Employees Want Online-Ed as a Voluntary Benefit

Education comes at a cost many cannot afford

ATLANTA, GA (May 22, 2013) – Online education is becoming a viable, less-costly option to traditional education for many American workers who need affordable education for themselves and their families.  Yet, even online education may come at a price many employees can’t cover. In a nationwide survey,[i]one of four respondents (24 percent) said they would be likely or very likely to pursue online education if they could use a voluntary benefit – an employee purchase program – to pay for it.

And without access to an employee purchase program as a voluntary benefit, 44 percent of workers/spouses of workers said they would pursue online educational services such as college courses, professional certification courses and SAT/ACT preparation for themselves or their family.[ii] The nationwide survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Purchasing Power January 23-25, 2013, among 2,160 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,151 are employed full-time and/or whose spouse is employed full-time.

Online educational services, such as Learning Solutions offered through Purchasing Power’s employee purchase program, include not only college courses for first-year and catch-up college degree programs, but also SAT/ACT prep and tutoring courses, professional certification courses, and high school and career diplomas (such as auto repair technician, physical therapy aide and residential electrician). The programs are offered at competitive prices which the employee pays for over 12-months of payroll deductions, giving the employee the chance to graduate debt-free.

“Being able to obtain college courses and other education services through an employee purchase program offered as a voluntary benefit at the workplace is a winning solution for both employees and employers alike,” says Richard Carrano, President and CEO, Purchasing Power. “Employees can invest in their future and advance their career. Employers can provide an additional employee benefit that helps meet their recruitment and retention strategies, without additional cost or liability. There’s a reason voluntary benefits are popular – they address employees’ real-world lifestyles and financial needs,” he explains.

The survey also looked at how likely respondents were to use to an employee purchase program for online education services based on their education and income levels, household  size and age of children in the home:

  • Education – 19 percent of respondents with a high school degree or less; 26 percent with some college education; and 27 percent of those with college degrees would be likely or very likely to use an employee purchase program to access online educational services.
  • Income – 21 percent of respondents with an income level of less than $35,000; 30 percent with an income level of $35,000 – $49,999; 24 percent with an income level of $50,000 – $74,999 and 23 percent with an income level of $75,000 and above would be likely or very likely to use an employee purchase program to access online educational services.
  • Household Size – 15 percent of respondents with one child; 21 percent with two children; 29 percent with three or four children; and 26 percent with five children or more would be likely or very likely to use an employee purchase program to access online educational services.
  • Age of children – 29 percent of respondents with children under the age of 6; 29 percent with children ages 6 to 12; and 35 percent with children ages 13-17 said they would be likely or very likely to use an employee purchase program to access online educational services.
Being able to obtain college courses and other education services through an employee purchase program offered as a voluntary benefit at the workplace is a winning solution for both employees and employers alike

Purchase programs are advantageous to the employee because they involve easy qualification, with no credit check. Employees simply must be 18 years old and meet minimum salary and tenure requirements. Most employee purchase programs have no financing fee or ballooning interest. Unlike a credit card, the payment term is fixed over the course of 12 months.

Purchasing Power recently released a white paper, “Knowledge is Power: Using Voluntary Benefits that Empower Employees with Education”  which uses proprietary and industry research to explore educational services as a new, much-needed voluntary benefit. The paper examines the financial crisis that traditional education is undergoing, the resulting surge in popularity of online education programs, the ability to access educational services through voluntary benefits such as employee purchase programs, and the advantages of doing so for both employees and employers.

“Empowering employees with education benefits is a valuable addition to the benefits package. Many employers currently provide some form of tuition assistance, but now they can offer a variety of learning options for employees and their families as a voluntary benefit, without further burdening their benefits budget,” Carrano concludes.

About Purchasing Power, LLC

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Purchasing Power is one of the fastest-growing specialty e-retailers in the market offering a leading voluntary benefit program. Purchasing Power differentiates itself from traditional e-commerce retailers through its unique payment plan value proposition, strategic benefit broker partnerships, internal marketing expertise and superior customer service. Purchasing Power is a Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC Company. Over 6 million people have access to Purchasing Power, and since it was founded in 2001, the company has fulfilled over $950 million in customer orders from employees and members of leading companies and organizations across the U.S., including Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. For more information, visit www.PurchasingPower.com



[i] Online Harris Interactive survey on behalf of Purchasing Power, Jan. 23-25, 2013, among 2,160 U.S adults, of whom 1,151 are employed full-time and/or whose spouse is employed full-time.

[ii] Ibid.