Home Blog How to Ask for MBA Tuition Reimbursement

How to Ask for MBA Tuition Reimbursement

April 04, 2024
Young female business professional smiles while holding paper folders.

Each person considering committing the time and effort to earn an MBA has personal motivations: professional development, promotions, higher salaries, expanding business acumen, gaining respect and increasing credibility in the office. Even if different peoples’ reasons for pursuing an MBA vary, all potential candidates likely share the same question: How will I pay for this program?

We’ve got good news for you! According to the 2022 Employee Benefits Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 48% of employers indicated that they offer undergraduate or graduate tuition assistance as part of their company benefits.1 A separate survey, conducted in 2021 by Willis Towers Watson, found that 80% of large employers offer tuition reimbursement.2 Despite this ready access, the global management consulting firm Bain and Company found, in a survey of Fortune 500 companies, that only 2% of employees take advantage of tuition assistance programs.3 The upshot: Employers value your professional development, it’s likely that there’s employer tuition assistance available, and almost no one is asking for it.

If you’d like to take advantage of this often-overlooked resource, download our tuition reimbursement guide.

Negotiating Tuition Reimbursement:

Ask the Right Questions

Questions for Your Employer

As you prepare to make your MBA tuition reimbursement proposal to your employer, you’ll need to do some research.

  • Does your company have a tuition reimbursement program?
    • If so, does it cover degrees in full?
      • If it doesn’t, is there a maximum percentage or dollar amount available? What is it?
  • What policies and procedures must you follow while making your request?
  • Some companies offer student loan forgiveness instead of tuition reimbursement. Is your company one of them?
    • If so, what actions and documentation are required to request it?
  • Has your company published guidelines for the tuition reimbursement process?
    • If so, where are those guidelines available?
    • If not, ask an HR representative for specific information about the process
  • Whose approval is required to secure tuition reimbursement?

Many employers set conditions for MBA tuition reimbursement, and you’ll need to know exactly what they are before you enter into an employer tuition assistance agreement.

  1. Does your class and/or program have to relate to your job? If your company will only fund work-related studies, you need to know that before committing to a program or to a reimbursement agreement.
  2. Does reimbursement carry a requirement that you’ll stay with the company for a certain amount of time after completing your degree? If so, how long?
  3. Do your grades affect the amount of reimbursement you receive? Are all courses covered at 100% or will you receive varied funding amounts based on academic performance? What are the specifics?
  4. Does reimbursement depend on how long you’ve already been with the company? Does it require full-time employment?
  5. Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement only for certain educational institutions? If so, which ones?
  6. Is reimbursement available for online programs? Hybrid programs? On-campus programs only?

Questions for Your University

If your employer sets multiple parameters around MBA tuition reimbursement, don’t be discouraged. This is another moment when asking the right questions will serve you well.

In all likelihood, your university—one that has already reviewed your experience and welcomed you as a student—will be happy to work with you to help reach your MBA goals. CSUMB, for example, works with students on a one-to-one basis, modifying class schedules in order to maximize tuition benefits. The admissions outreach advisors are always ready to answer questions and help you keep moving ahead.

Other Financial Aid Options

In addition to employer tuition reimbursement, there are a number of different financial aid options available to MBA students. You can visit our financial aid page to learn more about the choices you may have.

Become an Asset to Your Company and Community

CSUMB’s Responsible Business Online MBA program is focused on “Innovation, Responsibility, Impact,” training professionals to see beyond the bottom line and consider how they can ethically contribute to society and the planet’s well-being. Explore our interactive, experiential program and consider how an MBA can help make your brightest future possible.

For more information, schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.