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Author Topic: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?  (Read 748 times)

Patrick Bateman

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Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« on: April 13, 2006, 10:06:49 AM »
The other day my boss offered to pay for my law school tuition if I work full time during school.  It seems like an impossible offer to refuse but I have a few reservations and I would appreciate any input that you might have about them. 

I should preface this by saying, before my boss offered to cover my tuition, I planned to attend Temple Law - Evening Division and work at my current employer 2 days a week to cover my living expenses.  Paying for tuition over 4 years would cost me 50-60K, because I'm a PA resident. 

Here are my reservations about working full time.

1.  Temple Evening student take 10-11 credits a semester.  This is only 4 less credits than the full time program and full time students are not allowed to work.  Is it risky to work full time and take the chance of not being able to handle the work load during 1L?

2.  Working full time will probably prevent me from participating in important activities such as law review because of time restrictions.

3.  Tuition reimbersement is likely to come with stings... meaning, I will likely have to work for my company (a civil engineering firm) for several years after I graduate or else will have to pay back the reimbersement.

4.  The best legal job I could get with my company would be associate corporate counsel, which probably doesn't pay as much as jobs with a private law firm and sounds boring to me.

5.  My girlfriend, who I've been dating for a year and a half and live with will probably dump me because I won't have any time to spend with her.       

Are all of these negatives worth the 50-60K?


law123

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 10:11:31 AM »
It sure doesn't sound like it.  Go to Temple and do very well and you can get any job you want and be able to take care of the 50K debt no problem

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 10:28:57 AM »
Take option #2, your boss' offer.  If the load gets to be too much, at that time ask to reduce your hours, which is essentially option #1.

How large is your company, and what is the tolerance for slack?

Patrick Bateman

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 10:31:52 AM »
How large is your company, and what is the tolerance for slack?
[/quote]

Good question.   It's 4200 people.  Tolerance for slack is somewhat high, although I have days that I'm running non stop.  I would not be able to do LS homework at work though. 

dbk10

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2006, 10:46:29 AM »
Wow, this really is a tough dilemma.

Let's start with your last point - having no time for the gf.  Where are you in your relationship?  Is it worth making some sacrifices now to see if she's the one?

Next let me ask why you're going back to school.  Is leaving your job and switching careers one of your reasons?  Because  that would not be feasible for awhile under this offer, plus you won't have the same opportunities to explore "other" areas of law if you're focussed on your current place of employment.

How many years would you have to give them after graduation?  And would they let you take a summer off to study for the bar exam?

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2006, 10:57:16 AM »
WTF... my posts are getting on the board.   the payback criteria is make or break.  if the payback period is 1 for 1, and you get credit while going to school, then at worse case you're liable for 1 year (rather than 4).  60k/4

FYI, ive never seen a company collect on ed reimbursement... but i may be wrong. in which case you could negotiate a 0% interest rate, lower than student loans

Patrick Bateman

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2006, 10:59:26 AM »
Wow, this really is a tough dilemma.

Let's start with your last point - having no time for the gf.  Where are you in your relationship?  Is it worth making some sacrifices now to see if she's the one?

Good point.  I think it's almost more than a "sacrifice" though.  I almost think it would be impossible.  One of my coworkers, who is in his mid 40's, went to seton hall law at night and worked full time, and got divorced afterward.


Next let me ask why you're going back to school.  Is leaving your job and switching careers one of your reasons?  Because  that would not be feasible for awhile under this offer, plus you won't have the same opportunities to explore "other" areas of law if you're focussed on your current place of employment.

I don't want to do what I'm doing now,  which is basically technical writing.  I would like working as corporate counsel more than my current position, but I think I would like firm law better.

How many years would you have to give them after graduation?  And would they let you take a summer off to study for the bar exam?

It would probably be the kind of thing where, if I worked 2 years I would pay half back, if I worked 5 years, I would have no obligation.


Patrick Bateman

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2006, 11:11:10 AM »
WTF... my posts are getting on the board.   the payback criteria is make or break.  if the payback period is 1 for 1, and you get credit while going to school, then at worse case you're liable for 1 year (rather than 4).  60k/4

I haven't discussed the specifics with him yet.   I think he would want more than 1 year after I graduate. 

Part of my concern comes from witnessing my coworker, who I mention above, who went to Seton Hall part time and worked full time, and said it was very hard to balance (and this guys is pretty damn smart) , and had to get divorced afterward and didn't even end up working in a legal capacity.   Granted he's the VP of an environmental engineering firm now, but he probably only makes like 20K more / year than a 1st year associate at biglaw firms in philly. 

 

shaz

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2006, 11:23:12 AM »
don't do it.  cut back on the hours or take a leave until the summer.  grades are important.  if you want money, take the patent bar.  patent agent work will pay well and you can work during your 3&4 pt years.  i don't know if this is true, but in oct i met a recent temple pt student who said that three students in his class were working as patent agents pt and making a killing.  i worked my way through undergrad.  there's no way i would work my way through 1L,  that's just too important.  why not see if your boss will allow you to take this academic year off to see if you can handle the work-load.  pt and no job should allow you to dominate the grade curve.  great grades are worth more 50k.
losin' sleep, gainin' knowledge.

Patrick Bateman

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Re: Tuition Reimbursement - Should I take it?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2006, 11:35:56 AM »
the thing is, if you're doing part time and NOT working close to full time, employers will wonder why.  the fact that you do work somewhere where you could be hired after law school will take a lot of pressure off having to finish at the very top of your class in order to land that first job (and yes, you DO have to finish towards the top of your class to be immediately hireable.  philly loves temple, but it loves penn more.), and the absense of any significant debt will make your starting salary less relevant.

This is a great point. On the topic of PENN grads taking all the big law jobs though... I did some research and found out that only 20% of PENN students from the 2005 class stayed in Philly.  Out of a class of 243 students, that means that only 49 snatched up the big law jobs that Temple and Nova grads want. I don't know how many 1st year associate jobs in private firms are available each year, but I assume a lot more than 50.  I get your point though.  You do have to graduate in the top of your class to get big and medium size firm jobs right after graduation.  It would take some pressure  off to have a job lined up.  Although I should say that I won't necessarily get a law related position.  See the link below for more stats on PENN.

http://www.law.upenn.edu/prospective/jd/classstatistics.html