If you're a Walmart associate interested in earning an undergraduate degree online, you can likely take advantage of Walmart's tuition assistance through the Live Better U program. As of August 16, 2021, the company started paying fully for associates' textbooks, fees and tuition and eliminated the $1 a day fee previously required. Walmart also expanded its partnerships with new universities to make more programs available.
How Walmart's Free College Works
Walmart's Live Better U program uses the education platform called Guild Education that has collaborated with several universities to offer associate's and bachelor's degrees online. Walmart advertises that associates can choose from more than 30 degree programs and study in job-relevant fields, such as supply chain management, technology and business, while the company picks up the costs. There are also several trade skills programs offered.
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You can choose to study at any of several accredited institutions:
- University of Arizona
- Voxy EnGen
- University of Denver
- Purdue University Global
- Wilmington University
- Johnson and Wales University
- Penn Foster
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Brandman University
All programs are entirely online so that associates can study at their own pace, though they do need to keep up with the course requirements. Learning coaches are available to help you juggle the challenges of school and work as well as plan your educational path to fit your goals and schedule.
Consider also: What Is Tuition Reimbursement?
There's no waiting period to qualify for Walmart's tuition assistance program, so you can enroll as soon as you start working. As long as you're not a temporary worker who won't qualify at all, you'll have access to this benefit whether you work part-time or full-time. While all eligible hourly associates will qualify, salaried workers can only do so if they're not market level or higher.
Walmart's public portal doesn't mention anything about a required number of credits you'd need to take or a required grade to earn. However, schools may have their own requirements that they'll disclose during the enrollment process.
Keep in mind that plenty of other employers also offer tuition assistance programs and may be an option for you if you're not a Walmart employee.
Limitations of Walmart's College Assistance
While Walmart's program goes a long way toward helping associates get a college education, it does have some limitations. For example, you can't use the program to earn a master's degree since it only covers undergraduate programs. Further, if you already have a bachelor's degree, you can't take advantage of Walmart's college program. You'll also need to consider the limited selection of colleges and degree areas since there's a chance the program that interests you may not be covered.
Consider also: Federal Student Loans
Taking Advantage of Walmart's Tuition Assistance
If you're eligible for Walmart's program, you can visit the company's subpage on the Guild Education website to find a button to get started. You'll log in with your Walmart employee credentials and be able to explore the degree programs available to you, speak to a coach to get program suggestions and apply to your desired program. Note that you'll need to meet any additional requirements for the school and program required such as having the minimum required grade point average, showing proof of finishing high school and submitting transcripts.
Once you get approved for Walmart's program and the degree program you applied to, you can expect to learn when you'll start classes and get the necessary textbooks. You'll take your courses online and submit work according to the schedule set by your school until you complete the required number of credits to graduate.
Consider also: Federal Student Grants
Consider Other Companies' Programs
Keep in mind that plenty of other employers also offer tuition assistance programs and may be an option for you if you're not a Walmart employee. For example, Amazon will cover as much as 95 percent of your fees and tuition. Target has followed Walmart in offering free undergraduate programs but even covers $10,000 a year for master's programs. Also, Arby's employees can get $5,250 to $6,000 annually for college tuition, and even family members can get $2,500.
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