The news has been out for a while: from now until July 5, everyone can enjoy the employee discount from GM. The discount can be as high as $5,000 -- if you actually are in the market for a (GM) vehicle. Is $5,000 making it the most lavish employee discount program? Thanks to Terri Cullen from WSJ, we have a chance to know some even better programs (part of free WSJ content at http://www.wsj.com/free).
GM's $5,000 discount is probably at the very top of the list, but Centex, one of the biggest homebuilders in the country, has something more: employee discount on a home purchase and mortgage services. I'm not sure if there is a cap involved, but the article mentioned a Centex employee reaping 5% discount off a $136,000 home -- that's $6,800!
And what tops the list is probably from universities. According to the article:
Some 566 colleges and universities allow a certain number of staffers to send students to other participating universities, where students receive 100% tuition scholarships. In the 2004-2005 school year, 4,260 students received an average scholarship of $21,000, according to program president Ben Norris. Schools participating in the program include Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., American University in Washington D.C., and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Remember that's $21,000 for each year in the school, and a $80,000-strong grant for the normal four-year college education! (The only caveat: the scholarship is not automatic.)
Other programs mentioned in the articles are less attractive:
• 50% off Sharper Image products is nice, but SI products are way overpriced (yes, I know they are cool).
• 30% of Barnes & Noble books? Who still buys full-priced book these days?
• 10-15% off from Dell? Still, it is not a secret that Dell has many deep discounting coupons available to the general public.
Here at Microsoft, the deal is not much better either. Yes, you can get big discount on Microsoft software and hardware, but unless you have a practical use of Microsoft server products in your home, you are only saving $10-$30 by getting the fancy mice, Microsoft Money and XBox games from the company store.
Do you happen to know some more generous employee discount programs? Feel free to share by adding a comment.