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Keep Tuition Assistance Costs in Check
Rapidly rising tuition costs are putting a burden on employers and employees. Here are some ways companies can reduce program costs while maintaining the investment.
Tuition costs in the U.S. continue to rise on an annual basis, making it increasingly more expensive for employers to offer tuition assistance programs aimed at developing their workforce.
A recent report by the College Board found that tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased 4.2 percent from 2011-2012. That puts the average cost for full-time undergraduate institutions at $8,655 at public four-year institutions, $29,056 at private nonprofit institutions and $15,172 at private for-profit institutions, according to the College Board. Part-time students, such as working adults, are equally affected by these rising costs.
EdLink, a tuition assistance benefits company, outlines a few methods companies can use to mitigate much of the tuition increases in its August 2012 report, “Innovative Approaches to Manage Your Tuition Program.” These methods allow employers to both reduce expenses and get more value from their existing tuition program investment. Further, these alternatives can create viable pathways to credit while reducing the overall price tag and debt to employers and employees.
Listed below are some of the methods included in the study.
Leverage prior learning assessments. Companies are able to allow an individual to receive credit for nontraditional learning achieved through work and life experience. Through portfolio reviews and examinations, individuals are offered an opportunity to formally earn credit for subject matter expertise gained through workforce development and job training, independent reading, the military, volunteerism and other hands-on experiential learning.
The average cost of a portfolio through LearningCounts.org, a learning assessment provider, is $379 for one to 12 credit hours. Prior learning assessment is also offered at all types of undergraduate institutions, including private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, as well as public institutions. Costs will vary.
Use examinations for college credit. Individuals can earn college credit through subject matter exams. Some examples: College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST Exams, Advanced Placement (AP) and UExcel.
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