Sending Employees Back to School Pays Off

COLLEGE PERKS WORK: Starbucks and JetBlue have gained national attention in announcing they’ll underwrite college education for employees. New research shows that these tuition assistance programs may be more than fluffy PR strategies. Cigna Corporation, a Bloomfield, Conn.-based health insurance provider, analyzed its Education Reimbursement Program and found that it boosts the bottom line.

For every dollar invested in the 2,200 workers who took advantage of ERP, the company saw a 129 percent return on investment, according to research that Cigna conducted in partnership with the Lumina Foundation. “Investing in employees’ tuition isn’t a benefit cost, but rather a valuable investment that positively impacts organizations’ bottom line,” Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis said in a press release.

The program pays off for employees, too. Entry-level and mid-management employees saw a 43 percent incremental wage increase over a three-year period and were 10 percent more likely to be promoted, compared to their non-ERP peers.

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