A business case for tuition reimbursement is a document created by an employee, then submitted to an employer, which requests approval for the reimbursement of educational expenses such as undergraduate and graduate course work.
To persuade your employer to approve a tuition reimbursement request, your business case must be compelling, well-written and motivate the reader(s) to make a decision in your favour. It must clearly describe the financial and organizational benefits and the return on investment. The business case must be long enough to provide the right level of detail, but not too lengthy so that you lose the reader's interest.
Before submitting a business case, understand the employer's tuition reimbursement policies and determine who must approve the tuition reimbursement requests.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Word-processing software
- Copy of tuition reimbursement policy
- Course information, costs, dates
Review the existing tuition reimbursement or educational policies and determine if your request falls outside the guidelines. If it does, make some informal inquiries to your manager or human resources partner to determine whether the company has made exceptions to the policy in the past.
Determine who must approve the business case and in what order. Some companies may require that your manager approves the case before you can submit it to the final approver.
Gather financial and educational details about your specific reimbursement request such as the university name, course titles, course start and end dates and tuition fees.
Write the introduction to your business case. This is a summary of what you are requesting, why you are requesting it, the benefits to the organisation and the fees and/or resource requirements. Like the entire business case, your introduction should be compelling and generate interest, so that the reader reviews the entire document.
Describe your tuition request in detail. Provide information about the program, the university and the specific courses. Describe the costs and resource requirements involved. Denote whether you will need to adjust your work schedule to attend the college courses.
Describe the employer's return on investment. Indicate how the course work will improve your work performance and benefit the employer. Be specific and quantify the benefits wherever possible.
If appropriate, include alternative solutions. For example, you may want to propose an option that includes fewer courses or requests partial reimbursement.
End the document, with a section titled "next steps." Ask for approval of your business case. Provide a desired approval date and a method to contact you. Thank the reader for considering your tuition request.
Submit a copy of the business case to the appropriate approver(s). Request to meet with the approver(s) to walk them through the business case document.
Tips and warnings
- Most tuition request are for credit-bearing courses that count toward a degree program. However, there are some employers who may be willing to reimburse non-credit bearing, adult learning and training courses.
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- Diligentia: Components of a Good Business Case, Mike Lally, Feb. 18, 2005
- eHow: How to Create a Business Case for Tuition Reimbursement, K. Sue Redman
- HR World: The Pros and Cons of Providing Employee Continuing Education, David Hakala, Aug. 18, 2008
- Success Degrees: Getting Your Employer To Pay For Your Online Degree