Holly Foster didn't even secure herself a job on a college campus with the traditionally robust, if little known, tuition benefit in mind. The communications department gig at Hamilton College was a good fit, but her children were little at the time, and the concept of steep college bills was still an abstraction. Fast forward, a few years later. When she realized what this benefit amounted to, Foster nearly danced a gavotte.
For Anne Riffle, who works in Hamilton’s Registrar’s office, the lure of getting tuition covered as an employment benefit was a major factor in her coming to work at the upstate New York school in the first place. With three kids, she’s been dancing ever since.
Families around the world show the strain of the daily nightmare that is the cost of college. But for families with a parent working on a college campus, there can be considerable relief in the form of getting all or half of tuition covered. The rules vary by institution, but many cover the tuition of an employee’s child in full on their own campus and half if they attend another accredited school. Moreover, as an employee, you don’t have to be a professor or high-ranking administrator to qualify. Secretaries and even athletic department equipment managers also stand to benefit.
Whatever the precise case, this is a benefit few outsiders know exists. But in these tight-fisted times or even, considering the cost of college, during flush times, it presents a good reason to consider a campus career of one kind or another.
At Hamilton, there are currently about 90 children of employees receiving the benefit with about a dozen attending Hamilton, said Stephen Stemkoski, the school’s director of human resources, who said that in meetings with prospective employees, eyebrows do calisthenics when they get to this particular line item on the benefit list.
Even if the parents among them don’t actually dance around his office, Stemkoski notes, “I think they may want to.”