contract for tuition reimbursement

  1. I am getting ready to start school this fall. My current employer has agreed to pay my tuition via reimbursement. They have asked me now to come up with what I think is an appropriate contract in relation to how much time I will owe them once I graduate. I am looking for any suggestions. The program I am in will cost approximately $30,000. What is the going rate in relation to "pay back time" for tuition reimbursement? Thanks
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   JJRN
    Where are you going to school?
  4. by   jdbcho
    University of Detroit Mercy...U?
  5. by   lizmatt
    For 30,000 with my company you would need to work full time for almost 11 years. The payback time for my company is 2 years per 5740 (the max they
    offer per year) or about 1.32 per hour worked (basing these figures on a 40 hour work week). I am sure there are better deals somewhere though.


    ooops sorry did not realize CRNA forum.... sorry about that
    Last edit by lizmatt on Jun 22, '04
  6. by   purplemania
    and don't forget a payoff clause. You want the privilege of paying off the loan in a lump sum if you decide to do so in order to get out of the contract.
  7. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Seems a little bizarre that the employer doesn't seem to have a policy in place, doesn't it? And that they would ask you to formulate one?

    Usually, I'd say a year of commitment for a year of tuition, as that seems to be the standard. $30,000 isn't a small chunk of change, though, and if I were the employer in this situation, I'd want more time.

    What will you be when you are done? Does the $30,000 include living expenses or just tuition?
  8. by   TraumaNurse
    Since this is in the CRNA forum, I hope we are talking about CRNA contracts. That said, I have seen CRNA contracts for tuition reimbursement for anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 per year.
    Since you are asked to submit your own, I would think that a 3 year committment would be reasonable for a $30,000 bonus. Or why not push it and say 2 years!?
    I know of new grad RNs at my old hospital (Not CRNAs) that are now being given up to $25,000 in tuition repayment for 2 year contracts. If Newbie RNs are getting that much, then I think it may be reasonable for a CRNA to ask for that much.
    As someone mentioned, be weary of the small print! Many contracts attached financial penalties plus repayment at high interest rates for broken contracts.
    If you are actually drawing up your own contract, then you may want to get a lawyer involved in the process. If you are merely submitting a proposal, then you may not need one.IMO.
    This is just my $.02.
  9. by   jwk
    Quote from apoole77
    For 30,000 with my company you would need to work full time for almost 11 years. The payback time for my company is 2 years per 5740 (the max they
    offer per year) or about 1.32 per hour worked (basing these figures on a 40 hour work week). I am sure there are better deals somewhere though.
    There are definitely better deals available for tuition reimbursement and/or signon bonuses. $10k per year of contractual obligation is not uncommon in the southeast.
  10. by   u-r-sleeepy
    Quote from TraumaNurse
    Since this is in the CRNA forum, I hope we are talking about CRNA contracts. That said, I have seen CRNA contracts for tuition reimbursement for anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 per year.
    Since you are asked to submit your own, I would think that a 3 year committment would be reasonable for a $30,000 bonus. Or why not push it and say 2 years!?
    I know of new grad RNs at my old hospital (Not CRNAs) that are now being given up to $25,000 in tuition repayment for 2 year contracts. If Newbie RNs are getting that much, then I think it may be reasonable for a CRNA to ask for that much.
    As someone mentioned, be weary of the small print! Many contracts attached financial penalties plus repayment at high interest rates for broken contracts.
    If you are actually drawing up your own contract, then you may want to get a lawyer involved in the process. If you are merely submitting a proposal, then you may not need one.IMO.
    This is just my $.02.
    The contract I was offered was similar to this one. Actually, I think my offer was better than that - might have been school costs ($30k?) plus about $1k/month during 27 months of school? Anyway, I read the fine print and I believe they had a $15k or $20k "penalty clause" on top of paying back all the original principle $$$ for failure to follow through on this "deal". Also, it was a 3 year commitement to fulfill your obligation at a set rate of pay which was LOW!!!!!!!! (maybe $87k/yr?)

    Many students in my class took the bait and were sorry later on as it was all one-sided. One couple (who married while in school) had an anesthesia group buy them both out of the deal and I think I heard they both started at about $200k/yr - that is EACH! They haven't been seen in a homeless shelter since! ;-) (that's just a feeble attempt at humor there, folks....)

    IF you really want to stay with this group/hospital for whatever reasons (family? hometown?) I would come up with an arrangement somewhere along this avenue:

    - $30k school costs covered - they can "pay as you go" which means they don't have to come up with all of the $$$$ immediately.

    - ask for at least $500 - $1k/month to help with living costs, etc.

    ** PLEASE NOTE ** Do NOT allow them to stipulate that you cannot take additional loans out as my contract offer stated! Feel free to borrow to the hilt if you need to! See other threads to learn about managing school loans/debt on this forum. Do a search like "financing school", etc. Some students in my school borrowed anyway and invested it in the stock market & made extra money that way - what a hoot! :chuckle

    - I would encourage you to offer a 2 (TWO) year commitment for such a "deal" at "market comparable compensation".

    Why? Because they know just how much $$$ they can spend recruiting CRNAs on the open market and if you're from the area they should be more than willing to want to do what it takes to "keep" you after school.

    - Be more than willing to go to a 3 year commitment if they insist. It IS worth it - I promise you!

    ----------

    Having said that - now for YOUR END of the DEAL:

    - You offer to provide anesthesia for them for 2 years after school at "market rates". How would you or your employer determine just what is "market rates" for a CRNA? That is a good question - a very IMPORTANT question also! Still, you should do a bit of research on just what you are looking for in the total "package" - salary, IRA, PTO, other benefits like health insurance, disibility insurance, etc. (see more below)

    You could also make it a 3 year commitment (if they insist) that is staggered where you start at "fair market rates" and then increases $X amount each year for the next 2 years. I think you could even try and include something in the contract like "...comparable to market conditions/offers as seen on Gasworks". That might be a little bit of "insurance" for your.

    - You really should discuss call time - it can be a real "thorny" issue if you're being paid salary and you're turning into a scut-monkey-slave for them. You will develope a bad attitude otherwise and it could last 3 years! ;-O Do a little research and try and come up with something perhaps like - call no more than 1:3 or depending if you're young and hungry for the $$$ - make sure OT is compensated at 1.5 hourly rate after 40 hours in a week. Do SOMETHING like this so it is in writing. Sorry - we're back to protecting YOUR fanny again - it's hard to avoid!

    - Offer to have them pay for a life insurance policy which guarantees them their initial investment plus a bonus should something terrible happen to you before you are able to finish school. Say - in the range of $100k which more than covers their investment. It's not really necessary, but I think it's "smart" and makes you look like you're trying to think of their side of the "deal" as well. If you're healthy and young - it doesn't cost much either! You could also offer to pay for it yourself with them named as beneficiary as a nice gesture.

    - They are going to want you to guarantee the principle investment. That is certainly understandable. That means should you fail - whether you decided you "didn't like it" after getting started or simply "did not cut it" and got flushed out of the program - you owe them ??? $$$ and will need to pay it back over time. Try to have it "interest free" if possible as you're planning to succeed!

    I would state in the contract (since this is what you are drawing up) that you have the opportunity to pay this off over a considerable period of time should you drop out or be dropped from the program. Make it "affordable" for your economics as an RN to repay. That is only fair and decent in my opinion.

    ** By including that last clause, you are GUARANTEEING their investment! How can they lose on such an offer? Now that I think of it, with some more effort on the compensation package and tweeking the numbers/benefits, I should draw something up like this and make it available to students seeking sponsors. You know - fill in the blanks for certain areas and amounts and time. The only other thing I can think of to guarantee the hospital/group would be a long-term disibility policy they could take out on you which would guarantee your income in the event you became disabled during school, thus still allowing you to repay the loan and live. That's about it, folks!

    To finish up:

    After having written all of this, I would still encourage you to research threads on this forum regarding "financing school" and consider paying your own way. I think 98.5% of the time it is THE BEST WAY to "get there from here" for students. My spouse is a small scale version of Mr. Buffett and is very "gifted" with finances. After "doing the math" it was a no-brainer to skip the "deal" and pay our own way and take out loans. As I neared graduation, the opportunities were incredible. I am so far ahead financially for having followed my spouse's advice... well, let's just say it would "surprise you"!


    Sleeepy

    Is this post long enough?
  11. by   jwk
    Sleepy,

    Just curious if you feel the same way about sign-on bonuses as you do tuition reimbursement arrangements. Most sign-on bonuses also carry a stipulation about length of service, but they seem to be a pretty standard way of inducing people to come work with a group. They're very common in my area, enough so that most prospects ask about them if we haven't already mentioned them, and I wonder if we would be at a disadvantage from an employer standpoint in not offering them.
  12. by   kmchugh
    BE CAREFUL! Before you sign any contract, have it checked by an attorney, and ask the attorney (not your future employer) about "out" options. What may look good to you now may look pretty bad after you finish school. Or worse, the job may not be what you expected when you signed on. I signed a contract for my first job before starting school. The pay was about the same as being offered by other groups in the town, etc. However, after graduating school, I found myself working 50, then 60 hour weeks, with occasional 70-80 hour weeks thrown in for fun.

    I am a CRNA out in the real world, and am currently job shopping. There are a lot of employers out there offering sign on bonuses of $10,000 - $20,000, with all moving expenses paid, etc etc, and each of them has a contract committment of TWO years. Perhaps you will love this job, and at the end of two years can negotiate an even better deal. And for a tuition reimbursement of $30,000, two years would be about right. I agree with everything u-r-sleepy wrote, but would be a bit nervous about taking a three year contract. If I am reading your initial post correctly, the hospital is offering you the contract. They will stick by the contract, unto the end of time. So if there is a significant jump in CRNA salaries where you are at, you might be stuck with whatever the hospital pays you. (I have seen a contract with a clause that covers this eventuality. Essentially, the employer agreed to compensate at the agreed amount, or at the "average CRNA salary" for the area, whichever was higher.)

    Bottom line, get everything you want in writing, then before signing anything, take the contract to an attorney and ask them what the contract obligates you and the hospital to.

    Kevin McHugh
  13. by   wilsonmd71
    From what I've seen, for each semester of school you owe a year of work (or so). I would not let the amount of tuition determine your obligation for work, just the semester. Each school is different in how much it costs. For example, in Maryland Johns Hopkins charges around $42,000 for BSN whereas University of Maryland about $16,000 (four semesters each). And for each semester a hospital pays off you own them a year of work, so that would be four years. Good for those who attended JH, maybe not so good for those at UMB. Try not to feel guilted into working more than you need. They have given you some latitude in the decision, use it to your advantage. Good Luck!
  14. by   u-r-sleeepy
    Quote from wilsonmd71
    From what I've seen, for each semester of school you owe a year of work (or so). I would not let the amount of tuition determine your obligation for work, just the semester. Each school is different in how much it costs. For example, in Maryland Johns Hopkins charges around $42,000 for BSN whereas University of Maryland about $16,000 (four semesters each). And for each semester a hospital pays off you own them a year of work, so that would be four years. Good for those who attended JH, maybe not so good for those at UMB. Try not to feel guilted into working more than you need. They have given you some latitude in the decision, use it to your advantage. Good Luck!
    I mean no disrespect to you "wilsonmd71" or anyone else like you, but PLEASE!!! - could you NOT post things that have no bearing on CRNA related financial matters? I don't mean this to be offensive or rude in any way whatsoever, but we have people posting on this forum that obviously have no direct (personal) knowledge or experience with compensation and contracts regarding SRNAs or CRNAs. There is a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE once you step into the whole CRNA arena with regard to compensation and contracts. It bears very little (if ANY!) resemblance to that of RNs or obtaining a BSN.

    The reason I state this is because those sincerely interested in exploring the possibility of becoming a CRNA and what it takes to do so could be VERY ill-informed if they read some of the comments here that are totally false. One of the earlier posts wrote something about it would take 11 years or something?!? Get a clue - and don't write about things you have no knowledge about!

    Sorry - rant over

    Sleeepy

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