What’s the Difference Between Tuition Reimbursement and Tuition Assistance?

Explore the critical differences between these two payment systems that support education benefits.
tuition assistance vs. tuition reimbursement

Tuition reimbursement

The process for tuition reimbursement is as follows: An employee will pay for their education program initially, and upon completion (the definition of which differs by employer), the employer reimburses the employee for all — or some — of the cost.

Tuition assistance

Sometimes called direct tuition payment, tuition assistance differs from tuition reimbursement in that the employer’s contribution is paid upfront or deferred.

Examples of successful tuition assistance programs

“Employees who take advantage of the company’s free degrees are 3.5X more likely to stay with the company and 7X more likely to move up into management.”

Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung in an interview with CNBC

Which benefit is right for your business?

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