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Tuition reimbursement

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What is the name of your state? What is the name of your state? AZ
I have quit my job due mainly to a verging on hostile work environment. During the time I worked with the company I earned my Master's in Business Administration.

When I began the program, there was a tuition refund program in place in which you could get reimbursed at the end of each class as long as you got a passing grade. There were no strings attached with this program.

Literally halfway thru my Master's program, the policy was changed. The new policy stated that an employee must continue working for the company for one year from the date of the last disbursement check.

When the policy was changed, employees were notified via email. No contract was written up or signed. The reimbursement form had a name change and a bullet point added stating that if the employee left before the year, that he/she would be expected to pay a pro-rated portion of the monies. No calculation or formula for the pro-ration was given. The new bullet point did not require to be initialled or signed. (Basically the form was the same except for the title and the additional bullet)

My last disbursement check was in February. The workplace has become so miserable that I gave my notice last week. They now expect me to pay the pro-rated difference back, in full or in monthly installments.

Is this legal? Am I legally bound to a policy that was introduced halfway through the Master's program?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


I'm a Northern Girl
I don't see anything illegal about the requirement on the surface. I'm assuming the company did not require you to get your Masters?

There are some states in which such agreements are not binding, although they are not illegal. You can call your state Wage and Hour division to find out if yours is one of them.

That's about your only recourse. If these agreements are binding in your state, you're stuck.


Senior Member
An employer doesn't have to offer a tuition assistance benefit in the first place and if they do, they pretty much can set the rules and change them when they want. The only thing they have to comply with is IRS regulations regarding annual dollar limits and taxable income.

Calling AZ's DOL is not a bad idea but frankly, I suspect you're stuck having to pay back the money.

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