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Looking for advice on tuition reimbursement


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my wife is enrolled in a masters program at Seton hall for health care law.

She is also the head of infection prevention at a medium sized local hospital and is receiving 4000 dollars a year in reimbursement but her boss asked her to submit an application for more to the board of directors. 

She has written up a document that lists the cost of the degree and how it will benefit the hospital and one of the members of the board looked at it and said it looked great but she needs to add how much reimbursement she's looking for and what commitment she's willing to give the hospital in return.

This is where she's stuck, she doesn't want to short herself or ask for too much and look foolish.

I know there are a lot of highly educated men and women on extremeskins and was hoping somebody might have some experience in this and possibly some advice on what to ask for and what commitment on her part would be fair.

The total cost of the masters program is 40 thousand dollars.

I can attach what she has written up so far if you think it would help.

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Good for you wife for sacrificing the time and effort to improve her position and also working in such in important field (especially during, but not limited to, our current situation).

 

I guess my first question would be how long is the program?  You said she gets $4k per year but the total cost is $40k.  So how much she is actually getting now is a function of how many years the program takes to complete.  

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My wife went through something similar. It’s wasn’t cut and dry, it’s a lot of her trying to figure out what commitment was worth what and the hospital trying to figure the same out. And now is not a great time to be asking a hospital for money :) (although this likely comes out of funds they can’t use for anything else anyways so it probably doesn’t actually matter)

 

It’s all a gamble because you can’t predict the future - any number of things could pull you out of the area before she can complete her commitment. 
 

What mine did was decide what she thought was fair to ask for that would really help, and how long she would be willing to have to stay there to make up for it, and then included a formula for how to calculate a prorated payoff if she left early. 
 

she wound up getting quite a bit a year but her school was significantly less expensive too...

 

edit: don’t let her sell herself short. The hospital is going to bank on keeping her there for a lot longer than whatever commitment she will sign up for. They’re looking at high return on investment here, they just have to keep her happy. 
 

I wish I could give you numbers but it’s all so subjective and related to each individual situation and location :( so, less advice I’m giving more just encouragement ;) 

Edited by tshile
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1 minute ago, PleaseBlitz said:

Good for you wife for sacrificing the time and effort to improve her position and also working in such in important field (especially during, but not limited to, our current situation).

 

I guess my first question would be how long is the program?  You said she gets $4k per year but the total cost is $40k.  So how much she is actually getting now is a function of how many years the program takes to complete.  

I believe its two years, but if I'm not mistaken she can ask for a lot more than 8000 dollars but it would require a longer commitment than two years for them to be willing to pay it.

 

I am attending.docx

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@redskins I believe my wife got 1/3 of hers covered. But they allocate it per year, and she dragged it out a bit because she was working full time. If she crammed it into one year it would have been less. 
 

it was a great investment in her future. It’s payed off quite a bit. 
 

ps - I’m waiting for a response to how long she committed for. I think it was 2 years post graduation but I’m not sure. 

Edited by tshile
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7 minutes ago, redskinss said:

I believe its two years, but if I'm not mistaken she can ask for a lot more than 8000 dollars but it would require a longer commitment than two years for them to be willing to pay it

There should be some sort of language about pro-rated payback if she leaves. If they require full pay back if she leaves even 1 day too early, then that should be considered for the negotiation. Maybe they can wave it for a prorated schedule or maybe that means she should feel comfortable asking for more. 
 

If you all like where you are, and she likes where she works, then the commitment is less of a concern. Just make sure the payback makes sense for potential life changes that might require it. 

 

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So, a few things.  One, once she graduates is your wife looking for a new position at the hospital (presumably with more responsibility and better pay), or is she looking to keep the same title (but will be more valuable given the law program)?  This is really important because if she likes the job she has or knows she likes the environment and is very likely to enjoy whatever job she takes there, then a longer commitment is less of a sacrifice.  In other words, if she doesn't want to leave, then she should be willing to commit to more years in exchange for more reimbursement.  

 

Two, this is (probably) a negotiation, not a final offer, so she should err on the side of asking for more money.  

 

Three, i looked at the letter.  I would attach the chart of classes on a separate page and refer to it in the letter, but be like, "I have taken classes including X, Y, and Z and have (or will) incur tuition expenses of $40K+ (see attached list of courses)." I would also have her compile a rough estimate of her other expenses like books and stuff and include that in the total.  I would also note that she appears to have a 4.0 GPA, so state that and be like "I have done extremely well academically..."

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

One, once she graduates is your wife looking for a new position at the hospital (presumably with more responsibility and better pay), or is she looking to keep the same title (but will be more valuable given the law program)? 

She wants to advance herself beyond her current position into something with more responsibility and a higher salary.

One of her fears, (or I should probably preface that it was actually my fear because I'm a bit cynical from spending years in a factory without any advancement but plenty of excuses) is that too long of a commitment could cause them to overlook her for advancement due to less threat of her going elsewhere for advancement. 

 

And my wife says that's great advice and asked me to thank you on her behalf. 

Edited by redskinss
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1 minute ago, redskinss said:

is that too long of a commitment could cause them to overlook her for advancement due to less threat of her going elsewhere for advancement. 

Every place is different but if your wife has gotten where she is already I’m willing to bet they’ll err on the side of keeping here there as opposed to overlooking her

 

theres always behind the scenes stuff and there were times my wife thought she was being overlooked for similar reasons, but time showed she wasn’t being overlooked but instead carefully placed into the roles they wanted her (some of which included roles that were more placeholders for another role they knew would open soon but she didn’t...)

 

if they’re investing in her it’s because they want her around. You’re beyond typical tuition reimbursement at this point, she’s asking for more. If they’re willing to consider it, then they want her there and they’re doing their own math on it. 
 

hiring externally is more expensive and carries more risk than grooming people. Going external also does damage to the moral and culture as everyone sees the hospital no promoting from within. 
 

not saying your concerns don’t have merit, they certain do. Just sharing our experience. 

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Wife said she thinks it was only a 1 year commitment. 
 

we’re also talking about different levels of money. My wife did the asn to msna track. So it was a yearly reimbursement for how ever long it took her. 
 

I would think the board would understand how unpredictable life is and that would reflect in what they’d want. 

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@redskinss you've received some great advise so far. A few bullets below at a high level, I am happy to elaborate on any should you/she have questions : 

 

*for the schedule of classes, list them chronologically too, this helps them to see the timetable better and how expenses are allocated. 100% agree with a separate page and including fees and incidental expenses. 

*the tricky part here is the short (2 year) time frame for such a high $ amount above their typical tuition reimbursement 

*the art of "the ask" is to ask for all you want/need on the initial request. Do not shy away if she wants to ask for the full amount

*be prepared that if she is asking for 5X the standard amount to offer 5X the obligation. So if she wants $20K a year, commit to 5 years of service post-reimbursement

*include a prorate schedule in the event employment terminates (voluntary or not) prior

*include a stipulation that if the hospital terminates her for reasons other than disciplinary, she is not responsible for repayment

*may want to include language around required course grade and what happens if she does not successfully pass a course

 

Without knowing her annual salary and other paid benefits to compare to the tuition reimbursement, it is hard to gauge the likelihood of acceptance. Best of luck!

 

 

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