Advising the Adult Learner: Helping Corporate Employees Maximize Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance Programs (TAP) are a great benefit for Adult Learners who work in corporations. Those employees can take advantage of $3000 or more per year, reimbursed by their company. But many employees find it frustrating to return to college and do not take advantage of their tuition reimbursement provided by the company.

Some of the main reasons why corporate employees are not using their tuition assistance programs are:

• Finishing a degree will take too much time

• Many colleges are too expensive, and even with tuition assistance, there is still money out-of-pocket

• It is difficult for some employees to know where to start or how to select the best college or major

• College terms such as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and Credit by Examination (CBE) are confusing and employee are unsure if these programs apply to them.

• Corporate employees get frustrated by aggressive marketing from For-Profit Colleges.

Hiring an Independent Academic Advisor or an Educational Management company with Academic Advisors can help overcome these barriers to education and help the employees select the best college, focused on their goals, background and skills and within the company’s Tuition Assistance guidelines. Here are some of the ways that Academic Advisors can save time off a degree plan, save tuition dollars for the company and set up a reasonable Path to Graduation for the employee.

Independent Academic Advisors:

• Are not tied to any college or university, so can make independent recommendations to help the employee save time and help the company save money.

• Can look at the employees’ life and work experience, licenses, certificates, military and corporate training to select schools that will use this Prior Learning for college credits.

• Will recommend colleges and universities that stay within the Tuition Assistance maximum reimbursement per year.

• Help employees stay within their financial means and not get into Education Debt.

• Have experience in Educational settings or corporate Training and Development and have advanced degrees. Some have experience as Career Counselors or College Finance Advisors.

Educational Advising may include:

• Aligning degree plan to Career Development

• Assessment to help narrow down Major and Concentration area

• Outline prerequisites and find less expensive options for these courses

• Compare Online degrees to On-campus degrees

• Overview Admission process and Admission tests

• Cost and time comparisons of colleges

• Transcript and military evaluation

• Educational Evaluation

Independent Academic Advisors can help employees find the best path to graduation, while cutting costs to the corporation. These Academic Advisors can be a powerful tool to any Tuition Assistance Program. Some of the companies that provide independent academic advisors are EduPlan ( http://www.eduplan.org ), Starr Career Services and Tuition Advisory Services.