This is a 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) interview is with Edcor, a provider of tuition assistance, student loan assistance, and scholarship administrative services. Below is a quick Q&A with the company.
Who is Edcor? Tell us everything, just as you would someone approaching your booth and asking you this question at SHRM ‘19 in Las Vegas.
Edcor, a woman-owned business based in Michigan, is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For over 38 years our customized service and solutions have allowed clients to use education benefits programs including tuition assistance and the most talked about benefit, student loan assistance, for employee recruiting, retention and development. Edcor founded the tuition benefit administration industry in 1981 and we continue to provide industry-leading tuition assistance services for client employees today. Our core service attribute is value. We help companies link their education benefit programs with their overall corporate strategies. We achieve consistent results by leveraging technology and experience with a strong emphasis on service and support.
Edcor also offers additional value-added services such as policy consulting, student advising, financial marketplace for student debt solutions and scholarship program administration. How do you tailor your services to different types of companies?
Edcor offers customizable education benefit solutions, not pre-packaged offerings. Edcor’s flexibility is a key differentiator in the marketplace and allows us to tailor our services to a specific client or industry. Supporting multiple program types, payment methods and program structures along with mixing and matching all of our services to create the best suite of services for our clients is routine at Edcor. Every client is different, and the solutions that support their strategic objectives and goals will be different.
What are the biggest challenges companies face when helping their employees complete their education? How do they overcome those challenges?
Often adult students have concerns about their ability to succeed in higher education. Actually, many of them have advantages. Studies show that most students who have some college but no degree did not leave school because of poor academic performance. For most of them it was the financial cost or family obligations that caused them to stop out. Today, they will still find obligations and have to make time sacrifices and juggle responsibilities, but as working adults they have different pathways to get through these challenges.
Employer tuition assistance plans can help reduce students’ education expenses. Eighty percent of adult learners say the cost of tuition is their biggest obstacle to going back to school. Tuition assistance will give financial support and help generate success in other ways. Tuition assistance programs that include counseling can help students see how to move ahead in their companies. Employees can have an education plan to ensure that their courses relate to their work. They can align their education goals with business goals to create a truly valuable education experience.
Additionally, many programs for adult students address the struggle of time commitment. Schools that value the nontraditional student population create programs that allow students to gain maximum benefit from their life experience. Companies like Edcor that partner with these schools, can then make these programs easily available for their client employees. As an example, CBE and PLA programs make it possible for adult students to earn credit for knowledge they have received outside of formal education. Adult students can earn credit for knowledge earn through varied work experiences including the military, and not spend unnecessary time in a classroom.
Management support is also key. If an employee feels their direct manager supports their higher education goals that can make a world of difference. Employers should be coaching their management team to provide encouragement and support throughout their employees’ education journey. In some cases, it may be the only positive support they receive so it becomes all the more critical. Overall, providing the program and placing value on education as a part of the culture of the organization helps to ensure success for both the individual and the company.
What do you wish more HR professionals and recruiters knew about tuition programs?
Tuition and student loan assistance benefit programs can build your company brand. A company with these education benefit programs will attract top caliber workers and will see long-term benefits. A tuition assistance plan develops a workplace for people who want to grow professionally and engage with an expanding business. A student loan assistance program promotes financial wellness and better work-life balance. This allows employees to focus on their work and create a positive return on the strategic investment their company is making in them. Tuition assistance and student loan assistance plans attract the kind of employees who can promote a company brand and deliver on the brand promise.
If it is important to an organization to promote diversity and encourage women in the workforce, these programs are critical. One segment of the workforce that benefits from these programs, in particular, is women with children. Mothers who seek tuition assistance and student advising show their children it is important to set and pursue a goal. Even if it is difficult to go to school as a working parent, the lessons that are learned are valuable. As mothers use their employer tuition benefits and seek out other resources to help achieve their goal, their children learn to find solutions to obstacles. As mothers progress through their education toward the end goal, both they and their children reap the benefits. This creates a win-win for the organization, the employee and the employee’s entire family, increasing loyalty and commitment to the company.
Both working adult students and their employers benefit when employees use their tuition assistance plans to either begin, continue or complete higher education. New knowledge and skills help workers learn to create solutions and solve problems. Companies can expand deeper into creative uses of artificial intelligence or other technologies when employees have skills and critical thinking ability that makes it possible for them to integrate technology and the human experience. Working adult students will be continue to be valuable employees as they recognize and act on the need for life-long learning to keep knowledge new.
How do your education programs help with employee retention?
Edcor has almost four decades of experience building education programs. Employer strategic goals for the programs can vary – but the one overlapping goal is to improve retention. By working with Edcor to design a benefit program policy to define and measure goals the program can be used to target specific areas of concern around retention, or any other initiatives.
Successful employers understand that attracting the best talent is only half the challenge. The other half is keeping them. One proven way to create incentive and loyalty is a well-designed student loan assistance program. Edcor’s insightful Freedom model provides the best in the industry. We work together with employers and the graduates they employ to meet this immediate need with cost-effective efficiency. Our results are consistently favorable, and our clients consistently benefit from the outcome. Student debt can affect employee engagement and retention. Having debt can overwhelm employees, often resulting in them looking for a new job that pays even marginally more – for that quick fix. Employees are looking for benefits that help them develop security. Education programs such as tuition assistance and student loan debt assistance can provide added security. Many younger employees are happy to save for future retirement, but they have immediate responsibilities, such as paying down student loan debt, that affect them right now. This feeling of vulnerability affects employee performance, turnover rates and business productivity.
Employers who are most responsive to their employees’ needs have the most engaged employees – resulting in lower turnover and higher productivity. They will find that their employees feel less stress and can be highly engaged in their jobs. Currently only four percent of employers offer student loan assistance programs. This benefit differentiates an employer as one who is responsive to employee needs. Whether the benefit is used by an individual or not, employees want to work for a company that offers these benefits.
For anyone who won’t be able to make it to the Edcor booth in Las Vegas, what do you want them to know?
Edcor provides a comprehensive suite of education benefit services including tuition benefit administration, student loan assistance administration, scholarship program administration, partner school network, student advising and counseling, financial marketplace for student debt solutions, policy consulting, and textbook discounts.
Our 38 years of knowledge and expertise is second to none. Our passion for delivering results-driven tuition and education benefits programs ensures our clients see true ROI while benefiting from increased employee satisfaction and productivity.
Edcor works with clients to identify what is needed for their employees to complete their education or bring closure to any outstanding loans. We design custom programs for each individual, and monitor progress until these goals are reached.
Our unmatched experience and knowledge allow us to employ the most cost-effective methods for helping our clients recruit and retain the best and most qualified employees.
Visit the Edcor booth #1342 at #SHRM19!