Walmart Announces Free College Tuition for Employees, Doesn’t Raise Wages

By Sahid Fawaz

America’s largest private employer is offering to subsidize college tuition for its employees.

The York Times reports:

“Walmart announced plans on Wednesday to offer subsidized college tuition for its 1.4 million workers in the United States, joining a growing list of companies that are helping employees pay for higher education as a perk in a tight labor market.

The giant retailer will pay tuition for its workers to enroll in college courses — online or on campus — to earn degrees in either supply chain management or business, company officials announced at Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Ark.

Full- and part-time Walmart workers can use the subsidy to take courses at the University of Florida; Brandman University in Irvine, Calif.; and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb.

The three universities were chosen because of their high graduation rates, particularly among part-time students, and their experience with those already in the work force, Walmart executives said. The employees will not be obligated to continue working for Walmart after they get their degrees, and must put up only $1 a day toward the cost of classes.

‘We feel like this is another step forward in investing in our associates,’ said Julie Murphy, an executive vice president in Walmart’s United States operation.

Walmart, the country’s largest employer, introduced the tuition subsidy as it seeks ways to retain workers at a time of low unemployment. Employers like Starbucks and Amazon also offer tuition support.

Walmart, which has faced criticism over low pay and poor working conditions, is also trying to burnish its image while expanding its presence in more upscale markets online.”

For the rest of the story, visit the New York Times here.

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