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Vacation days and employee discounts are cool and all, but Walmart has a new idea for a sweet employee benefit: subsidized college.
OK, so the idea of helping employees go back to school isn’t entirely new. (Chipotle, McDonalds and Starbucks recently began offering subsidized college to employees, too.)
But the world’s largest private employer helping its employees get a college degree for just $1 a day is new.
$1 a Day College for Walmart Employees
On Wednesday, Walmart announced plans to begin covering the cost of college for employees who have not received a college degree.
The mega-retailer is offering as many as 1.4 million part-time, full-time and salaried Walmart and Sam’s Club employees in the U.S. a chance to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Walmart has partnered with three nonprofit universities: the University of Florida, Bellevue University in Nebraska and California-based Brandman University, each offering an online program for working adults. The schools were chosen for their specialized focus on working adult learners and their dedication to high graduation rates.
As long as they’re enrolled, employees will be required to contribute $1 each day. (That means $365 each year — the $1 a day will still be required during holidays and breaks from school.)
Walmart, for its part, will pay the cost of tuition, fees and books.
The degrees must be in either business or supply-chain management, as those “will be relevant across the industry and for future work opportunities,” said company spokeswoman Erica Jones. More degree options are expected to be added eventually.
Employees can sign up to participate in the program after working for Walmart for at least 90 days. There is no penalty for those who choose to leave the program early, and there is no minimum GPA requirement, although employees must earn passing grades.
Enrolled employees will receive support from an education coach, who will help guide them through everything from application to graduation.
Employees who leave the company before completing their degree will no longer receive the subsidy.
Walmart already had initiatives to help employees complete their high school education or earn a GED diploma.
“Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement released by the company. “We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers.”
Grace Schweizer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
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