Jobs to Pay for College: 2022 Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

When you’re looking for a job to pay for college, consider working for a company that offers financial aid to help pay tuition. Learn about finding summer jobs to pay for college and earning your degree while working for a company you love.

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The best jobs to pay for college help finance your education. Look for companies that offer a form of tuition assistance, reimbursement programs, or scholarship opportunities. From corporate jobs to on-campus paid positions, you can use employment to earn your college degree and reduce your expenses.

Seek employers offering tuition reimbursement  

Some companies will pay back a certain amount of tuition costs for a degree related to their field. Employers may offer tuition reimbursement to pay for your entire degree or a portion of your degree, like specific coursework or certifications. 

This setup is beneficial for you and your employer. Companies see tuition reimbursement as an investment in their employees. The company helps finance your education, and you gain skills that make you a better employee and a more valuable asset to the company. 

If you're wondering how to find these programs through an employer, you might be surprised to find out that more and more companies are offering reimbursement packages. 

According to a survey report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Education Benefits: 2019 Survey Results, more than nine in 10 (92 percent) US organizations offer an educational benefit for employees [1]. 

Understand the requirements and terms of eligibility 

When applying to a company that offers a tuition reimbursement program, make sure you fully understand the requirements and criteria to apply and maintain your tuition reimbursement package. Often, undergraduate students can’t work full-time jobs and attend classes. Thankfully, many companies offer tuition reimbursement for part-time employees as well. You might see one or more of these common eligibility requirements:

  • The school must be an accredited institution. 

  • The company must approve courses before enrolling.  

  • You must maintain a passing grade. 

  • You cannot receive other financial aid, scholarships, etc. 

  • Only certain degrees are covered. 

  • You must attend a specific school or program. 

  • You have to be a full-time employee. 

  • You need to work for the company for a certain amount of time. 

How a company structures its tuition reimbursement depends on many factors, including the size of the company. Smaller companies may require you to pay for classes up front and reimburse you at the close of a semester. Larger companies are more likely to pay college tuition in full with one payment. 

Companies offering tuition reimbursement programs 

Companies used to offer tuition reimbursement incentives only to working professionals who wanted to earn a graduate degree or professional certificate. However, the trend is changing. More companies are flexible in this area, opening up tuition reimbursement to people earning everything from a GED to a doctorate. You simply have to know where to look. 

The following corporations all offer tuition reimbursement for undergraduate students in addition to graduate students: 

BP 

BP's Educational Assistance Policy reimburses up to 90 percent of your college tuition for undergraduate and graduate coursework as long as it’s “job-related.” 

Comcast 

If an employee enrolls in an approved degree program, Comcast will offer up to $5,750 per calendar year to help with tuition costs, including undergraduate degrees. 

Amazon

The Amazon Career Choice program pays for education options that allow employees to start or continue earning college credit towards a degree. 

Ford 

Through Ford’s Education Tuition Assistance Plan, employees can get up to $6,000 a year in fees for eligible GED, associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs related to the employee's job at Ford.

Home Depot

Home Depot will reimburse employees pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or technical degree up to 50 percent of the cost of tuition, books, and reasonable class registration fees, and 50 percent of mandatory fees through Home Depot’s Tuition Reimbursement Program

Identify on-campus jobs to help pay for education 

Working at a university often comes with tuition reimbursement and other similar benefits for full-time students and university employees. These also make great summer jobs to pay for college. Consider these on-campus jobs that help you gain relevant experience and build quality references. 

Find federal work-study opportunities 

If you have financial needs, you can apply for Federal Work-Study, which provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students. Students can earn money to help pay for educational expenses.

To find out if you’re eligible, ask your school’s financial aid office if your school participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. If your school does offer the program, be sure that you apply via the FAFSA form in the fall. 

There are both on and off-campus positions available for eligible students. Some examples of on-campus jobs might be a campus tour guide or residential assistant. These jobs are typically aligned with your coursework or involved in the community somehow. Here are a few other things to know: 

  • There is a cap on how many hours you can work. 

  • Undergraduate students are paid by the hour, while graduate students may earn a salary.

  • You’ll be paid monthly, directly from your school. 

How much you earn will be based on your financial need, when you applied, and the school’s funding level. 

Apply for TA positions at your school  

A teaching assistant (TA) is an assistantship, a form of financial assistance offered to graduate students. A school employs a graduate student part-time (averaging 20 hours per week) in exchange for a stipend or tuition remission. These opportunities look great on a resume, and what’s more convenient than teaching where you also attend classes? 

The application process can be pretty competitive, but if you apply early and often, there’s a good chance you can land a position as a TA. Application requirements will vary by institution, though you can likely expect an interview and application along with a resume to apply.  

Become a graduate student assistant 

These part-time opportunities are specific to the school's needs, so the eligibility requirements and duties will vary by school and program.

Graduate student assistants are graduate students employed as support personnel in colleges and universities. Their duties range from assisting professors to organizing events. This is also an assistantship similar to a TA, so students are typically given a stipend rather than an hourly wage. 

Keep an eye out for undergraduate student assistant opportunities as well. Many schools also extend this job offer to undergraduates. The application process is similar to TAs, depending on the position and program. 

Look for companies that offer financial aid through scholarships 

If you can’t find a company that provides a tuition reimbursement option that’s a good fit for you or on-campus positions aren’t available, consider getting a job with a company that offers a scholarship program.

While you won’t get immediate financial assistance for school, you could earn it through a corporate scholarship program. You may also find tuition relief in jobs that offer scholarship programs.

Some programs may also require financial need, so check all requirements before applying. These well-known companies offer financial aid through scholarships:

Chick-Fil-A  

Chick-fil-A awards scholarships for all types of higher education, including vocational/technical school, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees. There are two types of scholarships to eligible Chick-fil-A employees at the time of writing:

Leadership Scholarship: More than 3,000 students yearly receive a $2,500 scholarship with the ability to re-apply for up to four years. The company awards these scholarships annually based on leadership, academic achievement, and community involvement. 

True Inspiration Scholarship: Twelve Chick-Fil-A employees per year receive an award of up to $25,000. According to Chick-Fil-A, winners are chosen based on “leadership, academic achievement, community involvement, and demonstrated financial need.” 

Chick-Fil-A also offers tuition discounts and educational benefits nationwide at over 85 colleges and universities. 

Walmart 

The Walmart Scholarship Program grants scholarships to eligible employees in the amount of up to $13,000. Employees can use this money over four academic years. Applicants who complete the online application process will be evaluated based on financial needs and academic performance. 

To apply, you’ll need to have worked for Walmart for six consecutive months as either a part-time or full-time employee and demonstrate financial need. 

Narrow down the best job to pay for college 

Need help deciding the best route for you when choosing the best job to pay for college? First, consider your options. The following circumstances may affect your eligibility:

  • Your financial situation 

  • Type of degree you’re earning or want to earn 

  • If you work full- versus part-time 

  • Your work experience and skill set 

Consider your school schedule and long-term career goals when narrowing down your choices. If you’re not sure of your career goals just yet, you may not want to get locked in with a company that offers a tuition reimbursement package contingent on your employment with them. If you know what career path you’d like to take, it’s a smart move to get in on the ground level and grow with the company as you earn your degree. 

Another question to ask is if online courses are eligible for reimbursement. Many college students enjoy the perks of virtual classes and online learning. If you want some help narrowing down your program or school, search the extensive catalogs of top universities and colleges in the US. Search for online degrees or even take a free course to boost your eligibility.

If you meet the set requirements to earn one of these financial assistance opportunities, these jobs can be an ideal way to earn your college degree while setting you up for future career success. Get a headstart on your career by applying for a job that can help you finance your education while also gaining work experience.

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Article sources

1. International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, “Education Benefits Survey: 2019 Results". https://www.ifebp.org/bookstore/education-benefits-survey-results/Pages/education-benefits-survey-results-2019.aspx."  Accessed January 28, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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