Ultimately, for your boss to agree to invest in your education, she's got to want you to stick around for the long term. During your pitch, try to be confident without seeming entitled, be persistent without being pushy and convey how much you want to go back to school without whining, begging or falling apart if your boss says no. If you want your boss to pay for you to go back to school, remember that your argument is only as convincing as your approach.
If you’ve scheduled a meeting with your boss to ask that she sponsor your quest for more education, come prepared with a fully researched, well-thought out, realistic proposal -- in writing. Know exactly what school you want to attend, what you want to study, the cost of your studies and what portion of your expenses you’d like your job to cover. Even if it's true, try not to make it seem like pursuing an advanced degree is only possible if your employer foots the bill. Send the impression that you’re determined to improve yourself no matter what, although you’d prefer for your employer to partner in your journey.
Explain to your employer the mutual benefits of paying for you to go back to school. According to Investopedia.com, a few perks will include the fact that you’ll bring a new skill set to your job and that your added expertise will likely mean more clients, productivity and profits for the company. In the long run, you’ll be able to take on additional, more complex tasks and a few leadership responsibilities. Your new credentials will make the company look good, and you can teach co-workers all the cool skills and concepts you’ll be learning. Investopedia also recommends reminding your boss that, in the long run, it will be cheaper to finance your education and keep you on board than to hire someone new with the same degree.
In addition to your plan explaining what you want to study and why, you should also present your boss with an explanation of how you'll fit going to school into your schedule. Perhaps you can work during the day and go to school at night or weekends, or maybe your schedule has room for you to go to school in the morning and work late in the evenings. Although your boss might have to alter your plans to suit the company’s needs, you should have a work arrangement to begin negotiations with.
If your employer hesitates to see it your way, provide examples and statistics that show how tuition reimbursement has worked for other companies. Research organizations that offer sponsorships for higher education and give your boss a detailed example of a working model.
If your boss is nervous that you might accept the company's investment in your education and then take your expertise elsewhere, US News & World Report recommends offering to sign a contract promising to continue working for your company for an agreed-upon period.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.