Surprising fast-food jobs that pay for college
In order to attract more workers in an increasingly competitive workforce, an increasing number of companies are beginning to offer programs to help cover the ever-rising cost of college tuition for their employees. While most don’t offer full tuition coverage, many of the programs can provide a not-insignificant amount of aid for even their hourly employees to work towards higher education. There are the company names we all know and love, of course, that have been making news headlines for years about the college assistance programs they offer to their hourly workers; but there are a few surprising companies that have joined the ranks as well, that we might not think of right away.
Pumpkin Spice and everything nice about fall seems to come stock with Starbucks, making the start of the school year a much less stressful time for its employees. The international coffee chain was, of course, one of the first to gain fame for its college-funding program, and remains one of the most well-known companies to offer such tuition aid, advertising it to all potential new workers. And with good reason; the Seattle-based company offers not just assistance with tuition, but full tuition coverage for its employees through Arizona State University’s online program. If you work for Starbucks, all you have to do to qualify is work an average of at least 20 hours per week, and you can get your tuition costs reimbursed at the end of each semester. There isn’t even a waiting period — employees are eligible for the program on day one. College sounds a lot more affordable with programs like this.
Whether we admit to it or not, we’re all in love with the delicious chicken recipes from this national chain in some way, shape or form. Maybe it’s the way all their employees treat you like you’re their friend when you go to order your nuggets and fries. Regardless, now we can fall in love with something else the company offers: tuition discounts for their team members. There are around 100 universities and colleges that have partnered with the national chicken giant to offer tuition discounts for their hourly employees, and some of the numbers get pretty big. While students attending Pennsylvania State University World Campus, for example, get a tuition discount of about 5%, students who enroll in an online program through California Baptist University (which is ranked 42nd out of all online bachelor’s programs) can get a tuition discount of up to 30%.
You can do more than order a personalized pizza from this company; try ordering a whole college education. There is a wait time that employees have to get through before this benefit kicks in (60 days — not the longest waiting period a company has instituted, by far), but the benefit is extended, not only to Pizza Hut employees but also to their immediate family members. The “Life Unboxed EDU” program falls under the tuition reimbursement category, and also offers tuition discounts when employees go through online programs through Excelsior College (for graduate students, a 15% discount, and up to 50% tuition for undergraduates). You can pick and choose your toppings for your pizza and for your higher education here.
As the famous jingle goes, “I’m Lovin’ it”…and so are all the employees who can get a major leg up on their college education. The home of the golden arches has recently increased accessibility to their college assistance program (known as the “Archways to Opportunity” program) for their employees. The wait time for employees to be eligible has dropped from 9 months to a mere 90 days, and the weekly shift requirements for hourly workers have also dropped, from 20 to 15 hours.
While the monetary amount of assistance might not be as much as other companies (a spokesperson stated that the benefit would be increased to $2,500 per year per crew member), it’s still a step in the right direction and can make a big difference to employees trying to further their education. And the benefit isn’t limited to college education, either; employees can put their education assistance towards things like high-school completion or learning English as a second language.
The national chain offers more than delicious burritos for its employees; it also offers tuition assistance. If you’re an hourly crew member and you’ve worked for the company for at least a year, you can apply for reimbursement from accredited 2- and 4-year universities, or from vocational or technical schools (managers and salaried employees are not restricted by the year-long qualifying wait — they are eligible immediately). In addition to offering reimbursement for tuition for classes taken at university, the company also offers on-the-job training opportunities that can qualify for up to 38 college credits. That can really help out students when they’re chugging through the seemingly endless credit requirements of undergrad. Tuition reimbursement is limited by the IRS standard of up to $5,250 per year, but that’s still a significant dent in the overall costs of college.
There are a lot of other companies doing their part to make sure their employees have a fair shot of continuing their education. If you’re looking for a job with a program like this, you should make sure to do your research beforehand; you have a lot of paths open to you for jobs that can help widen your higher education options.