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Walmart to pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates

Starting Aug. 16, the $1 a day fee will be removed for associates, making all education...
Starting Aug. 16, the $1 a day fee will be removed for associates, making all education programs paid for by Walmart.(wsaz.com)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 12:07 PM EDT
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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (WCSC) - The largest U.S. private employer has committed to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development for their employees.

Walmart put out a release saying it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U education program.

Starting Aug. 16, the $1 a day fee will be removed for associates, making all education programs paid for by Walmart.

Walmart says this means approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time employees in the U.S. can earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of education debt.

“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart, so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their families,” Walmart Senior Vice President of Learning and Leadership Lorraine Stomski said. “This investment is another way we can support our associates to pursue their passion and purpose while removing the barriers that too often keep adult working learners from obtaining degrees.”

Walmart says the LBU program was initially designed after consulting with experts, reviewing other employer-provided education programs and studying the research around what helps drive completion rates among adult working learners.

“We’re also excited to add in-demand college degree and certificate options in business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity. These additional offerings join a robust catalog of programs to set associates up for new career opportunities,” Stomski said. “Our education offerings tie directly to our growth areas at Walmart, and what better way to fill the pipeline of future talent than with our own associates.”

Walmart says they are adding four academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver and Pathstream. They say these will join their existing partners including: Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University and Voxy EnGen.

Walmart says this is part of their commitment to eliminating the burden of education debt. Their release said cost is a leading barrier for earning a degree, and pointed to student loan debt in the U.S. topping $1.7 trillion.

Since launching LBU in 2018, Walmart says more than 52,000 associates have participated in the program to date and 8,000 have already graduated.

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