Could Your Employer Sponsor Your Next Degree?

Could your employer be helping you further your education? Here, we explain what employee sponsorship is, how it benefits your employer and why you should check whether it's available to you.


Arden University graduate

Did you know: if you’re interested in furthering your education while in employment, the company you work for may be able to offer a helping hand? This is known as employer sponsorship.

Employer sponsorship enables you to access a contribution from your company towards the costs of an educational programme – or they make even fund your entire qualification. Some large companies have well-established apprenticeship or sponsorship schemes, while smaller firms may run similar programmes, or help with sponsorship on an individual basis.

There are a couple of reasons why your employer might offer to support you in furthering your education, and this can be beneficial to your company, as well as you as an individual.

1. Sponsoring employees makes financial sense

When your employer agrees to cover the cost of your tuition fees and help you achieve your education goals, the profits gained can outweigh the costs for businesses, so employee sponsorship represents a smart way to invest in everyone’s future. 

Investing in you as an employee means you’re continually improving, and contributing to the success of the company as a result. Some recent UK figures suggest that replacing an employee can cost a business upwards of £30,000; therefore, it makes sense for employers do everything they can to retain their best employees, particularly those who are driven to better themselves through higher education. 

2. Supporting current employees helps attract new talent

By sponsoring existing employees’ personal development, a company can help make a name for itself as a reputable employer, increasing their chance of attracting high-calibre candidates to any job opportunities which may open up in the future.

Although the prospect might be daunting, making a case for sponsorship to your employer isn’t as terrifying as it sounds! Employees who are seen to seek out new ways to improve their skills are highly-valued by employers, so even if your first request for sponsorship is turned down, you have nothing to lose by trying. 

What’s the next step? 

To give yourself the best chance of success, make sure you do your research beforehand. What obstacles do you hope to overcome by studying the course, and why is your chosen degree relevant to your role within the company?

It’s a good idea to read though your employee handbook or HR materials to find out if your company has an existing policy on educational sponsorship, such as a minimum length of service. Depending on the country you work in, your company may also qualify for tax deductions for reimbursing your education. If this is the case, the accounting or HR department should be able to provide you with more details. 

When you have identified a suitable course and feel confident that you will be able to provide your employer with a return on their investment, then it’s time to approach them about the idea. The most common way to do this is to write an email to your manager listing what you hope to achieve and how, and asking him or her for a meeting to discuss how to move forward.

An Arden Distance Learning course provides the flexibility to help you fit study around your day-to-day work life.