Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuition Assistence Offered At LifeBridge Health

Editor's Note: Tuition assistance is one of the many perks offered for LifeBridge Health employees. We asked one recipient to write about how the benefit helped her achieve her goals.

by Jill Bloom, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, LifeBridge Health

I had been thinking about going back to school to get a graduate degree for several years, but I always found one excuse after another not to do so. Too busy at work. Too busy outside of work. Taking the dreaded Graduate Record Examination ... the class schedule was inconvenient... I couldn’t find the perfect program to complement my resumé and work experience. See what I mean? The list was endless!

Last year, however, I received information about a new graduate program for Health Communications at Boston University. Not only was the degree in my field of interest but it was an online degree program, which meant I could do the course work as it fit my schedule. The only thing standing in my way, besides being admitted to the program, was the cost of it.

I knew one of the core benefits offered at LifeBridge Health was tuition reimbursement, but I had never fully investigated the specifics. Turns out it was a pretty good deal. While it won’t pay my entire tuition bill, it will certainly be a big help in offsetting the cost of this 18-month program.

Here’s how it works: If you're a LifeBridge Health employee who works at least 20 hours per week, you are eligible to receive tuition assistance. The money is for tuition only, not fees and books.

Courses must be given by an accredited academic institution and directly related to your job and/or enhance skills for your current job or one that you may be promoted to within LifeBridge Health. The amount of assistance varies from institution and by major – nurses receive additional assistance so check with the HR department at your facility for more details.

Once you’ve started your studies, you must complete the course and receive a C or better for undergraduate study, and a B or better for graduate classes, or you must pay the money back.
You must agree to remain employed from six months to one year at your facility once you’ve completed your course. According to LifeBridge Health Benefits Consultant Lori Turner, 550
employees are currently taking advantage of tuition assistance.

As for me, I’m now two courses into my 10-course master's degree, and so far so good. The course work is challenging, but interesting, and directly relates to work I do every day. For me, tuition reimbursement was the incentive to take the next step in my career. I’d encourage all
LifeBridge Health employees to look into it.

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