How my employer paid for my graduate degree

Did you know that some employers will pay for a portion or the full amount of tuition for your graduate program?

The Job
After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in International Business in 2009, I worked abroad for a little while. I ended up getting a full-time job at the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University, my alma mater. It was a great opportunity for me to work with the schools and educators in the local community to help foster the development of their cultural programming. I really enjoyed working with students, planning events, traveling to conferences in the U.S. and in China, networking, working on budgets + grants, and taking administrators and students to visit China.

I knew I wanted to get my MBA. Since I had an orientation by our Human Resources Department, I remembered them indicating to me that as a full-time staff member of the university, I was able to take advantage of their tuition remission program. It was a great program they offered so that employees have the opportunity to take classes for free!

Now comes the not-so-great part of working for a specific department within the university. Being the unseasoned employee I was, I thought it would be in my best interest to be very transparent with my supervisor about my goals and aspirations to pursue a higher degree. I don’t think she was very pleased about my decision because she was very concerned I would not be able to keep up with my workload. She highly advised against me getting a higher degree and told me there was a wait period of one year before I could start.

I ended up speaking with my supervisor’s boss about this, and then someone from HR ended up calling and telling me that there is no waiting period for me to start taking classes for free. Because I did not want to upset my supervisor, I ended up taking her advice and waiting one full year before applying for the university’s graduate program. I took that time to study for my GMATs, and spoke with advisors about the potential workload.

Acceptance + Graduation 🎓
Bryant University has a wonderful 2-year part-time MBA program! This truly catered to those students who work full-time (during the day), and take evening classes. I got accepted in the summer of 2012 and graduated in the summer of 2014.

There were definitely some long and gruesome nights and weekend group meetings, but we all (most of us) made it through.

One thing to keep in mind: while I did get my tuition waived, my employer did include my tuition remission as income on my W2. Therefore, I did have to pay taxes on the amount of tuition.

Timing is everything, and I have to trust in the Lord with everything. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to get my graduate degree for free, when I did.

Thanks for reading!