Tuition Assistance Programs for Nursing Students
Putting yourself through nursing school can be very expensive, but enrolling in an employer tuition assistance program can be an excellent option. This involves your employer paying for some or all of your nursing education, including tuition costs and course materials.
Employer Tuition Assistance Programs for nursing students can fall into two categories: tuition reimbursement and tuition remission. If you are already working in the profession, an employer tuition assistance program may help you to achieve the necessary qualifications to improve your position in the company.
Tuition Reimbursement for Nurses
This option is often taken when you or your employer decides that it would be beneficial for you to increase your nursing qualifications. For example, you may already have a CNA and use tuition reimbursement to study to be a Licensed Practical Nurse or pursue a degree to work as a Registered Nurse (RN). Part-time workers are generally not excluded from these type of programs, but it is often the case that there can be a lower reimbursement threshold if you are not a full-time employee as you are deemed to have a greater opportunity to study outside of your employment.
For tuition reimbursement, it is common procedure for you to pay for your own tuition costs (including course materials) initially and then be reimbursed by your employee at a later date - often once you have officially completed the course with a certain pass. To prove your grades, employers tend to ask you to submit a grade report at the end of the semester.
While the pass mark is predominantly dictated by your employer, you are typically expected to achieve a pass of "C" or better in academic standards or to achieve a pass in the pass or fail grading system. If your tuition has been funded by a scholarship (as opposed to you paying for it yourself), you may not be reimbursed for tuition costs but you would be for course materials such as textbooks.
Depending on the employer, you may be reimbursed for all of your tuition. In other cases, this may be restricted to half or three-quarters of your total tuition costs. For doctorate degrees, a reimbursement for three-quarters of your tuition costs is fairly standard but may vary from employer to employer. Most employers will have a maximum amount that they will not exceed. If the cost of your tuition goes beyond this, you will probably be expected to fund the rest of it yourself. In some cases, you will only be funded for a set number of classes per year. Some employers will allow you to choose the nursing school at which you can receive your tuition, while others will specify that you need to attend a specific nursing school to be eligible for tuition reimbursement.
Tuition reimbursement plans vary, with some only offering benefits for job-related courses while others offer benefits regardless of course of study. Some plans restrict benefits to degree related course work while others cover non-degree programs such as professional certificate programs. Some plans reimburse tuition expenses alone but others may cover tuition, books, and fees.
Check with your company`s human resources department to learn details of your company`s program, and be sure to fill out an application for tuition reimbursement before applying for other forms of financial aid.
General Tuition Reimbursement Procedures
- Determine available benefits and eligibility requirements for your company`s plan.
- Apply for admission at the school you plan to attend
- Get accepted for admission at the school you applied to
- Complete an application to participate in your company`s Tuition Reimbursement Plan
- Get any necessary approval signatures on the application if needed
- Submit completed form to the proper department (usually human resources)
- Apply for all other forms of financial aid and scholarships you may be eligible for
- Register for the classes you plan to take
- After finishing your courses for that period submit a receipt of tuition and fees paid and an official grade report from the institution to the person who manages the employee tuition reimbursement plan at your company.
- Get paid.
Tuition Remission for Registered Nurses
Whereas tuition reimbursement usually requires you to pay for your own tuition costs and be temporarily out of pocket before your employer reimburses you, tuition remission means that your employer will pay for your tuition costs on an upfront basis if you qualify for the program.
Full-time employees may be eligible for up to 50 per cent remission on tuition costs, and in some cases, this will rise to 100 per cent. Most tuition reimbursement programs require you to have worked as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a full-time capacity for at least six months prior to taking part in the program. Temporary workers are generally excluded from these types of programs as they are not considered to be full-time employees.
There are many ways to make nursing school affordable and tuition reimbursement plans should be the very foundation of your financial aid plan. Thousands of working adults are making use of employer paid tuition reimbursement plans in order to advance their education and career goals through campus based courses, online nursing degree programs, and professional certificate programs.