It’s no secret that paying for college can be a bit of a drag. If you aren’t financially well off or you didn’t spend years upon years saving up to cover the cost, then you more than likely will have to get assistance. Scholarships, banks loans and financial aid are all good options to consider. However, some people just don’t quite make the mark for scholarships or financial aid and student debt can haunt you well after you have left college. So are there any other ways to pay for your education? Well there are some restaurant chains which have began using tuition benefits to attract hourly employees. These perks help with retention and increases company loyalty and employee morale. Starbucks was one of the first to offer tuition assistance to its hourly employees and many others followed suit. Here are 10 fast food restaurants that have taken these steps.
Based in Seattle, this coffee chain offers full tuition for Arizona State University’s online program. Hourly employees are then able to earn a bachelor’s degree and at the end of each semester, Starbucks reimbursed its employees tuition costs. Eligibility depends on hours worked (an average of 20 hours a week) and is available from the first day of work. According to the company, more than 10,000 employees are currently participating in the program.
McDonald’s also has it’s own version of tuition assistance with its Archways to Opportunity program. Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, plans were put in place to increase its funding by $150 million over five years. Not only does the benefit increase from $700 per year to $2,500 per year but eligibility requirements have been eased. Employee s no longer have to wait nine months to be eligible but 90 days instead and weekly shift minimums have decreased from 20 hours to 15 hours. This is sure to please its almost 400,000 US employees.
3. Taco Bell
Taco Bell provides access to tuition discounts for more than 200,000 team members through Guild Education. Employees are privy to the Guild's academic and financial aid coaches and discounts to Guild's education partners. This some 80 online non-profit universities and learning providers offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, programs such as high school completion and English-as-a-second-language, and a variety of certificates. As an added bonus, team members at some franchises are eligible to receive up to $5,250 annually in tuition assistance.
4. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Another fast food restaurant joining the “tuition assistance train” is Chipotle. Known for its Mission-style burritos, Chipotle reimbursed employees’ tuition up to the limit set by IRS ($5,250). Employees are able to choose from any accredited two- or four-year institution or from a technology or vocational school. Though hourly crew members must wait at least a year, salaried employees and hourly managers are eligible straight away. Another perk includes up to 38 college credits being offered by Chipotle through on-the-job training, helping to reduce overall credits for a bachelor’s degree.
5. Pizza Hut
With its “Life Unboxed EDU” tuition reimbursement program, Pizza Hut provides tuition discounts to several online programs through Excelsior College. All Pizza Hut employees and their immediate family are eligible but employees must have worked with the chain for 60 days before qualifying. The program offers 50 per cent off undergraduate tuition and 15 percent off graduate programs for its employees.
6. Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC hourly team members must have six months of service under their belt before become eligible for the REACH Educational Grant Program. This program takes the form of a grant, meaning employees will not have to repay any of the $2,000 to $2,500 offered. Team members can choose to pursue a degree at
either a two- year or four-year college.
With more than 120,009 team members gaining access to tuition discounts of up to 30 percent at approximately 100 participating colleges and universities, Chick-fil-A joins our list. The tuition discount varies with employees enrolled at Pennsylvania State University-World Campus receiving just 5 percent discount while those enrolled in an online degree program at California Baptist University receive 30 percent discount.
8. White Castle
The hamburger chain, White Castle, offers 10 percent tuition discount to employees enrolled in a degree offered by Indiana Wesleyan University-National and Global. There are many degrees employees can choose from-either online or at one of the fifteen on-site education centres in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Degrees can either be at the associate, bachelor’s or master’s level but some programs, like the nurse practitioner program are excluded.
9. Marco & Pizza
If you have worked for Marco's Pizza for 30 days or more and are pursuing an online degree through Bellevue University, you are eligible to receive up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement per year. Marco’s was founded in Toledo, Ohio and began offering educational perks in 2017 to all its employees.
Hourly employees at Sheetz, a mid-Atlantic, family-owned chain which sells fast food at its convenience stores, are entitled to receive up to $1,500 per year in tuition reimbursement. Employees just need to work an average of 16 hours per week and be actively employed for 90 days or more before the start of the current term. Degrees can either be associate, bachelor’s or graduate level.