Walmart, which employs roughly 1.5 million people across the country, announced some changes to its employee college tuition policy on July 27. Although the program has some restrictions, with the changes to its college tuition program, some employees will be able to earn a degree without paying for books or tuition.
Walmart’s program is limited to a small number of colleges and degree programs. The original college funding for employees started in 2018 with a $1-per-day cost to the employees. Now, Walmart will remove even that minimal fee to make college and career training more accessible to its workforce.
Walmart tuition reimbursement
The retail giant started the Live Better U program in 2018. According to a company press release, over 52,000 associates (employees) of Walmart and Sam’s Club have participated in the program so far. Of that total, about 8,000 have already graduated.
Walmart’s senior vice president of learning and leadership, Lorraine Stomski, said, “We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart, so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their families.”
Certain degree or certificate programs are approved for the Walmart education program. With the changes, Walmart is adding options in business administration, supply chain, and cybersecurity.
Colleges covered under Walmart’s employee tuition plan
Walmart isn’t paying for college education at any institution, and not for every degree program. The updated list of “academic partners,” as the company calls them, is as follows:
- Johnson & Wales University
- University of Arizona
- University of Denver
- Brandman University
- Penn Foster
- Purdue University Global
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Wilmington University
- Voxy EnGen
The corporation partners with the organization Guild Education. Its CEO and founder Rachel Carlson stated, “As the company making one of the nation's largest investments in education for America's workforce, Walmart is setting a new standard for what it looks like to prepare workers for the jobs of the future,” according to NPR.
In Walmart’s press release, representatives of both the University of Denver and the University of Arizona expressed enthusiasm at being added to the company’s free tuition program.
Will Walmart pay off my student loans?
Walmart’s program isn’t tailored towards general student loan repayment. Instead, employees need to go through the channels of its Live Better U program and select one of the approved schools and degree pathways in order to have 100 percent of their tuition and textbook costs covered.
Employers that pay for college
Walmart isn’t the only company that offers assistance for employees’ college education. Here are a few of the top companies that pay for college (or a portion of college tuition and expenses).
- FedEx offers up to $1,500 per calendar year of tuition reimbursement after 60 days of employment.
- UPS has the Earn and Learn tuition assistance program with a lifetime maximum of $25,000.
- Taco Bell has a tuition assistance program for employees.