Walmart announced recently that it will pay 100% tuition and book fees for its employees through the Live Better U (LBU) education initiative. The largest private employer in the United States has committed to inject about $1 billion over the next half decade in programs aimed at fostering career-driven training and development. Similarly, Walmart considers this as a positive move in its pledge to help decrease the ever-increasing national student debt.
The program is expected to start on August 16, targeting the over 1.5 employees on Walmart’s payroll. The retail giant will use the LBU program as an opportunity to drop the current $1 per day fee for interested associates. The move will see both part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates residing in the United States learning trade skills or earning college degrees without the stress of accumulating heavy student loans.
Similarly, Walmart seeks to add the University of Arizona, Jonson & Wales University, and the University of Denver and Pathstream as the new academic partners under the LBU initiative. The four will complement the Purdue University Global, Penn Foster University, Southern New Hampshire University, Brandman University, Voxy EnGen and Wilmington University as the existing academic partners. The retailer chose these academic institutions for the great histories they hold in working with adult students, their focus on degree completion and working student initiatives.
Walmart has enrolled over 50,000 associates in trade skill and college training opportunities since 2018 when the retailer launched the LBU program. To date, over 8,000 associates have already graduated. The retailer indicated that about 28,000 associates actively participated in the LBU program this summer.