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Why Do HR Pros Largely Ignore Tuition Programs?

Why do human-resources and talent-management professionals tend to overlook the value of tuition assistance? &#8212;<i>Premium on Education, talent management, education, Scottsdale, Arizona</i>

October 17, 2012

Dear Premium:

Many organizations overlook the potential benefits of tuition-reimbursement programs because they overlook employee development itself.

It is hard to assess in precise ways the value of having better-qualified employees and the advantages of promoting from within, as opposed to recruiting from outside. For that reason, few employers make the attempt.

Historically, tuition-benefit programs have been handled by employee-benefits departments, not the employee-development or -training departments. The value of the coursework often isn't apparent to departments that are concerned mainly with cost and accountability issues.

Finally, even among companies that recognize employee development is important, relatively few bother to include coursework or even academic degrees earned by employees as a part of the formal career-development process. Sometimes this happens even with Master of Business Administration programs paid for by tuition-reimbursement plans.

None of this makes sense, of course. But this kind of short-sightedness happens in large and complex organizations in which internal accounting systems are at best imperfect.

SOURCE: Peter Cappelli, Center for Human Resources, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

LEARN MORE: Please read a related article, "Colleges and Manufacturers Work Together to Solve the Skills Crunch."

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.