Companies Willing to Support Employees' Education

June 15, 2006 ( - A recent poll measuring companies' education assistance policies found that almost all of the companies surveyed (94%) have some type of formal or informal education assistance plan - 88% have a formal policy and 6% have an informal policy.

However, of those companies that have assistance plans, 74% said less than 15% of their employees participate, according to a news releases on the survey that was conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

The companies surveyed offered the most assistance training to their full-time employees – 99% of respondents make education assistance benefits available to full-time salaried employees, 86% offer benefits to full-time hourly employees, 37% offer benefits to part-time salaried employees and 33% offer benefits to part-time hourly employees, the release said.

Almost all respondents (93%) offer education assistance to cover undergraduate-level and graduate-level course work, 69% cover online and distance-learning courses and 56% cover vocational and technical course work. All of the companies said they pay tuition expenses, 64% pay for books, 63% pay for fees and 21% for cover supplies. Some companies even reimburse employees based on completion (73%) and performance – 69% reimburse based on the grade received.

More than half (57%) of the employers surveyed said they do not require their employees to pay back all or part of any monies reimbursed for education if they leave employment, and the study found that the most common time period that employees have to stay with the company in order not to have to reimburse it for educational expenses is one year.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans surveyed 226 US and Canadian multiemployer trust funds, corporations, public employers and professional service firms.