Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Since 1997, United Parcel Service (UPS) has provided $350 million in tuition assistance to 225,000 employees through programs covering all full-time nonunion and part-time management employees regardless of work location, and part-time hourly employees at select locations. The particulars of the benefit vary according to location, employment type and business unit.
For all full-time employees, the company's tuition assistance program offers $5,250 annually and $25,000 over the employee’s lifetime.
The company’s Earn and Learn program for part-time hourly workers at its larger metropolitan locations provides $3,000 annually and $15,000 over the employee’s lifetime. The Earn and Learn program for part-time managers offers $4,000 annually and $20,000 over the employee’s lifetime.
Both UPS’s general tuition assistance program and its Earn and Learn program for part-time employees cover associate, undergraduate and master’s degrees and a broad range of opportunities. “We cover every major from zoology to astronomy,” says Patrick Myers, who started with the company 25 years ago and is now UPS’s compensation manager. “Our open-ended programs are very generous as far as what people are allowed to study.”
For full-time nonunion employees, reimbursement for master’s degrees is limited to management employees, and applications for reimbursement are reviewed “within a career and succession planning discussion framework by UPS managers,” Myers says.
UPS says the program gives it an edge in attracting people to work at odd hours; many of the estimated 125,000 part-time workers are college students who work at loading facilities during the night.
At most UPS locations, eligible part-time employees can take part in tuition assistance from their first day on the payroll. Full-time employees must stay two years after course completion or else pay back the tuition assistance.
In conjunction with several air and ground hubs, UPS also offers degree programs through Metro College in Louisville, Ky., the Chicagoland Regional College Program in southwest Chicago, the Consortium Program in Philadelphia and a systemwide online baccalaureate program through Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J.
Myers says UPS’s programs allow the company to identify talent early in the employment process as part of “our overall movement toward increasingly sophisticated human capital management systems, benefit program rationalization, return on investment and employee satisfaction measurement.”
Until the mid-1990s, the program was decentralized and managed in-house. In 1997, administration was consolidated and outsourced to Edcor, a Pontiac, Mich., learning services provider. In 2006, General Physics, an Elkridge, Md.-based global performance improvement company, was added. Both run an all-electronic web-based application, approval and reimbursement processes for UPS.
“The key to effectiveness in managing tuition programs is to make sure you utilize spin-off information,” Myers says. “If one of our employees is attending school, has completed three calculus courses with A’s, then we ought to have a plan for that person. The challenge is to make sure you data-mine what’s at your fingertips to ensure this information translates to recognition activities surrounding retaining that employee. UPS tuition programs provide a key tool in retaining the talent required to move our customers’ packages through an increasingly complex system.”
The author is a freelance writer based in the New York City area.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
The SHRM Member Discounts program provides member-only access to discounts on products and services you can apply to your life and career, and share with your company.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies