The price of higher education continues to soar and yet earning a college degree is as important as ever. How do you choose between a lifetime of limited job opportunities versus being saddled with debt?
If you work at the Wills Group or their family of businesses – Dash In, Splash In, and SMO Motor Fuels – your pathway to an affordable college degree is within reach.
Tuition Reimbursement for all Wills Group Employees
The Wills Group’s Education Assistance program offers up to 100% tuition reimbursement for undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as professional certifications and GEDs.
The benefit is open to all employees, both part-time and full-time, and offers a scaled reimbursement based on the grades you earn in class.
For undergrad and graduate degrees, an A- or better earns you a 100% reimbursement on the cost of that class. A grade of B- or better earns you 80% back for an undergraduate degree, and 90% for a graduate degree.
Employees enrolled in an undergraduate degree program and who earn at least a C-level grade or higher can expect to be reimbursed 60 – 100% of their entire tuition. Graduate degree students are guaranteed 90 – 100% back as long as they achieve a B- or higher in their classes.
This sliding scale for tuition reimbursement has proved a powerful incentive for employees. Mackenzie Zeimetz, a Price Book Coordinator for Dash In convenience stores, encourages all her co-workers to pursue the Education Assistance benefit. “It greatly helped my decision to go back to school…I am motivated to work harder in the classes if I can get money back based on my grades. It then goes right back to funding for my next class. It takes some financial stress off me.”
Why is Tuition Reimbursement Important?
Not surprisingly, financial stress is the leading cause of college dropout rates. In fact, 42% of college dropouts cite financial reasons behind their decision to leave.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), college tuition averages between $9,400 and $37,600 per year. Those looking for a private, 4-year education can expect to spend over $150,000 on tuition alone. Factor in other expenses like books, equipment, room and board, and your total cost exceeds $200,000 for an undergraduate degree.
Not to mention the hidden costs of earning your degree, like loss of income while you’re enrolled and student loan interest that compounds over time.
Tuition reimbursement benefits like those offered at the Wills Group could, in theory, give employees a chance to earn a college degree completely free. All without loss of income or other benefits that make the Wills Group a great place to work.
Increased job opportunities and lifetime earning potential are precisely why pursuing higher education or professional certifications are worth the effort.
“I wanted to make myself appealing for promotions and to move up within the company,” reports Ms. Zeimetz, who is set to graduate with her Associate Degree this fall. “I’m excited for what the future has in store.”
How Does Tuition Reimbursement Work at the Wills Group?
Employees interested in pursuing a college degree or professional certification should speak with their supervisor and HR representative to ensure that their plans meet basic eligibility requirements.
For instance, employees pursuing an undergraduate degree must work at the company for at least 6 months before enrolling. Those pursuing a graduate degree can start after 1 year.
To get started, eligible employees pay for their courses out-of-pocket and then – assuming they achieve a certain grade – request a reimbursement from HR upon course completion.
The field must also align with the employee’s position and line of work. For example, Ms. Zeimetz is taking business and economics courses because it’s relevant to her role as Price Book Coordinator where she manages inventory flow and product data.
She reports that her supervisor has been instrumental in guiding her towards certain courses that should help with her position and career goals. “My boss and coworker have been very supportive of me going to school. That pushes me to work harder and makes me hopeful for my career.”
Tuition Reimbursement is a Two-Way Investment
The financial investment in her education is just one aspect of Ms. Zeimetz’s experience with the Wills Group’s Education Assistance program.
The Wills Group recognizes that tuition reimbursement builds mutually beneficial relationships with their employees. Staff feel inspired to advance their career paths and the company gains a more knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce. This leads to greater productivity and innovation for the Wills Group, and greater job satisfaction for their people.
At the forefront of the Wills Group’s purpose is helping people move forward towards their goals and dreams. Keeping Lives in Motion isn’t just a promise to our customers – but also to our employees.
Providing a robust and progressive tuition reimbursement benefit strengthens our employees’ financial health and career paths. In turn, they work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of our customers.
Giving employees an opportunity to go to college for free and achieve their dreams is an investment in our staff, our company, and the communities we serve.