Walmart to Cover 100% of College Tuition and Books for Employees

America’s largest retailer announced a plan to pay for full college tuition and book fees for both its part-time and full-time employees.

In an effort to reduce the growing, nationwide student loan debts, Walmart announced that it will pay 100% of college tuition and book fees at some schools for its U.S. workers, starting Aug. 16. The country’s largest private employer will eliminate its existing $1-per-day fee for employees who participate in the Live Better U education program. Walmart also hopes to make its benefits more appealing to attract and retain talent in the current tight job market.

The program includes 10 academic partners, such as the University of Arizona and Southern New Hampshire University. To be eligible, participants must remain part-time or full-time employees. Around 28,000 workers currently participate in the program, which Walmart first launched in 2018. 

“We feel that eliminating the dollar a day investment removes the financial barriers to enrollment, and it will increase access,” Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart, said on a call with reporters. Employees who have participated in the program are twice as likely to get promoted and are retained at a “significantly higher rate” than other workers, Stomski said.

With the new plan, Walmart intends to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career training and development for employees.