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I just received a formal offer and everything is satisfactory except the tuition reimbursement. I'm planning to get a masters while working. This is a 2 year program with a 50k tuition. Currently, my offer only covers 30% of that cost. This is my first job and I've interned with the company a couple summers so they are giving me a fairly better salary.

Is it possible for me to negotiate better terms for tuition, on the basis that what I'm learning will contribute to my abilities greatly in the company?

  • Knowing your country would help. – mhoran_psprep Apr 19 '13 at 22:40
  • @mhoran_psprep usa – mugetsu Apr 19 '13 at 22:44
  • It never hurts to attempt to negotiate and express your concerns to your company. You could always try finding out if they are interested in making a contract for you to repay the costs of your tuition over time spent working there. – Quinma Apr 19 '13 at 22:48
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    Can't hurt to try. You would have to have been an awfully impressive intern, though, to get significantly more than the $15k they are already covering. – Carson63000 Apr 19 '13 at 23:01
  • @Carson63000 so you dont think it'd be wise to ask for 50% or more? – mugetsu Apr 19 '13 at 23:07
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One thing to learn is that everything is negotiable! You can ask for anything at all while you are negotiating. Some of the things you ask for might be easy to obtain, others might be extremely difficult.

Be aware though, that it is often difficult for a hiring manager to go outside the hiring guidelines that are normal in that company. Sometimes, the hiring manager would need to get approval from several levels of management - and that can be difficult to obtain.

Since you have already interned at this company, do you happen to know if the 30% tuition reimbursement is the company standard? I know in most of the companies where I have worked, it was far easier for me to offer a bit more in salary than to offer something outside the standard benefits.

Do you think the hiring company would agree that obtaining a Masters degree would actually make you a far more valuable employee? One way to determine an answer would be to look at their job postings and see what emphasis they place on advanced degrees. Knowing the answer to this question gives you a sense of the kind of leverage you would have in negotiations.

Be prepared for the hiring manager to say "no". Don't take it personally, that's just part of negotiating. And decide beforehand what your response will be either way. Perhaps this is an extremely important factor, and perhaps you know that other companies will give you salary or tuition reimbursement to cover your tuition, or perhaps not.

Good luck in your negotiations, and in your continued education.

  • ":Some of the things you ask for might be easy to obtain, others might be extremely difficult" ... and some may kill all negotiations. – user8365 Apr 20 '13 at 12:12
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Expect that they will require you to stay with the company for a specific number of years to compensate them for your extra benefit.

If they provide more than $5,250 per year in educational benefits to you, the amount over $5,250 is taxable income. If they bump your salary, then it will all be taxable.

They will have several concerns:

  • They will have to address what impact this will have with the rest of the employees. They might not want to set a precedent.
  • They might not be able to justify this additional expense compare to what they can bill for your services.
  • They might ask for you to delay starting the program for a year or two to allow them to get past your probationary period.
  • If they are concerned about their ability to guarantee your employment for enough years to reap a benefit, they will be hesitant to go beyond their current program maximum. If they have to lay you off next year they will have wasted tens of thousands of dollars.
  • How will the course load impact your performance. If they don't pay for this expensive program, will you be able to spread the classes over more years, and thus be able to travel more and work some 'overtime'.

You can ask, but you need o decide what you will do if they say no. You also need to be able to explain why letting you have this extra money for school will help them more than another program.

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    However, if the benefits over $5,250 also qualify as a working condition fringe benefit, your employer does not have to include them in your wages. A working condition fringe benefit is a benefit which, had you paid for it, you could deduct as an employee business expense. For more information on working condition fringe benefits, see Working Condition Benefits in chapter 2 of Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits <-- be very careful throwing that $5,250 number out there without including all relevant information. – enderland Apr 20 '13 at 16:15
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Tuition reimbursement is typically set by HR and is not negotiable. You can ask, but your manager is probably just following HR policies.

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