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Walmart Set to Pay for 100% of Workers' College Tuition

The new policy means 1.5 million Walmart and Sam’s Club employees can “earn college degrees or learn trade skills without debt,” Walmart said.
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Walmart  (WMT)  announced Tuesday that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for its associates through 10 academic partners, starting Aug. 16, replacing the $1 daily fee that Walmart charged before.

Starbucks  (SBUX)  is thought to have led the parade of large companies to underwrite much of their employees’ college education, starting in 2014.

As for Walmart, it said the new policy through its Live Better U education program means 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club employees in the U.S. can “earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of education debt.”

Walmart said it’s “committing to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development.”

The education assistance 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,” Walmart said.

“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.”

Walmart's existing academic partners are Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University and Voxy EnGen.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer plans to add four academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver and Pathstream.

“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,” Walmart said.

Walmart shares were down slightly on Tuesday at $142.55 at last check

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