Family tuition assistance: a wise investment?

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W.B Yeats knew the value of an education when he said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  It seems Canadian companies might be catching on, with more organizations now offering scholarships and bursaries for their employee’s dependents. A move that, according to Brian Duggan president of Marathon Human Resources, may be an important tool in attracting and retaining talent.

Duggan says tuition assistance programs should be considered as just one piece of the puzzle in a wide range of family friendly benefits.

“Anybody over the age of 30 is concerned with whether their employer or potential employer is going to be supportive if they have a family,” he says.  “Anything employers can do to provide family friendly services to employers is going to be advantageous in the big picture.”

HR managers might implement tuition assistance programs as a part of their organization’s wider corporate social responsibility strategy but it might also be a way to address skills shortages in key industries. 

Duggan says he is aware of a number of instances in which organizations have offered scholarships for employee dependents and those dependents have taken the opportunity to gain an education in the industry. 

Canadian organization’s offering tuition assistance for employee dependents:

Johnson Inc., an insurance company based in St. John’s, Nfld. offers 10 scholarships worth $1,500 per year  for employees’ dependents who are entering their first year of post-secondary studies

University of Toronto, McGill University, McMaster University and Dalhousie University all offer tuition waiver programs for employee dependents

GM Canada has a tuition assistance program in place for employees and their family

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