Written by Joanna Hughes

The US’s largest private employer just added another perk to its benefits package for associates: the opportunity to obtain an undergraduate degree in business or supply-chain management for a dollar a day without incurring debt. Here’s a closer look at this innovative benefit recently announced by Walmart.

Putting College Degrees Within Reach

The cost of college is a deterrent for many people. To that end, Walmart’s new program in partnership with Guild Education is aimed at making it easier for students to overcome the financial barriers in order to obtain associate's and bachelor’s degrees.

Specifically, both full-time and part-time students who have been working at Walmart for a minimum of 90 days will now be eligible to receive college credit for Walmart Academy training, as well as a path to a debt-free college degree from one of three nonprofit universities -- all for less than the cost of a cup of coffee daily. All associates have to do contribute in return? The equivalent of the cost of a cup of coffee.  

Beyond Affordability

But the new program is more than just affordable. It’s also been designed for relevance and accessibility. Given that research indicates the value of academic counseling in helping students complete their degrees, participants are also supported by Guild Education coaches while navigating the application and enrollment process.

Says Guild Education CEO and co-founder Rachel Carlson, “Walmart has kicked off what might be the nation’s most scalable approach to creating educational opportunity for America’s workforce, now available to its US associates and their families. Walmart is also leading innovation at the intersection of workforce development and higher education by helping associates earn college credits for their on-the-job training.”

The program will also be subject to independent evaluation by the Lumina Foundation in order to determine its impact and effectiveness.

Proposes Lumina Foundation president and CEO Jamie Merisotis, “Walmart is making a significant investment in hits workforce that will not just help the company, but help shift how our society moves toward more affordable and accessible pathways for individuals to be recognized and rewarded for their work-based skills and knowledge, resulting in high-quality, relevant credentials.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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