Corporate Sponsorship In Higher Education

If you are thinking about studying for a Masters degree, you have probably already considered how you might fund your studies. Part-time Masters degrees with Northumbria University have a number different financing options available including our interest-free payment plan and the £10,906 Postgraduate Loan from the UK Government. Another option of financing your studies is corporate sponsorship, where your employer pays your fees in part or in full whilst you continue working for them. Undertaking a Masters degree without taking any time away from work is possible with our part-time Masters as all delivery takes place in weekend blocks over a two year period.

While the your personal and professional development benefits from studying at postgraduate level are clear, your employer may need some further justification to invest in your education. Here we discuss some of the ways you can start the conversation with your manager and help you build a case for your sponsorship.

Starting the conversation

Hopefully you already have a good working relationship with your manager and feel comfortable coming to them with your professional goals and aspirations. Once you have a date set to talk, start gathering as much information as possible, on both your chosen Masters and its relevance to your organisation and department. As with any pitch, you need to have all the key facts ready to present, allowing you to start the conversation and convince your employer of the potential benefits of investing in postgraduate education. First you must have decided which Masters you would like to complete and be prepared to answer questions as to why this is your chosen programme. Our checklist below has a few more questions you will likely be asked to help you get prepared:

  1. “Tell me about the programme” – What modules are covered? How much does it cost? What is the programme length? What type of student takes this programme? What does the timetable look like?
  2. “How can we benefit from this investment?” How does the Masters relate to your current role? What additional benefits can you bring to the company with your new skills, knowledge and connections from the classroom?
  3. “But why…?” Anticipate any questions or drawbacks they might have to do with the course. Practice a Q&A session to help with your preparation.

Next Steps

It is likely your employer will have to consider your proposal with other senior managers and your HR team. It is worthwhile gaining an understanding of the timelines of their decision so you can manage when you need to apply for your Masters – remember that places in our classrooms are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.  If your request is unsuccessful, remember that you do have other options to fund your Masters and our Learning Advisors will be able to advise which option would suit you best.

If the answer is yes, remember that you may be required to sign an agreement regarding your continued employment at the company, for example, remaining with the company for a set period of time post-completion of your studies. This is a negotiation so don’t rush into an agreement too quickly, fully consider and understand all criteria of the arrangement before you make your final decision.

Our Learning Advisors are available to discuss any questions you have related to your chosen programme or the financing options available to you. We can also provide some further guidance on creating your business case for sponsorship and are happy to speak with line managers/HR to explain your course or process. Call our team today on +44 (0) 20 8108 3636 or email


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