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It seems the most critical element in this is what conversations you are having with the employee before he/she decides to pursue the degree and the conversations you continue to have throughout that process. If it is clear that the organization is not able to offer something substantially different upon graduation, and the employee decides to pursue it anyway as a personal choice, then absolutely yes--support the employee through encouragement, celebratory dinner, public recognition, etc. It is no small feat to make the financial and time sacrifices to further one's education as an adult, and the relationships and learnings acquired amount to more than a "piece of paper." But it is also important to understand that other organizations come recruiting recent grads, and take very seriously the possibility of losing this employee shortly after graduation. I've seen two cases where a friend got MBA (on own dime), the company did not have a good policy or system for having open, candid, productive dialog about what that means, could mean, would not mean, doors it might open, or otherwise, and they left.
To that point... the line that shocked me in this the one indicating most companies that pay for advanced education do not require some kind of commitment to stay for a certain period after. Why would any organization have such a policy? Since companies actively recruit students upon graduation, unless you have something to offer the new grad that is enticing as well, it certainly IS like paying them to go work somewhere else.

This is probably the exception rather than the rule. Big 4 accounting firms have historically hired a bunch of new grads ---- purposely more than they know they will need 1-2 years down the road. They work the grads tails off.

Some of them stay and fight their way up to partnership. Most of them quit after a couple of years and take a corporate role. They purposely spend the first 2 years at a recognized CPA firm and then "shop" the name/experience somewhere else. They know it works to their advantage.

CPA firms know that. They also know that the ones that stay are committed. Also they don't mind employees leaving because the corporate world needs accounting firms ---- and the accountants just may decide to use their old employer to do the work.

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