Walmart announced that it will be investing nearly $1 billion to cover the full cost of college tuition and books for its employees. The retailer began offering free tuition through its Live Better U education program in 2018 but charged employees $1 per day.
Walmart said it is dropping the fee and increasing the options for employees who wish to seek a degree.
"This investment is another way we can support our associates to pursue their passion and purpose while removing the barriers that too often keep adult working learners from obtaining degrees," Lorraine Stomski, Walmart senior vice president of learning and leadership, said in a statement.
Walmart has expanded the program from four schools to ten and will offer a variety of degrees, including business administration and cybersecurity.
The participating schools 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
Over 52,000 associates have enrolled in the program since 2018, and 8,000 have already graduated. Walmart said that it expects 1.5 million employees to earn a college degree or a trade skill.
"We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their family," Stomski said.