On Wednesday, Walmart announced that it would offer to pay, at least in part, for its 1.4 million employees in the United States—part-time, full-time, and salaried—to go to college, with some restrictions. Though it is not the retailer’s first foray into the world of subsidizing education for its employees, it makes it the latest big employer to publicly declare it wants to help its employees get a degree, following Starbucks, JetBlue, UPS, Cigna, Fiat-Chrysler, and others.
Here’s what Walmart’s plan looks like: Employees will be able to earn their associates or bachelor’s degrees in either business or supply-chain management, and Walmart will pay for any upfront costs after financial aid, including tuition, books, and fees, which they say will eliminate the need for a loan. Recipients can attend any of three institutions selected for, according to Walmart, their emphasis on adult students: the University of Florida, Brandman University in California, and Bellevue University in Nebraska.
For their part, employees will have to pay the equivalent of $1 per day to Walmart as a sort of co-pay and there does not appear to be any requirement for employees to stay with the company once they have completed their degree—a feature of several other employer-sponsored tuition-assistance programs. “Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,” said Greg Foran, the CEO of Walmart’s U.S. branch. “We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers.”