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29 Apr

Tuition Reimbursement and Financial Aid for Business School

Business school tuition is a significant investment, and cost is often one of the biggest factors that prospective students must consider when deciding whether to take the plunge and advance their education. The good news is financial aid for business school does exist, and one of the key sources of it might be closer than you think.

Employer tuition reimbursement is often a convenient source of financial aid for business school for motivated professionals who can demonstrate to their company that an advanced business education would benefit the organization on the whole. We know that approaching your employer to ask for money may seem daunting, so we’ve put together this handy guide to help you increase the odds that your request is granted.

Tuition Reimbursement

Research and Prepare

This may seem obvious, but your first step when requesting tuition reimbursement from your employer is to make sure that it’s even an option. Not all companies offer financial aid for business school, so do some initial research to make sure that your company does, or at least that they do not have an explicit policy against doing so. This simple initial step can help you avoid a potentially embarrassing and awkward conversation.

Use Your Network to Your Advantage

One relatively safe way to ensure you have the correct information before you approach your boss is to reach out to colleagues and coworkers who have encountered a similar situation when considering graduate school. They may have extremely helpful advice regarding how the conversation went, such as what tone they felt was appropriate and what seemed to be a compelling argument that resonated with their manager.

Having these conversations with your coworkers can not only help you attain the financial support you seek, but can also strengthen your work relationships by helping you bond with colleagues who share your desire to grow intellectually and professionally.

Compose a Detailed Proposal

A detailed plan for graduate school is essential to convincing your employer that you’re serious about your commitment to it. Definitely know ahead of time what school or schools you will be applying to, what their tuition costs are, how long it will take to complete the degree, and perhaps even an estimate of how much time per week you can expect to spend on schoolwork and how it will fit around your work schedule.

If you think your boss may balk at the level of commitment required for your graduate program, consider exploring online options. Programs such as the Online MBA and Online MS in Business Analytics from Seattle University are typically designed for working professionals who do not want to take time away from their full-time jobs. The flexibility offered by such a program can often help convince a skeptical boss that your performance at work will not suffer at all, even as you take on the added responsibilities of graduate school.

Sell Your Plan With Confidence

If your employer is going to be convinced to give you a significant amount of money for tuition reimbursement, they are going to want to know what’s in it for them as well. Be prepared to discuss clearly and confidently the ways in which your increased knowledge and expanded skill set will help at work. Show how you will be able to handle additional team leadership functions or utilize more sophisticated analytical techniques to offer new positive outcomes from your current role, and indicate a willingness to take on more responsibility in a more advanced role as your education and experience grow.

Emphasize the Bottom Line

Real statistical data supports the notion that spending money on business school tuition is a sound investment for most companies. A 2016 study of health insurance giant Cigna’s Education Reimbursement Plan demonstrated that for every dollar they spent toward employee education, they received $1.29 in savings, or a 129 percent return on investment.1 If your employer is not aware of data like this, bring it to their attention to politely and firmly to indicate the extent to which supporting your investment in education is a winning business decision.


Invest in Yourself With Albers

The Online MBA and Online MSBA from the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University are fantastic ways to grow your career by investing in your own professional development. Learn more about tuition and financial aid for these online programs, and prepare for the next step in your professional journey.


1. Retrieved on April 11, 2019, from luminafoundation.org/news-and-views/2016-04-22-cigna-education-reimbursement-program