At public 4-year institutions, average tuition and fees were $9,400 in 2020–21, about 10% higher than they were in 2010–11 ($8,500), according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At that price tag, it’s no wonder cost remains a primary barrier for many Americans who want to pursue a college degree. When we partnered with Guild to design Live Better U (LBU), Walmart's education benefits program, we believed we could increase access by tackling cost.
Since launching the LBU program in 2018, our associates have saved an estimated $333 million* in tuition costs. Those savings have accelerated following our announcement last year that Walmart would pay 100% of college tuition, books and fees for associates. Since removing all cost barriers, we’ve witnessed a 66% increase in enrollment.
But most importantly, beyond the dollars saved, more than 89,000 associates have participated in LBU, and more than 15,000 have completed a degree or program, over the past four years. Associates in our stores, clubs and supply chain facilities are leveraging those degrees to build their careers.
An associate since 2016, Benny Ojeda was most recently a licensed optician in one of our stores in Everett, Washington. After completing a degree in cybersecurity from Bellevue University, he’s now a cybersecurity engineer working in our Sunnyvale, California office.
Benny immigrated to the United States seeking opportunity and found it while working at Walmart through LBU. “This is my American dream: coming to America, going to college and getting a degree in technology so I can work in cybersecurity,” Benny said. “I’m living my American dream.”
His experience is representative of thousands of associates who are pursuing degrees and moving into new careers.
LBU is a key ingredient in Walmart’s culture of opportunity and our broader workforce strategy to attract, retain and grow talent. Approximately 1.5 million U.S. part- and full-time associates are eligible for LBU on their first day of work at Walmart or Sam’s Club. If you’re a Walmart associate and you’ve ever thought about broadening your horizons with LBU, now is the time.
*Based on the fair market value cost per credit hour at our education partner institutions and total credit hours completed as of Sept. 8, 2022.