Many companies are starting to recognize the boon of offering tuition assistance to their employees and have begun including them in their benefits packages.
Walmart is one of those companies, and they have recently upgraded their college program to be even more accessible to their employees. So if you want a full breakdown of the Walmart college program, look no further!
What Is The Walmart College Program?
The Walmart college program, officially called Live Better U, covers 100 percent of college tuition and books for its U.S. associates, both full-time and part-time employees. Prospective students can choose from among 10 participating institutions of higher learning, and employees are eligible from their first day of employment at Walmart.
To learn more about what Live Better U (LBU) includes, what schools are participating, how to sign up, and whether there are any restrictions or exclusions, see all the details below!
What Does The Walmart College Program Include?
Recently, Walmart announced that they were expanding access to their Live Better U college degree program, removing the former $1 a day fee.
Now, LBU, in partnership with education assistance management service Guild Education, offers Walmart employees tuition and books at 100 percent remission.
This means that students don’t have to pay a dime toward their tuition or books!
Further, LBU goes beyond just tuition assistance; the program also includes free high school completion, college prep, and discounts on other degrees, like master’s programs.
Additionally, professional certificates in specialized fields may also be covered by Walmart in full, such as business leadership or optical care.
Employees can also gain access to language learning and skills development to make the multifaceted in a modern workforce that practically demands it for advancement.
And finally, students will receive free education coaching from Guild, to help them navigate the program, choose the right degree or skills and just generally offer learning support.
What Schools You Can Attend With The Walmart College Program?
There are currently 10 schools participating in the LBU program. They include:
- Johnson & Wales University
- The University of Arizona
- The University of Denver
- Brandman University
- Penn Foster
- Purdue University Global
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Wilmington University
- Voxy EnGen
If you don’t live near any of these or have no idea where they are located, don’t worry!
These schools are either completely online or brick-and-mortar schools with a robust remote/online program.
Whatever the case, the programs are designed to accommodate adult learners and full-time workers.
If these programs are anything like online programs I have attended, oftentimes, students aren’t locked into “attending class” or lectures at certain times, as on a college campus.
Rather, all the information is put online, including written lessons, videos, slideshows, etc. Students can access them on their own time, completely at their own convenience.
Then, it’s on them to manage their time and ensure that they complete assignments by the due dates.
Students also interact with each other via discussion boards (online programs are surprisingly immersive and social!) or can arrange to interact offsite via email, texting, etc.
Finally, attending online school can be intimidating, but professors and counselors are there for their students, even from thousands of miles away.
Online schools make a point of being especially supportive to their students because they know the physical barriers of time and space can be difficult to overcome.
How Much Is The Walmart College Program?
Walmart’s college program through LBU is completely free, and Walmart covers 100 percent of the tuition and book expenses.
Online programming means that students don’t have to worry about on-campus housing expenses or travel costs, either.
Before this current system, employees were obligated to pay a $1 a day fee, a significantly reduced tuition fee, as part of LBU.
But even a few hundred dollars a year can create undue economic hardship to families, a continuous barrier to higher education.
Good on Walmart for recognizing that and removing all financial barriers to their employees.
Where Can You Sign Up For The Walmart College Program?
If you are ready to get started with Walmart’s college program, you can sign up online. The Walmart/Guild Education website is here.
Additionally, you can learn more about the degree programs, the schools and the different skills training they offer, or you can just go ahead and get started signing up.
To do this, you’ll need your Walmart employee ID to access the sign-up process and many of the details of the programs offered.
Are There Any Restrictions and Exclusions With The Walmart College Program?
There are some restrictions and exclusions to Walmart’s college program.
For example, the types of degrees you can pursue through this program include pertinent fields like healthcare, business, technology and supply chain management.
Unfortunately, Walmart is not going to pay for you to get that poetry degree you always wanted.
Associates and bachelor’s degrees are also limited to employees who do not currently have either. So you can’t use the program to get a second undergrad degree.
Temporary associates who have been hired to work the holiday season are not eligible.
And finally, most salaried employees are not eligible. The exception is field facility associates who are salaried; they are still eligible for the program.
Are There Any Walmart College Program Scholarships?
There are no scholarships associated with Walmart’s college program LBU because 100 percent of the expenses are covered by the company.
However, Walmart did offer other scholarship programs independent of LBU, and they had done so for years.
Those were the Walmart Associate and Walmart Dependent scholarships, which applied to their employees and children or dependents of their employees.
The scholarship included up to $13,000 to be applied to a four-year degree program.
Unfortunately, with the expansion of the LBU program imminent, Walmart phased out this scholarship program.
Instead, they opted to focus their educational assistance with Live Better U.
Since LBU only applies to current employees, that does mean that Walmart employee dependents can no longer receive tuition assistance from Walmart.
On the plus side, though, any employee who was attending college via the Walmart Associate or Walmart Dependent scholarship would be able to receive the full funding.
How Much Does The Walmart College Program Cost Walmart?
This ambitious program, with Walmart covering 100 percent of the college tuition and books expenses for their employees, will cost the company a pretty penny.
In fact, the mega-retailer announced it was investing almost $1 billion in their employees to cover the costs.
After all, over a million of their U.S. employees are eligible to take advantage of the program.
It’s important to keep things in perspective, though.
One billion dollars is nothing to blink at, but Walmart reported revenue topping $500 billion for two years in a row.
So if any company can easily afford to give its employees an educational leg-up in the world, it’s Walmart.
Walmart’s college program provides 100 percent tuition and book remission to over one million eligible U.S. employees.
This is an upgrade on the former $1 a day program, which still barred some employees from attaining higher education degrees.
Walmart is investing almost a billion dollars in their associates’ ongoing education, a win/win situation for all.