational talent management.
3. Creating a human capital lab and an associated PHd in human capital management – we have to use an investment financial model not a benefits model – reward for employee and employer
Recommendations from Carol Aslanian, Education Dynamics
1. Don’t wait for the call … take the initiative and visit the largest employers in your area
2. Cold calls work
3. Listen to demands … don’t push supply
4. Face-to-face contact works best for partnering with your top employers
5. Separate your discussions on contract education and use of tuition reimbursement
6. Create deferred payment policies for those using tuition reimbursement
7. Consider discounts for organizations you partner with
8. Follow through! Whatever your promise to do … do it!