The staggering cost of higher education and the financially crippling effects of taking on too much student loan debt have many Americans seeking alternative ways of paying for their education. Scrutinizing employee benefits, including tuition benefits, can help people in the job market chose employers strategically to find companies that will pay for their tuitions. Job hunters should keep in mind that most of these companies require employees to earn degrees related to their jobs to receive tuition benefits.

1. Starbucks

Employees of Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) get generous tuition benefits from the company. Through its College Achievement Plan, Starbucks pays 100% tuition for its employees to earn degrees at the University of Arizona. Those who don't live in the vicinity of the university get the same benefits by enrolling online. Employees also get free tutoring and interaction with peers through the Starbucks Scholars study groups.

2. AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) offers tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 annually to a maximum of $20,000 to employees earning undergraduate degrees. The company reimburses tuition up to $25,000 to any employee earning a master's degree. The course of study must be approved before tuition will be paid.

3. Bank of America

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) has a tuition reimbursement arrangement similar to the tuition deal offered by AT&T. Employees can get up to $5,250 per calendar year reimbursed for enrolling in approved undergraduate and graduate courses at accredited colleges and universities.

4. Boeing

The Boeing Co.'s (NYSE: BA) employees can enroll in courses related to their jobs, offered by accredited colleges, universities and approved IAM/Boeing Joint Programs education vendors. The company reimburses employees' tuition up to $3,000 per year.

5. TDIndustries

Texas-based construction and real estate company TDIndustries Inc. has a fairly open policy when it comes to tuition reimbursement. The company offers employees unlimited tuition benefits and pays for a wide range of tuition-related expenses. Its employees get 100% of their expenses reimbursed for workshops and college-level courses.

6. Burns & McDonnell

Missouri engineering firm Burns & McDonnell Inc. has several attractive education options available for its 4,800-strong employees. The company offers numerous workshops and continuing-education courses through its Burns & McDonnell University program. The company also pays for employees' certifications and annual certification renewal fees. Employees with six months of service qualify for tuition reimbursement of job-related coursework at colleges and universities. The company also pays tuition for eligible employees pursuing their MBAs.

7. Alphabet

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) wants the best for its employees, and pays up to $12,000 annually in tuition reimbursement. The company pays college tuition for courses related to each employee's job. Employee-students only get this generous education benefit if they pass their classes with As and Bs.

8. United Services Automobile Association

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) pays tuition for its employees to earn certificates, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees to the tune of $10,000 annually. The company also offers continuing-education workshops, professional development and other training opportunities for employees in-house.

9. Genetech

San Francisco tech giant Genetech Inc. offers education benefits similar to those of the USAA and reimburses any of 13,000-plus employees up to $10,000 annually. Employees typically take classes and earn degrees related to the biotechnology industry.

10. Procter & Gamble

People working for the consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) can get up to 80% of their college tuition and related fees reimbursed. Employees have a lifetime tuition cap of $40,000.

Employer Tuition Deals and Taxes

The first $5,250 of tuition reimbursement benefits are tax-free. Employers typically don’t include this amount on IRS Form W-2. Any amount above $5,250 may be considered wages, unless the extra amount is considered a fringe benefit of the job. Employees should confirm the status of tuition reimbursement amounts over the tax-free limit with their employers to avoid being stuck with a tax bill for additional wages.

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