Walmart is eliminating student loans for employees with an investment of $1 billion
[July 27, 2021: Josh Shavit]
Walmart, the largest private employer with a total of around 1.5 million full and part-time workers, will assist employees by paying their college tuition and books with an investment of $1 billion.
Currently, close to 52,000 employees have participated in their program LBU (Live Better U), whose purpose is to prepare workers for whatever career they choose to take in the future. Around 8,000 people have graduated since LBU’s establishment in 2018. Some participating schools are Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, Pathstream, Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, and Voxy EnGen.
Walmart is also dropping their $1 daily fee for associates at Walmart and Sam’s Club who are part of LBU in hopes of encouraging more to “pursue further education”.
The $1 program ends effective Aug. 16. Since Live Better U was first offered in 2018, the retailer said 52,000 employees have taken part with 8,000 graduations. Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of learning and advancement at Walmart, said 28,000 employees are actively enrolled in the program this summer. She said there are no plans to reimburse the 8,000 participants who did pay the $1 per day for the benefit.
In addition, Walmart is providing workers living on the East and West coast a raise to help accommodate the higher cost of living. This was in response to Walmart employees living below the poverty line and having smaller wages than rivaling brands such as Target, Kroger, and Amazon.
“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 families,” Stomski said during a Tuesday (July 27) press conference. “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.”
All of these moves are to help the higher demand for jobs due to the economy opening up as well as stores gaining larger capacities.
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