How to build a case for support: financing your studies

Nexford staff, featuring Francis Ali
03.05.2019·6 min read

Need financial support for your studies? Here’s what you need to know

It’s the all-important question. How are you going to finance the next step of your learning journey?

We know that not all economies are equal, so why should you pay more for your education because of where in the world you live? Our learners in Nigeria face a completely different market to our learners in the Philippines.

That’s why we’ve created our innovative tuition pricing model that means wherever you live, you’ll pay a rate that’s based on your local economy.

The price of US higher education – plus relocation and living costs – make studying for an MBA impossible for many learners worldwide. But global business is missing out on an enormous talent pool as a result.

By making our courses flexible and affordable, we’re changing that.

Even so, many of our learners are reliant on tuition support from their employer, or family in order to study. How do you build a compelling case for support? Let’s break it down.

Approaching your employer

Francis Ali, Global Finance Director at Nexford University, has some advice. “There are three things an employer is going to look at,” he says.

“Firstly, they’re going to ask what you’re going to do that matches, complements and enhances the performance that you bring to this organization."

He continues: “Then they’ll want to know what’s it going to cost them, and lastly how much time you’ll need for your studies.”

Let’s unpack that. Here’s what you need to include when presenting your case for support to your employer.

Be clear about our high-quality course content

We’ve designed our programs to be globally recognized by official bodies and employers. We’re a licensed, degree-granting institution regulated by the Higher Education Licensure Commission of Washington, DC. And crucially for your manager, our courses are tailored to what employers want. Francis says: “The course design is there for employers to see. Our value proposition is something that a particular employee can take to their employer.”

Nexford’s sophisticated mapping system allows learners to map their courses to their career ambitions and create a structured plan to give them the precise skills that will be valuable to them in their current and future roles. Francis continues:

“Being able to say ‘I can achieve this MBA but I’m also adding value to this company with every passing course I succeed in' is very attractive to an employer.”

Be precise when talking about cost

Think hard about exactly what level of financial support you need from your employer, and consider presenting different models. You may want to ask for 100 per cent funding, but would your manager be more likely to consider matched funding? Or is there already an existing salary sacrifice scheme you can take advantage of within your organization? Think about whether it might work for your employer to split the cost – with our fixed-rate monthly fee, the total will come down to you how quickly you complete each course. Be specific about exactly how much you think you’ll need from your employer, and be prepared to be flexible. Francis says:

“Most employers are convinced of the value to one of their managers getting an MBA. That’s pretty well established.”

But with many MBAs costing thousands of dollars, and most requiring time spent on campus, it’s the financial (and practical) logistics that become off-putting.

Our online approach means that our programs come in at a fraction of the cost of the equivalent at a traditional university, with no additional relocation or travel costs involved. Consider presenting some comparative figures so that your employer can see the difference.

Make a schedule

Again, be precise. Your employer needs to know when you’re going to fit in the work for your program, and how that’s going to impact your job. Are you planning to study over weekends? Take unpaid leave? Do you need to reduce your hours for the duration of the program? Present a structured schedule to your employer and show realistically what the impact on your time in the office will be.

Studying online has a huge advantage here over a traditional approach. You’ll never need to travel away to spend time on campus. Francis says:

“Ultimately, they’re not losing someone for weeks at a time. Learners can tailor their study to fit around their job. That’s an attractive proposition for an employer.”

Approaching a family member

Perhaps it’s not your employer that you need to make your case for tuition support to. Plenty of our learners rely on funding from a family member to pay for their program.

Dr Sonal Minocha, Chief Partnerships Officer at Nexford University, says:

“The biggest question a student will have to respond to from a parent is the question of employability. The first thing they will ask is ‘are you guaranteed to get a job at the end of it at the right sort of level? What is it that Nexford University is giving you that some of the other local options are not in securing that globally recognized qualification?’”

Only 11 per cent of business leaders think that today’s graduates are ready to enter the workforce, according to Gallup.

We’re out to change that, and create prepared graduates who are ready to add value to their workplace from day one.

Make sure that you focus on our personalized course content and mapping tools when making the case to a family member. In creating our programs, we analyzed over 30 million job vacancies and surveyed business leaders who employ more than 2.4 million people worldwide. So when we say we know what employers want in their graduates, we’ve really done the groundwork.

Our focus at Nexford is on affordability, employability and flexibility. And our pricing structure fits with our values. We believe that wherever you are in the world, you should be able to afford a high-quality higher education. And we’ve done the work to make it possible; we analyzed over 50,000 data points, pulling information from over 60 countries to understand what makes higher education affordable.

We examined everything from GDP per capita to Big Mac and CPI indexes to truly understand the purchasing power of $1 in each country. We even looked at details like fluency in English and regional internet connectivity when creating our unique pricing model. Francis says:

“Our pricing model asks the question, how do we assist socioeconomic mobility by bringing more relevant students to the global marketplace.”

Tuition is central to Nexford’s mission of greater economic mobility. Why not check how much a degree would cost you?

About the Author

Nexford staff, featuring Francis Ali

Francis Ali is Nexford’s chief financial officer. He supports the global team to implement effective financial planning processes, drive profitability, and fundamentally ensure the financial strategies support the broader business objectives.

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