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Have You Asked Your Employer About Tuition Reimbursement?

Tuition ReimbursementIt is common for employers to offer employees access to learning programs to build skills, legal expertise, and industry knowledge. As a prospective student you should understand tuition reimbursement options and be willing to make a case for your employer funding your work in the online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Compliance and Risk Management program. 

What is Tuition Reimbursement? 

Tuition reimbursement, which is also sometimes called tuition assistance, is when employers offset the cost of adult learning and tuition costs for their current employees. Sometimes the reimbursement covers course fees upon a successful grade, or a quarterly stipend may be offered to reimburse the cost of tuition. 

How to Convince Your Employer to Pay for Your Education

Regardless of the format, tuition reimbursement benefits all involved and can be negotiated into any compensation package. Here’s how to make it happen: 

  1. Know Your Ideal Situation – In some cases the company requires the employee to work at the company for a determined amount of time before the reimbursement occurs. Such an arrangement boosts retention rates for the company and requires a specific time commitment from you. Does this situation work for you? Ask for exactly what your ideal situation would look like and be detailed and confident in your request. 
  2. An Alternative to a Pay Raise – If you recently asked for a salary increase and the answer was no, or not now, tuition reimbursement is a viable alternative. Often education reimbursement comes out of a different budget category than payroll.
  3. Communicate Well – Be clear about your objectives when you approach your employer. Build and present a solid case. Explain that it benefits the company to pay for your MLS because the knowledge and skills you gain during your online MLS are timely, relevant, and transferable to any role or, if applicable in your case, to any industry.  Many current students report recognition and promotions during their studies. Your involvement with the program will bring value to your employer on the job in real-time, not only after you earn your degree. After your meeting, follow up with an email that contains bulleted reasons your plan makes sense. Do your research beforehand and mention competitors or similar companies that offer the educational perk.
  4. Research Your Company’s Professional Development Policy, and Be Prepared to Ask to Improve It

    – In your investigation process, you may learn that tuition reimbursement is an option for your role, or you may have the opportunity to advocate for it to become a new benefit. Approach the subject with gratitude, humility, assertiveness, and a desire to learn and apply legal expertise to your job. Do your research and be prepared to address your employer’s concerns and objections.

  5. Higher Levels of Trust All Around – Organizations that assist employees with paying for academic advancements demonstrate long-term investments in their people and build trust among team members in the process. These are excellent points to include in any proposal to add a tuition reimbursement program.
  6. Your Company Can Gain Credibility and Publicity – You are likely to become a thought leader as you do research, advise on legal studies, or travel for speaking engagements. You will naturally represent your company at these industry events. This exposure increases the company’s professional credibility and helps attract top talent.
  7. Improve Company Culture – When employers offer tuition reimbursement they demonstrate a long-term investment. Better yet, they benefit from developing you as a subject matter expert in your field as you begin to speak about topics of interest in legal publications and the mainstream media.
  8. Companies Save Money – Are you looking for more talking points? Over half (57 percent) of U.S. organizations have tuition reimbursement programs. A study with more than 22,000 participants reports that offering tuition assistance is associated with strong employee loyalty and engagement levels, and high talent retention rates—things every thriving company wants. 

Are they still not convinced? Tuition reimbursement programs are cost effective for employers. Money an organization spends repaying tuition or other education expenses for employees is tax-deductible up to certain annual limits. And tell your employer they will save on recruiting costs if they offer tuition assistance. For every $1 a company spends on educational assistance they save $1.29 in recruiting expenses.  The savings add up! 

We Can Help

We can help by walking you through options and matching your professional goals with an online program designed for adult learners just like you. There are also a number of financial aid resources available, and our team can help you determine the best plan for your situation. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the MLS program, or contact an admission advisor at 206-398-4268 or

Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management Program

Seattle U Law’s Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management program helps individuals who want to advance their careers and learn from respected leaders in ethics, compliance, and risk management. 

Depending on professional goals and interests, students in the fully online program can optionally choose to focus on financial compliance, healthcare compliance, corporate compliance, or data & cybersecurity compliance. The MLS program provides opportunities to solve problems through a legal lens and gain foundational knowledge of the law, but without a JD. It prepares graduates to lead compliance efforts in any organization, regardless of industry. Students graduate with a commanding knowledge of law, legal analysis, and the frameworks used to identify, assess, and respond to risk. The program’s values-based approach moves beyond a narrow sense of compliance and helps establish a sense of equity, justice, and inclusion.

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