Companies That Pay for College

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When weighing a job offer, prospective employees should consider whether the benefits package includes tuition assistance or similar programs. Paying for college is expensive. With the average cost of in-state tuition at $9,580 per year and out-of-state tuition at $27,440, education benefits can offer considerable savings for students.

These benefits are useful to the companies that offer them, too. Good education benefits allow employees to sharpen their skills, which can make them more valuable to the company. This guide introduces several companies that pay for college. It also includes information on types of available benefits and how to access them.

The types of college benefits available

There are several different types of college benefits that companies offer. Most of these programs work like other financial aid programs in that they pay for some or all of a student’s education costs.

Companies may offer corporate tuition reimbursement programs, tuition assistance programs, or employer-sponsored scholarships. The following list describes these benefit programs in more detail.

  • Tuition Reimbursement Programs

    Using this benefit, the employee pays tuition upfront, with the employer reimbursing them.

  • Tuition Assistance Programs

    Tuition assistance programs are similar to reimbursement programs, but some employers pay tuition upfront rather than reimbursing the employee. Some assistance programs limit financial assistance to partner programs at certain colleges and universities.

  • Employer-sponsored Scholarships

    Employer-sponsored scholarships may include a one-time payment toward tuition or a specific amount of money toward tuition for a limited number of semesters or years. This type of tuition assistance may be more limited in scope than the other types of employee financial assistance.

What do these programs and benefits cover?

These programs and benefits help employees advance their skills and lower their education costs. In many cases, these benefits fund an undergraduate or graduate degree program. To access assistance, some companies require employees to focus on coursework or degree programs that relate to their business. Others limit education assistance to certain colleges or universities.

Companies usually place a cap on the total amount of assistance or reimbursement employees can receive, but that is not always the case. Other restrictions may also apply. Some companies, for example, only offer these benefits to employees after a certain period of time. Other companies offer these benefits from day one as part of the hiring package.

These programs are not always limited to tuition payments. Large companies oftentimes offer reimbursement or stipends for books and fees related to programs. Some programs also cover costs for college prep courses or GED classes.

Companies that offer college benefits to employees

While companies of all sizes may offer education benefits, Fortune 500 companies and other large corporations typically have the means to offer these benefits more often. The following list outlines several large companies offering college benefits to employees.

  • Disney

    Disney offers excellent employee tuition benefits through a program known as Aspire, which launched in August 2018. This program pays 100% of upfront tuition costs at 11 universities and technical schools, including online programs from the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. It also covers other education-related fees, such as book costs. Plus, the program provides support services to employees as they work toward their degrees.

  • Verizon Wireless

    The employee tuition program from Verizon Wireless covers a large portion of tuition for eligible employees. VZTAP tuition assistance, used in combination with Bellevue University, covers up to $13,250 per year in tuition for full-time employees. Part-time employees can qualify for up to $8,000 per year. To qualify for these benefits, employees must be taking courses related to Verizon’s business.

  • AT&T

    All regular full-time and part-time bargained employees at AT&T qualify to receive up to $8,000 in tuition assistance each year — after working for the company for six months. The program features a lifetime cap of $25,000 for undergraduate costs and $30,000 for graduate costs.

  • UPS

    UPS offers up to $25,000 in tuition assistance to employees through the UPS Earn & Learn Program. Eligibility for this program begins the day an employee begins working at UPS. Benefits are prorated accordingly for those hired mid-semester.

  • Starbucks

    Starbucks offers tuition benefits to full- and part-time employees enrolled in Arizona State University’s online programs. ASU offers 100 online undergraduate degree programs, and Starbucks does not limit the programs employees can enroll in.

  • Amazon

    Amazon offers education assistance through a program called Amazon Career Choice. Eligible employees can receive up to 95% of tuition and fees toward a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study. Eligible fields include information technology, transportation, healthcare, and mechanical and skilled trades.

  • Ford

    Ford’s Education Tuition Assistance Plan prepays tuition and fees of up to $6,000 per calendar year. Employees pursuing GED, undergraduate, and graduate programs qualify for these benefits. The money may also cover fees for prior learning assessments, CLEP testing, and licensing.

  • Fidelity

    Full-time employees who have worked for the company for at least six months enjoy access to Fidelity’s tuition assistance program. This program covers up to 90% of education-related costs, with a cap of $10,000 per year. Employees must pursue a work-related certification or degree to qualify.

How can I ask about education benefits during an interview?

If you want to know more about a company’s education benefits, you can use sites like Glassdoor or the company’s website to get an overview of the benefits offered to employees. You can also ask employers or hiring managers directly. However, you should make sure to ask at the right time.

Companies want someone passionate about the work they do. Look for signs that you are a strong candidate or may get an offer before asking about what money a company offers for college. When you see those signs, it’s safe to ask questions about these benefits.

Rather than ask about a specific cap on tuition reimbursement, ask questions like, “Are there opportunities for additional training and education?” This will demonstrate your interest in bettering yourself as an employee, while giving you the information you need on college benefits.

Portrait of Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht has been a writer and editor for over a decade. Her work, which has spanned a wide range of topics including personal finance, lifestyle, and education, has appeared in publications such as The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, The Spruce, Houston Press, The Motley Fool, VeryWell, and others.

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