March 19, 2012

Full Time Pay To Attend College

Patrick Laverty

In the video below, WJAR's Jim Taricani dug up a provision in Rhode Island Local 580's contract that says they may attend college full time to obtain a master's degree in social work while being paid their full time salary. I am familiar with businesses that offer a tuition reimbursement plan, but I'm not familiar with any that let their staff take a leave from their job and attend school full time while still collecting their full salary.

On top of receiving their full pay while attending college, the state (again, that's you and me, the taxpayers) pay half of the cost of the schooling. One thing that was not mentioned in the video was whether these employees are going to school full time and still keeping a full time case load as well. However, reading an associated document on the web site shows the employees using the benefit are "out on Ed leave"

What has this cost so far? Since 2007, the salary cost has been $1.1 million paid to the employees while on education leave and the cost of the schooling has been slightly more than $100,000 for 18 employees. On the latter part, that sounds like either one incredible bargain or a few of them never completed it or some of those 18 just began. Because remember that $100,000 is just half the cost. That puts the average at just a little more than $10,000 per employee. How in the world can you get any master's degree for about $10,000? So there's clearly more to that story too.

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Don't forget that once they get their degree it means guaranteed pay increases.

This is almost as outrageous as paying for policemen to get law degrees so they can retire at 45 and become attorneys.

Posted by: Dan at March 19, 2012 11:36 PM
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