Wal-Mart’s Cutting-Edge Job Benefit: College!

Barry Lenson

Last week Wal-Mart announced that it will offer 15% tuition assistance to as many as 1.4 million workers. Here are the outlines of the plan:

  • To get the tuition assistance, employees have to work full-time for one year, or part time for three.
  • They need positive job reviews.
  • They need to enroll in American Public University, an online university that offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
  • Wal-Mart and APU will allow some employees to receive college credit for what they have learned on the job.

Offering college assistance to employees and their children is not a new idea. But Wal-Mart has taken the idea to a whole new level, by helping more than one million employees go to college. Seen from that perspective, Wal-Mart’s plan could be one of the biggest events in the history of American higher education.

We look forward to the day when tuition assistance is part of the standard benefits package at American employers. Why shouldn’t every employee be asked, “Would you like to enroll in the dental plan, the medical plan, and college?”

If you’re an employer, it’s an idea worth considering. Offering online college courses, like those offered by StraighterLine, would be certain to boost employee satisfaction and retention. With college costs soaring higher and higher, it is an idea whose time has come.

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