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Target joins Walmart in offering to pay for workers’ college tuition, books

Target
Posted at 1:45 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 16:48:33-04

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Target announced Wednesday that it’s launching a debt-free education assistance program to help its 340,000 part-time and full-time front-line workers pay for schooling.

Beginning in the fall, Target says workers at its stores, distribution centers, and headquarters in the U.S. will be eligible for debt-free assistance for select undergraduate degrees, certificates, certifications, free textbooks, and more no out-of-pocket costs on their first day of work.

The company says it will support team members who are taking courses for high school completion, college prep, English language learning, and select certificates, certifications, boot camps, associate and undergraduate degrees.

Target says these workers can attend classes at more than 40 schools, colleges, and universities, choosing from 250 business-aligned programs from business management and operations to IT, computer science, design, and more.

Academic institutions include the University of Arizona, Oregon State University, University of Denver, and eCornell along with HBCUs Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College.

“Team members who opt into this program won’t have any out-of-pocket costs and will have flexibility to find opportunities that fit with their interests, schedules, and career goals,” Target said.

For workers pursuing educational opportunities outside of the select business-aligned programs within the Guild network of schools, Target says it will provide direct payments to their academic institution of up to $5,250 for non-master's degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year to reduce the burden of up-front, costly tuition payments.

As for educational supplies and other out-of-pocket expenses, Target says it will cover those for workers in the program.

Target says it will invest 200 million over the next four years in the program, which it has been developing with the education and upskilling platform Guild Education.

“Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career. A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone,” said Target’s chief human resources officer, Melissa Kremer, in a statement.

The announcement of Target’s debt-free education assistance program comes just a week after competitor Walmart said it would soon begin paying 100% tuition and book fees for its employees taking courses at a handful of schools.