Educational Assistance for free

My current employer offers Educational Assistance to employees, up to a certain spending limit per calendar year. I wish I had known that sooner. I have been through quite a bit just trying to¬†refinance my student loans. The great thing about this program is that they pay for tuition UP FRONT with letters of credit. My previous employer had an educational assistance program also, but that program used a tuition reimbursement strategy; meaning that the employee had to put up all of the necessary funds for classes and then wait until the end of the course(s) to be reimbursed. What if you didn’t have the funds before the class start time? In that case, too bad! No educational assistance for you.

Due to the presence of this lucrative up-front educational assistance employee benefit, I decided to enroll in the University of Phoenix online campus. Because why wouldn’t I? If your company offers a program such as this and you are not taking advantage of it then you are “leaving money on the table” as the old saying goes. I’m not saying that the University of Phoenix is the best route to take. In fact, I’m going to have to dedicate an entirely new post to my impressions and experience so far with the University of Phoenix (hint: not good).

asu_online

ASU (Arizona State University) now has their own completely online degree programs. I am currently researching one of their degrees and I may just decide to give their online program a try in the near future.

I also know a few people that highly criticize the value of a degree and make negative remarks about a college education. These people tend to say that your work experience and knowledge is all that counts and that “any idiot” can get a degree. Well guess what? Your educational program is what you make of it. If you truly have a desire to put forth the effort, learn and better yourself, than a degree program might just be for you. Even if you have no interest in obtaining a degree, you can still use your employers tuition assistance program to take college classes that interest you! I have taken many courses at community college that were not part of any degree program. I took these courses to expand my knowledge and to continue learning, without any concern for what “degree” they might fit into.

Does your company offer educational assistance, in advance or in arrears (reimbursement)? If so, are you taking advantage of it? If you are not, you are missing out on a learning experience and practically losing money!

About Wes Novack

Wesley Novack is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has a breadth of experience in online publishing, the consumer electronics industry, and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, skateboarding, hiking, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on Twitter @WesleyTech.

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2 Comments on “Educational Assistance for free”

  1. My profession requires us to take classes as long as we are licensed. This isn’t a problem if we belong to a large firm, but if we mostly do public service type stuff or if we start our own business, the fees for the courses add up. It is about $600/year and the credit doesn’t go on your resume (it’s 6 3-4 hour seminars).

    These sort of classes are great to take. Keeps your mind sharp in between bouts of drunkenness. Plus, I may give you a job before my corporation takes a dive towards bankruptcy and scandal…
    But at least you have stock options

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