Using Employer-sponsored Education Benefits at

Learn how you can use funds provided by your employer to pursue your cybersecurity education goals.
Finance your education, build new skills, and add value for your company — using your employer-sponsored education benefits.

Finance your education, build new skills, and add value for your company — using your employer-sponsored education benefits.

If you want to get the best education in cybersecurity while you work, and your organization offers education benefits, let them help you take your next step. cybersecurity degree and certificate programs are designed for working professionals, and your employee benefits package may help cover the cost of pursing your goals.

If you're a US Federal Government employee, see our guide for using Federal education benefits.

"SANS is the Oxford of security studies, so expectations are naturally quite high. Living up to those is not a trivial accomplishment!" - Shawna Turner, Principal Engineer, Nike

Getting Started: Using Employer-Sponsored Education Benefits

Getting Started: Using Employer-Sponsored Education Benefits

Tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance is an arrangement by an employer to cover a certain percentage — or all — of an employee’s tuition for a certificate, degree, or other form of education. The specifics of each corporation’s education benefits policy can vary widely, so it’s important to know the details of your company’s policy before enrolling at In most organizations, the Human Resources staff can help you understand your options. Download our Employer Education Benefits Worksheet to help you record answers to important questions.

Ask the Right Questions

Here are some questions to ask regarding your employer’s program — and important information about the cybersecurity programs at the SANS Technology Institute.

Am I eligible and what programs are eligible?

Let your employer know that all programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, are designed for working professionals, and have a 100% online option.

Does my degree or certificate program need to be job-related?

All programs are hands-on cybersecurity programs. Details about our curriculum are regularly updated in our undergraduate course catalog and graduate course catalog.

Who needs to approve my request for reimbursement?

You will likely need to get written approval from your manager before you can submit for reimbursement. You may also need to get sign-off from HR. When you enroll at, your student advisor can provide a course description letter covering the details of each course in the program after New Student Orientation, but general course descriptions are available on our website under each program and in our undergraduate course catalog and graduate course catalog.

What paperwork is required?

Your employer may have some type of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance approval form you need to fill out and have signed by your manager before the program starts. Since does not operate on standard semester terms, each course is paid for individually. Find out from your employer what paperwork is required to process payment for each course.

Most employer-sponsored education benefit plans operate on an annual cycle so be sure you understand the timeline, and if they use payment date or course completed dates to determine funding allocation for that year.

What are the necessary deadlines?

Communicate clearly with your HR department about what paperwork you need to complete –and get signed, if necessary – and when it must be done. Be aware of admissions timeframes if you need to use your funding by a certain date. At, you’ll get an admissions decision 30-45 days after applying, and you can usually pay for your first course 30 days after you are admitted.

Give yourself 60 to 90 days from when you apply to when you can pay for your first course. For example, if your employer wants payment or course to be completed by December 31, plan to apply by August 1 for the master’s degree program and August 15 for all other programs.

How does payment work?

Some companies will allow you to pay for the course using a company credit card, or they may provide a purchase order (PO) or Letter of Credit (LOC) that will allow us to directly invoice them (or a third-party provider such as EdAssist or Bright Horizons). Other companies may require you to pay for the course up front and then submit a reimbursement request after passing the course.

All those options are acceptable at Just keep in mind that invoiced courses must be paid by the end of the course term, and no grade report will be issued until payment has been processed.

Do I need to maintain certain grades?

Some employers will require you to get a certain grade before they will reimburse you. For example, they may cover courses where you earn at least a B, but not a C. Also, keep in mind that while students can retake failed exams to replace the grade with a passing score, retake exams are usually paid for out of pocket. students take courses one at a time and after each course you’ll receive a grade report with your grade, course term information, and payment details that you can share with your Human Resources team.

Will I be able to complete all the necessary coursework outside of working hours? Will I need to take time off to attend lectures or classes or are the program requirements flexible?

Be clear with your employer in advance so there are no surprises or misunderstandings once the course begins. If the program directly applies to your job, your employer might be open to allocating a few hours a week to coursework as part of a professional development program.

All programs can be completed while working full time. This includes the bachelor’s program internship. While our programs are designed for working professionals, each course requires at least 8-10 hours of focus each week. It’s important to develop a strategy to balance work, school, and family responsibilities.

What documentation do I need to show after I finish a course?

After you finish a course, you may need to provide some form of documentation from us showing that you completed the course and the grade you earned. Your student advisor will provide a grade report at the end of each course, and you can request a transcript through our partner, Parchment.

“Nothing pays dividends like practical experience. Many programs attempt it, but the SANS Technology Institute helps students use the latest cyber techniques to pursue objectives commonly encountered on the operations floor." - Matthew Toussain, Founder, Open Security

Have Employer-sponsored Education Benefits? Take the next steps.

Have Employer-sponsored Education Benefits? Take the next steps.

If all the above has been verified by your employer and you DO qualify for tuition assistance at, here’s what to do next.

  1. Fill out the financial form on your application indicating you plan to use employer-sponsored tuition assistance (TA).
  2. If you have questions about filling in any funding gaps, set up an appointment with an Admissions Specialist using our Admissions scheduling portal: We don’t want you to have any surprises regarding annual tuition needed.
  3. Once you’re admitted, you’ll complete our virtual New Student Orientation (NSO) where you’ll meet one-on-one with your student advisor. They will go over your class schedule, course timelines, and registration process. They can answer most questions about invoices, payments, and documents required for reimbursement. PRO TIP: Come to the meeting with the answers to the questions on the Employer Education Benefits Worksheet to prevent delays in registration.

Note: Do not attempt to register for courses before meeting with your student advisor.

Don’t Have a Tuition Assistance Program? Ask for one!

Don’t Have a Tuition Assistance Program? Ask for one!

To make a strong case for employer-sponsored education benefits, give your manager or HR department details such as what program you want to take and how much it will cost (or how much assistance you want). Information about program costs and length can be found at the top of each of our program landing pages on our website. We promise you’ll be able to use what you learn in class immediately on the job, so let your company know that your SANS courses will have substantial benefits for the organization.

Let your manager or HR department know how an employer-sponsored education benefits program can help your company.

Providing education benefits can help employers:

  • Retain and promote top talent
  • Improve employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • Earn a reputation as a good place to work
  • Build stronger teams across all operations
  • Boost innovation and productivity

In the meantime, explore our other funding options for US citizens and permanent residents.

If you don’t have access to education benefits at your organization, veterans’ education benefits, or funding options available to Canadian students, you can explore the Income Share Agreement (ISA) for undergraduates or the Tuition Payment Program.


We're happy to help. Email or call 301.241.7665.