Tuition Reimbursement Perk

With a demand for healthcare professionals expected to increase through 2024, hospitals and health systems are taking steps to ensure they will have all of the staff they need to support their patients.

The dilemma for them though is how to attract talent to their company over other healthcare institutions? The short answer is they need a strong talent acquisition strategy.

Approximately 75% of dental school students will have more than $100,000 worth of debt by graduation according to the American Student Dental Association.

Meanwhile, the average amount of money borrowed by pharmacy students at the time of graduation was estimated to be $142,500 in 2014 according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The Association of American Medical Colleges found medical school graduates owed slightly higher for the same year at an estimated $180,000.

Debt Factor

Since student debt is a factor for recent grads in choosing employment, many employers are offering their staff tuition reimbursement as a hiring perk and it appears to be popular.

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) found that nearly 20% of workers use or have used this educational benefit to help offset the cost of pursuing college degrees and continuing education.

“Our employees appreciate this benefit not merely for the monetary savings it confers but also for the company values it reflects,” said Tom Kernan, JD, CHP, vice president of Stat Staff Professionals. “The amount of good will it has generated is priceless.”

The staffing agency based in Saratoga Springs, NY covers up to $3,000 annually as reimbursement for fees related to a bachelors in nursing (BSN) or masters in nursing (MSN) according to their website. Employees become eligible when they have a minimum of 1 year of continuous service with the company and work an average of 30 hours per week.

Stat Staff rolled out their program in 2015 and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing continually encourages other employers to follow suit to promote lifelong learning and education advancement.

Similarly, “BSN-in-10” proposals have been introduced by several state nursing associations including New York and New Jersey which would make it mandatory for all registered nurses to attain their baccalaureate degree within 10 years of graduating from an entry-level RN program.

Employee Engagement

More than 2,000 people participating in tuition assistance programs across the country were surveyed in 2011 by the consulting firm ROI Institute. The study, The Value of Tuition Assistance Tuition Assistance found that 77% of those respondents listed tuition assistance as the reason they furthered their education.

“In addition to building professional competencies and fostering career growth, we believe that investing in our employees’ higher education promotes employee engagement and has generated significant good will toward the company, both of which we believe are essential to attracting and retaining valuable employees,” said Kernan who explained that Stat Staff also offers reimbursement to their internal employees. Those staff members are encouraged to advance themselves in areas like human resources, business administration and legal studies.

One of Kernan’s employees even turned down another job offering more money because of Stat Staff’s reimbursement benefits.

“Ultimately, we view tuition reimbursement as a powerful tool for promoting individual growth, contributing to the betterment of health care delivery, and making our team the very best it can be.”

Chelsea Lacey-Mabe is a former staff writer.

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