Preface: I'm a software engineer at a small-ish company (under 40 people) and I've been there for over 4 years. I was initially hired as QA (I do not have an engineering background) and over the course of 2/3 years, I taught myself (and took night classes) to learn how to code and made the transition. During that process, I figured out that I LOVE DEVELOPMENT. I applied for and got into a graduate program for Comp Sci and it's amazing! I'm learning a lot of theory and I'm becoming a better engineer and problem solver with each class.
Problem: Graduate school is expensive! It's especially expensive when you can't take out student loans or apply for grants unless you're part-time. I really didn't want to sacrifice my work, so I'm only taking one class a semester so neither my education nor my work suffers. At my annual review (early October) I asked my employers about education benefits. (They have both mentioned that they're happy I'm going back to school.) They noted that this hasn't been done in our company before and that we would discuss it further. So I waited... and waited... and it hasn't come up.
I assume this means that they are not willing to offer me any educational benefits and don't want to directly tell me that. The problem is that I would really like to give it one more go before I make a decision about next steps in my professional life.
One of my co-workers suggested putting together a formal proposal for what I would be looking for with education benefits and research what other companies offer, but I'm not really sure how to present that or how that would come across. Or is it better to be less formal and simply ask the question again?
I don't want to come across as pushy, but I'm also really enjoying school. At this point if I were forced to make a decision between taking a less demanding job and continuing my education full/part time or quitting school and continuing at my current job, I would pick the former. I just really hate that option.
So: Any suggestions for a conflict-avoidant people pleaser who wants to ask for financial support for education that will/already is making me a better employee?