MGM, the biggest employer in Nevada, will offer higher education benefits to its employees that will give them more college opportunities. 

MGM is partnering with the Nevada System of Higher Education to provide its employees with more opportunities to go to college. The MGM College Opportunity Program will pay for MGM employees to attend distance learning programs through any of Nevada’s seven major public schools, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

MGM is latest company to join the trend of offering higher education benefits to employees.

NSHE first announced plans for the program in May and is hoping to have the details finalized in time for the state Board of Regents meeting in September. This program marks the first time a major company has partnered with a higher education state agency, NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly told the Review-Journal.

The program will be available to MGM employees nationwide, though the company will require a minimum employment period, both before and after earning their degree. However, it’s only available to employees who don’t already have a degree at the level they’re pursuing.

The online programs will be available at no additional cost to students but the NSHE is offering a discount to all employees who enroll in a Nevada state or community college.

Reilly did specify that this will only be offered to MGM employees who are seeking a degree, not individuals who are just interested in taking a few classes. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the number of Nevadans who have a college degree. (You can see Nevada’s student loan debt per graduate here.)

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In the company’s press release, MGM CEO Jim Murren said he believes “in higher education as a pathway to the middle class." Michelle DiTondo, the head of human resources for MGM, told the Review-Journal that better access to higher education will benefit Nevada and every participating state.

If the program gets approved by the Board of Regents at the Sept. 7 meeting, eligible employees can begin signing up for the program in the fall of 2019.

Finding an Employer That Offers Education Benefits

For most job seekers, their biggest concern is the annual or hourly salary they will earn. But employee benefits like tuition assistance should not be overlooked, especially for individuals who are hoping to attend or go back to college. Furthermore, these programs can help reduce or eliminate the need to get student loans to pay for college.

The amount individuals can save on college varies depending upon an employer’s respective program. For example, Chipotle reimburses their employees up to $5,250 annually, while Verizon will reimburse their employees for up to $8,000 in tuition each year.

Individuals who are interested in finding a job that offers this type of benefit should spend some time thinking about the type of program they will need first. This will help them to begin to tailor their search and find companies with programs that might work for their situation.

And they should always do their research first and find out about eligibility requirements – like a minimum period of employment or if tuition reimbursement is only available for certain schools.