Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, passionately believes in helping his partners (employees) further their education.

Not too long ago, Starbucks collaborated with Arizona State University to offer thousands of part-time and full-time employees the chance to receive their Bachelor’s degree online tuition-free.

That’s right; Starbucks decided to offer full tuition reimbursement to qualified employees. Schultz believes in the American Dream and he wants to help his employees get there.

But what about your small business?

Most likely, you do not have the funds available to offer employees full tuition reimbursement.

Perhaps you can afford to pay for a portion of their tuition, but is that even in your best interest?

Benefits of Offering Tuition Reimbursement

Some small businesses may think it’s not in their best interest to pay for their employee’s college education.

After all, why would you want to possibly lose valuable employees because they are choosing a different career path?

It makes sense, but at the same time it actually is in your benefit to offer employees some form of tuition reimbursement.

Here’s why:

  • Employees will be more fulfilled – Fulfilled employees make for happier, more productive employees. Not all employees who seek to further their education are looking for a career change. Some people simply enjoy learning for the sake of learning. These types of people will make for even better employees for you because they will also be pursuing their dreams of furthering their education;
  • You will attract better candidates – Qualified, well-rounded employees look for employers that offer a good work environment, good pay and a good benefits package. If a similar employer offers tuition reimbursement and you do not, assuming everything else is the same, most likely the candidate will go with the employer offering the reimbursement.
  • It’s a tax deduction – Perhaps the biggest benefit for your business is that tuition reimbursement is a tax deduction. Each year, you can pay up to $5,250 for each employee and deduct that from your business expenses. Essentially, you will pay very little to further your employees educations.

Let’s look at another example.

Say you own a small beauty salon and have about five full-time employees.

As the following article looks at, you could offer to pay for a cosmetology course online for them, which would benefit both you and your employees.

They would be obtaining a degree for free or very little cost and you would be further training your current employees.

The only disadvantage of offering tuition reimbursement to your employees is the chance that you may lose your employees down the line.

At the same time, isn’t it better that they pursue a career that makes them happy versus staying in one that they’re not fulfilled by?

By losing an employee who is not passionate about your line of business, you have the opportunity to hire one who is.

If done correctly, offering tuition reimbursement programs to your employees is a win-win for both the employee and the small business owner.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including small businesses, social media and personal finance.