Do Companies Sponsor Online Business Degrees?

In the early days of online education programs it was rare to find an employer that would agree to sponsor online business degree programs. Today, however, much has changed in the world of online education and employer reimbursement. Indeed, the vast majority of employers have opened up their employee benefit programs to distance learning because they know that these programs are simply more affordable and more accessible to full-time employees than an on-campus program would be. Despite the more open and accessible reimbursement programs for distance learning, however, there are still some key considerations that employees should make as they decide to pursue their business degree using an online format.

First, Make Sure it Meets the Appropriate Accreditation

Employers have the benefit of picking and choosing which types of business programs they’ll support for reimbursement, and that often means they’ll be very specific on program accreditation. The general rule is that employers require a minimum of a recognized regional or national accreditation supported by the U.S. Department of Educations’ Council on Higher Education Accreditation. These programs are tested by regional authorities and are certified to be in line with current industry expectations, rigorous enough for the modern student, and challenging enough to require diligent work throughout the course of the three-year or four-year program chosen.

Another certification that’s increasingly required by leading employers is that of the AACSB, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB is the most prestigious accrediting authority for business schools and business programs, and their seal of approval is even more attractive to today’s largest and most competitive corporate employers. Many won’t reimburse tuition expenses, especially at the graduate level, if this accreditation is absent.

Look at the Terms and Conditions of the Reimbursement Process

All reimbursement programs are not created the same, with many companies including special terms and conditions that apply to certain courses, majors, and grades. Most companies will require students to pass their classes with at least a B or C letter grade in order to qualify for the tuition reimbursement and they’ll require the submission of an official grade report in order to assess whether or not that standard was achieved during the prior semester. Some employers may only reimburse for certain business majors, certain schools, certain concentrations, or certain courses within a business administration major.

Other companies offer a reimbursement program that operates on a series of percentage-based payments, rather than a full reimbursement of the cost of the class. This may result in the employer only paying for half the cost of a class, or any other percentage that works with their unique budgetary considerations. Other companies will offer full reimbursement of all expenses up to a certain dollar amount, which is usually pegged at the cost of a public education at a nearby state school. In both cases, these restrictions may make it necessary to take overall university affordability into account before choosing a program.

Reimbursement is a Great Help to Online Students

Reimbursement programs help students advance their education without adding a significant amount of student debt in the process. For those employees whose employer does offer to sponsor online business degree programs, make sure to read the reimbursement terms, choose an accredited program, and take overall affordability into account when choosing the right online education provider.