These Fortune 500 companies will help pay for employee MBAs

BY Sydney LakeJuly 15, 2021, 2:00 AM
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The average cost of earning an MBA ranges from about $60,000 to more than $200,000, so any financial aid along the way is more than welcome. And here’s some good news: Many Fortune 500 companies will help pay for employees’ MBA degrees, whether it’s a full sponsorship, tuition reimbursement, or a guaranteed annual contribution directly to the university you attend. And some corporations even have partnerships with universities that offer specialized MBA programs and/or a discount on tuition.

While it may not surprise you to find a healthy number of financial services and insurance companies in this roundup, some hidden gems include the Disney Aspire program, which pays 100% tuition upfront to in-network schools, and UnitedHealth Group, which sponsors a health care MBA (HCMBA) program. Boeing also offers $25,000 each year to employees in grad programs, including MBAs, and Intel offers $50,000 in tuition assistance toward graduate-level business or management degree programs.

Read on to see which of your favorite Fortune 500 companies could pave the way to your MBA.

Companies that offer MBA sponsorships

Capital One

Through its Graduate Degree Sponsorship Program (GDSP), Capital One offers sponsorships for graduate degree programs, including MBAs. GDSP participants are handpicked by the executive leadership team. Participants are expected to remain with the company for two years after finishing their degree program. 

Disney

Dreams come true for Disney employees, too. Eligible hourly employees may earn an MBA through the Disney Aspire program, which pays 100% of tuition upfront for in-network schools. Salaried employees can also participate in the company’s educational reimbursement program.

General Dynamics

This government contractor offers tuition reimbursement and occasionally sponsors MBAs. Recipients must stay with the company for a set period of time.

IBM

IBM will cover the full cost of an MBA if the program is related to the employee’s current job. Under IBM’s MBA sponsorship program, the employee signs an agreement to stay at the company for two years after earning an MBA. 

State Farm

State Farm covers up to $10,000 per employee annually toward graduate programs and also has an MBA sponsorship program. Eligible employees must be with the company for six months and earn at least a B-minus in MBA coursework.

UPS

UPS will cover the full cost of MBA tuition, but employees must stay with the company for two years after graduating. 

Companies that offer tuition assistance

Allstate

An employee can receive up to $5,250 each year toward MBA tuition expenses. The entire cost of an MBA program can be covered over time. Allstate requires that a participating employee remain at the company for one to two years.

AT&T

This telecom giant provides tuition assistance to employees seeking an MBA—and more than 2,200 employees have received this benefit toward a business-related master’s degree. 

Bank of America

BofA offers a tuition assistance and academic support program in which an employee can receive reimbursements of up to $7,500 per calendar year for programs including MBAs. The company will also pay the school directly so that employees don’t have to pay upfront.

Boeing

Boeing covers up to $25,000 per employee per calendar year for eligible expenses for programs including MBAs. The company pays the tuition directly to the institution. Employees in graduate degree programs must stay with Boeing for 24 months after the last paid course.

Dow

This chemicals giant offers up to $8,000 per employee annually toward tuition assistance. For MBA sponsorships, Dow requires employees to remain with the company for three years after graduation.

Ford

The Salaried Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) provides up to $6,000 annually per employee toward advanced degrees, including MBAs.

Humana

An associate can earn up to $5,000 in tuition assistance per year. The company also has partnerships with institutions that offer specific MBA concentrations in which Humana employees can receive preferred rates.

Intel

An Intel employee can receive up to $50,000 in tuition assistance per program toward a graduate-level business or management degree. Despite the company’s huge investment in its employees, there’s no requirement to stay with the company after the completion of an MBA program.

Kroger

Kroger and its subsidiaries offer up to $3,500 annually per employee toward continuing education, including advanced degrees.

Microsoft

Microsoft offers up to $10,000 per employee annually to cover the cost of tuition, books, and other fees for any course related to business at the company, including an MBA program.

Northrop Grumman

This government contractor covers up to $10,000 per employee annually toward regionally accredited MBA programs with manager approval. This covers tuition, books, enrollment fees, and exams.

PepsiCo

PepsiCo offers up to $8,000 to an employee who has been with the company at least six months and is pursuing a graduate degree, including an MBA.

Qualcomm

Each year, employees are eligible to receive up to $10,125, which can be used toward approved graduate degree programs. 

Target

This catchall retailer will help pay for job-related courses, including MBA programs. 

Verizon

Through the company’s Global Tuition Assistance Program, a Verizon employee can use up to $8,000 annually toward MBA tuition, books, and other fees. In 2020, more than 8,800 Verizon employees took advantage of this benefit.

Companies that offer tuition reimbursement

Centene

This insurance company offers $8,000 per employee annually for continuing education or a graduate degree. Reimbursement covers tuition, books, and other fees. The company also offers MBA sponsorship on a limited basis. Participants must stay with Centene for two years after completion.

Chevron

Chevron covers up to 75% reimbursement for tuition, fees, and books and offers sponsorships for MBA programs. 

Dell

Dell offers up to $5,250 total per employee toward tuition reimbursement for those earning an MBA. Some MBA sponsorships are available on a case-by-case basis.

GE

GE offers tuition reimbursement for graduate programs and also offers executive MBA sponsorships. Retention requirements vary by individual and business division.

Liberty Mutual

While Liberty doesn’t sponsor MBA programs, accepted students can participate in Liberty’s MBA Rise program, which offers mentorship, virtual training, networking, and early interview access. Liberty Mutual will pay for 100% of approved tuition, books, and fees after completion of an undergraduate or graduate program. The company will reimburse $9,000 per U.S. employee per year for graduate education.

McKesson

This pharmaceuticals and health care supplies company will reimburse an employee $5,250 per year, which can be used toward an MBA.

MetLife

A full-time employee who is enrolled in a preapproved postgraduate degree program is eligible to receive up to $5,250 per year toward tuition reimbursement. Part-time employees can also receive tuition assistance related to their hours worked.

Nationwide

An employee who has been with Nationwide for at least 12 months is eligible for up to $5,250 each year toward tuition reimbursement that can be used toward MBA programs.

Pfizer

This pharmaceutical giant and COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer offers up to $10,000 annually in tuition reimbursement per U.S. employee pursuing an MBA. Through its Breakthrough Fellowship Program, minority students can pursue an MBA that will be 100% covered by Pfizer. Recipients must stay with the company for two years for full reimbursement.

Progressive

Progressive offers $2,000 per full-time employee and $1,000 per part-time employee annually toward tuition reimbursement.

TIAA

This financial services company offers up to $8,000 per employee per year in tuition reimbursement for graduate degree programs. TIAA also has partnerships with Capella University and Southern New Hampshire University that offer reduced tuition rates.

TJX

This retail holding company offers tuition reimbursement of up to $5,000 per employee per year for graduate programs, including MBAs. Programs must be directly related to an employee’s job.

Companies that offer MBA scholarships

Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship is available to first-year MBA students who are pursuing a summer associate position with the investment bank. Scholarship recipients receive a $35,000 award plus a summer associate salary. 

Kraft Heinz

Through its Graduate Scholarship Program in the U.S., Kraft Heinz offers annual tuition reimbursement of up to $20,000 for part-time MBA programs and $30,000 for full-time MBA programs. Employees commit to two years with the company.

Companies that have partnerships with MBA programs

Cigna

Cigna partners with the University of Hartford Barney School of Business, which offers a customized, accelerated MBA program. Each year, 60 students are accepted to the virtual program, and costs are covered through Cigna’s Educational Development Program. 

United Airlines

United has a partnership with DePaul University, which includes an online MBA program. Some United employees who are enrolled in the program receive discounted tuition through the partnership.

UnitedHealth Group

In partnership with the University of St. Thomas, UnitedHealth Group sponsors a health care MBA (HCMBA) program. The cohort program (of which the full cost is covered by UnitedHealth Group) is offered to 32 employees every two years. The company also offers up to $5,250 per employee per calendar year in tuition reimbursement for accredited programs.

Walgreens

While Walgreens doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement, it does partner with several universities to offer discounts ranging from 10% to 25% for employees.