Feb. 13, 2020
By Julie Murphy, executive vice president of People, Walmart U.S.
Less than two years ago, we started our partnership with Guild Education to offer Walmart associates a path to a debt-free college degree through our Live Better U initiative.
This is an exciting time, because this month, we have our first group of more than 30 pioneering associates earning either associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. And this is just the beginning. With more than 12,000 of our associates currently pursuing degrees, we’ll be celebrating graduates every month from now on.
One of our first Live Better U graduates, Amanda Nelson, recently expressed how frustrating the costs of college can be. In 2011, she earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from a private university, for which she’s still making payments more than nine years later.
Amanda is a people lead at a store in Oklahoma City who just received her bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership from Bellevue University – and it’s already paid for. Her degree is relevant to her job, so she’s able to use the things she has learned every day.
This low-cost education program removes the barriers that often stop people from getting a degree. Barriers such as cost, time and degree relevancy lead to low completion rates among adult learners. When we studied the best ways to build a college access program, it became clear that many models are not designed with the realities of the working learner in mind. Reimbursement models, for example, frontload student costs.
We’re committed to making Walmart a place of opportunity. That means giving people a good, steady job that could turn into a career. We also believe opportunity can mean more. These graduations are an important achievement in these associates’ lives. Their education is a launching pad for them to succeed in their jobs today and to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.
Congratulations to Amanda and this first group of Live Better U graduates. We’re proud to offer the opportunity to earn a college degree for just $1 a day but even more proud of our associates who are taking the opportunity to make themselves and Walmart better.