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Employers are continuously evaluating the ROI from their employee benefit offerings, and to find balance in how they attract and retain employee talent. Tuition reimbursement is one of the tools that employers have used to boost perception of the benefits offering, yet do so at a low cost and drive strong ROI for their investment. While tuition reimbursement benefits have been used by employers of all sizes for many years, the financial crisis of late 2007-2009 and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic created what might be thought of as gap years for employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement as employers focused more on containing costs due to the challenging business environment during these periods. Given the current labor market challenges with attracting and retaining employees, we are seeing a resurgence in the interest and deployment of tuition reimbursement programs to help set themselves apart in the competition for talent.

Employers can structure their tuition reimbursement in different manners, but for sake of simplicity, consistency, and low cost, the benefit is making a comeback as the Tuition Reimbursement Account (TRA). Using TRAs, employers reimbursing educational expenses can help attract and retain employees, especially younger ones just starting their careers and seeking ways to advance. Employers are also broadening the spectrum of types of educational expenses open for reimbursement.

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