One year ago, Walmart announced plans to pay for its more than 1.5 million employees’ college educations. The largest private sector employer in the U.S. offers its full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office and Sam’s Club associates the chance to attend college for only $1 per day for the duration of their college program. The retail giant covers the cost of tuition, fees and books to ensure that its associates can earn a debt-free college degree.
Walmart said Tuesday that it has since expanded its “Live Better for U” education program, adding 14 technology degrees and certificates, which includes computer science and cybersecurity. High school students will also have the college opportunity as Walmart wants to provide a “bridge to the workforce.” The number of young people who are working full-time after graduating high school is decreasing, though Walmart hopes to attract and retain more high school students to its workforce to train the next generation of leaders.
High school students will now have access to jobs with scheduling flexibility such as working the same days and shifts for up to 13 weeks, while also receiving free ACT and SAT prep, up to seven hours of free college credit through the program, and a debt-free college degree in the fields of technology, business or supply chain management.
Walmart employees and high school students can choose to attend one of the six following non-profit universities to earn a degree online while also working:
- University of Florida (Florida)
- Brandman University (California)
- Bellevue University (Nebraska)
- Southern New Hampshire University (New Hampshire)
- Purdue University Global (Indiana)
- Wilmington University (Delaware)
Associates are eligible to apply after working at a Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office or Sam’s Club for at least 90 days. If an employee was to leave the company before completing a degree, they don’t have to pay back any costs to Walmart, though they will no longer have their education subsidized.
Since launching its Live Better for U education program in May 2018, more than 7,500 Walmart associates from all 50 states have been accepted into at least one of the education programs. According to the retailer’s estimates, more than 60,000 Walmart associates could join the program within the first five years.
“Access to higher education is one way to grow your career,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. “So, in addition to providing people with an entry to the workforce and access to our on-the-job training, I’m proud Walmart also offers our associates programs like Live Better U to help them achieve their educational goals.”