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

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FILE – This June 25, 2019, file photo shows the entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The largest U.S. private employer says it will commit to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development.

Walmart announced that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better (LBU) education program.

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

Ultimately, this means approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates 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,” said Lorraine Stomski, Senior Vice President of Learning and Leadership at Walmart. “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.

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. This helped guide the initial $1 a day approach, but the economy and job market have changed, and Walmart is always looking for new ways to encourage more associates to pursue further education.

In addition, Walmart willaddfour academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver and Pathstream. These complement the existing partners: Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University and Voxy EnGen. Each of these institutions were chosen for their history of success with adult and working learner programs as well as their focus on degree completion.

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