How to Receive Graduate School Funding from Your Employer

Like many public health professionals, you may be motivated to maximize your potential by earning a master’s degree in public health, but financial considerations may be a deterrent. One possible solution is to ask your current employer for assistance with school expenses. While this may seem intimidating, it is actually a viable option that benefits both potential GW Public Health Online students and their employers.

Benefits for Your Company

Employee turnover is costly. Interviewing, hiring and training new employees is time consuming and puts a strain on company resources. It makes much more sense — from both financial and human resources perspectives — to keep current employees happy and loyal. Assisting with your GW Public Health Online expenses can be a great way for employers to keep employees feeling challenged and supported.

Seeking a graduate degree like a Master of Public Health also benefits your employer because they will be gaining a more skilled and knowledgeable worker. Employees with advanced skills can increase productivity, which has a direct, positive impact on the company’s bottom line. So, it only makes sense for employers to continue to invest in your professional growth.

Many companies and organizations in public health and health care fund graduate programs for their employees so that they can continue to promote from within, capitalizing on the proven advantages of knowledgeable and trusted employees. In addition, your company may be eligible to receive tax breaks and other incentives by simply helping you further your education. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Preparing to Speak with Your Employer

This can be the difficult part, and you may second-guess yourself. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a perfectly reasonable request. If nothing else, having the conversation with your employer shows that you are dedicated to the company and to bettering yourself. You are seeking to increase your knowledge and gain advanced training in public health — skills that will ultimately benefit your employer.

Here are a three easy steps to take to have the best chance at securing graduate funding from your employer:

  1. Do your research. Make sure that you know which degree you would like to pursue and how much assistance you are requesting.

Example: “I have researched various options for furthering my education, and I have decided to pursue a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University.”

  1. Prepare a list of pros. Explain to your employer how investing in you will benefit the company. Be clear about your value to the company while being respectful of the whole organization.

Example: “I understand that we are going to be focusing on the field of epidemiology moving forward, and I would be better able to contribute to the team’s efforts with a Master of Public Health.”

  1. Think of potential questions. Try to imagine what types of questions your employer may ask, and then have prepared answers to those questions.

Example: “No, pursuing this degree will not affect my work hours or my productivity. My career is still my priority, and I am pursuing my degree to become a more valuable employee.”

The key to having a successful discussion about funding your Master of Public Health is to take your employer’s point of view into account. Highlight why investing in your education is a good decision for the company, and don’t shy away from highlighting your own strengths. Employers want to invest in people they believe have potential and will be loyal to the organization. When you approach this request from their perspective, you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.