Walmart, a large and well known organization in the US commits to covering tuition fees for its employees where they will invest close to $1 billion over the next five years. This program is an attempt to help decrease the growing student debt countrywide. The program officially started in August 2021 and is still on-going. Here, see about Walmart College Program.
A few months ago, Walmart made a public announcement that it would officially cover all the tuition and book costs for its associates through its Live Better U (LBU) program. Starting August 16th, a dollar a day fee was removed for the associates, meaning all education programs would be paid for by Walmart. This hence means that Walmart employees can earn a college degree, a high school diploma or even learn a new language absolutely free of charge.
What is Live Better U?
This is Walmart’s employer based educational program that provides a way for employees to earn degrees, diplomas and certificates at a much lower cost. The main objective of the LBU program is to help Walmart employees to obtain their degrees and relevant educational certificates while still earning a living and also without the student debt burden. Better yet, the LBU program is associated with recognized educational institutions, so this means a decent and solid experience for the associates.
The LBU program is completely designed to work around the students’ work schedules attesting to why all their programs are online; LBU doesn’t offer in-person classes.
What constitutes the LBU program?
The program is made up of four different minor programs in collaboration with being a Walmart employee, and they include:
- 1.College degree program. This program covers costs for employees who need to attain their college degrees. To qualify for this, an employee/student ought to be in possession of a high school diploma or equivalent.
- 2.High school completion program. This is for those employees who did not graduate high school but want to complete their GED. Upon completion, the employees can then obtain their high school diploma.
- 3.Professional Certification and Skillful Traders Career Diploma Program. Walmart offers certification programs that are in line with in-demand skills. This program is basically for gaining a new skill. To be eligible for this program, the associate has to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
- 4.High school and college prep program. LBU offers free college prep programs to employees in two forms: College Start for High school students and College Start College prep.
What degrees are obtainable from the program?
Walmart clarified that they would be able to only offer degrees in business, technology, supply chain, and health. In addition to this, they offer high school students access to free ACT and SAT prep and several hours of free college credit via the LBU program which was created about three years ago to help employees to grow and advance within the company.
A major thing to note, is that the Live Better U program doesn’t offer certificates and degrees for just any subject field but rather business, technical and technical oriented fields.
The Walmart program comes as a relief to roughly 1.5 million Walmart associates in the US as they can acquire college degrees and learn new trade skills without having to worry about the high costs of college education. Collectively, Walmart will devote almost $1 billion over the coming five years in career training and development of its employees.
Lorraine Stomski, Senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart said that they are focusing to create an opportunity for its associates to grow individually; with their Walmart careers and also continue growing with their families. She added that this program was just another way of supporting their employees to pursue their passion while removing barriers that often hinder adult working learners from obtaining their degrees.
Which institutions does the program cover for?
Employees are allowed to choose from a variety of institutions such as Johnston & Wales University and University of Arizona among other great colleges.
Walmart said that since the beginning of the program in 2018, more than 50,000 associates have taken part in the program and roughly 8000 have already graduated. Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education said that Walmart is looking to set a new standard that prepares workers for “jobs of the future.”
What does this mean for student loans?
Walmart’s program represents an ideal plan for its associates: free tuition, still earn a living and avoid large student debts. With the introduction of this program, this means that Walmart employees won’t have to borrow any student loans to pursue their education which then reduces the average amount of future student debts across the nation ensuring financial freedom among thousands of people. More employers, Walmart among them, have committed to helping their associates with educational benefits like tuition subsidies and helping pay off some student loans.
With Walmart’s main goal being to help out, it seems to be working as a number of students have already graduated without having accumulated a large student debt. The program is deemed to be successful and Walmart encourages its employees to continue with the program to better themselves and create a long term career within the Walmart ecosystem.