College for $1 a day?
If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not.
Walmart, the largest private sector employer in the U.S., announced a new plan yesterday to pay for college for its 1.4 million employees.
Here’s how it works and what you need to know.
Walmart College Plan
Walmart will offer all full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office and Sam’s Club associates an opportunity to attend college for only $1 a day for the duration of their college program.
Walmart will cover the full cost – beyond financial aid – of tuition, fees and books.
According to personal finance comparison site Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe more than $1.4 trillion of student loan debt.
With this program, Walmart wants to ensure that its associates can earn a college degree without incurring student loan debt.
Walmart has partnered with three non-profit universities where its employees can earn a degree online while working:
- University of Florida in Gainesville (Florida)
- Brandman University (California)
- Bellevue University (Nebraska)
Walmart associates are eligible to apply once they have worked at Walmart for at least 90 days. Walmart expects that all Walmart associates who apply will be accepted.
If an employee leaves the company before completing a degree, the employee does not have to pay back any costs to Walmart (but will no longer have their education subsidized).
Which Types of Degrees Are Offered?
Currently, Walmart will only cover associates and bachelor’s degrees in business and supply chain management since they are “parts of a broader approach to preparing the workforce to succeed today and into the future.”
“Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,” said Greg Forman, CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. “We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers.”
Walmart is partnering with Guild Education, a leading education benefits platform, which will provide academic counselors to help Walmart associates with everything from the application process to choosing the right degree.
According to the Washington Post, Walmart expects as many as 68,000 associates to enroll in the program in the first five years.