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Walmart Expands Employee Tuition Benefits

June 6, 2019

Walmart this week announced that it is expanding a debt-free college tuition benefit for the retail giant's roughly 1.4 million U.S. employees. The company is adding 14 degrees and certificates in technology fields such as cybersecurity, computer science and network security to the Live Better U program, which had featured degrees in business and supply chain management. The company said it would add more credentials in coming months.

Walmart employees are expected to pay $365 a year to participate, the equivalent of $1 per day. Walmart also offers high school completion to its employees, as well as discounts on master's degrees and other higher education programs.

The company works with Guild Education to administer the program. Guild, an intermediary and technology platform, has partnered with several nonprofit, regionally accredited universities to offer online credentials to employees of participating companies. Walmart's university partners, operating through Guild, include Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University Global, the University of Florida, Brandman University, Wilmington University and Bellevue University.

So far, more than 7,500 Walmart employees from all 50 states have enrolled in at least one of the programs, Walmart said.

“Live Better U is more than an education assistance program; it’s a strategy that creates opportunities to learn and apply learning at work,” Mary Hawkins, president of Bellevue University, a Guild partner, said in a written statement. “We’ve had incredibly active student participation by Walmart associates in our business cohort degree programs, and we’ve seen retention rates that are above our university average. It’s been a remarkable first year of the program, and we are excited to embark on year two as we expand our degree offerings to Walmart associates.”

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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