How to Get Amazon (and Other Retailers) to Pay Your College Tuition

Business

Lifehacker 10 September, 2021 - 01:30pm 120 views

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Amazon to pay employees' college tuition

4 News Now 10 September, 2021 - 06:00pm

The firm will also cover high school diplomas, GEDs and English as a Second Language certifications. And no, workers won't have to wait until they've finished a semester to get compensation. Amazon said it would pay tuition and other fees in advance, and would offer annual funds as long as people remain employees.

Staff will also have access to a trio of new "tuition-free" skill programs that will help train for positions in Amazon Web Services, IT support (such as Amazon Robotics) and user experience design. Not surprisingly, Amazon is using pay as an incentive — those on the IT track can make another $10,000 per year, the company claimed.

The incentives for Amazon are clear. This will help it not only recruit more workers for its office roles, but attract and retain workers who were either wary of working for Amazon or want assurances of upward career mobility once their schooling is done. Amazon might lose some of those tuition recipients to other companies, but that could be a small price to pay if it leads to more internal candidates and a more stable workforce.

This won't satisfy many of Amazon's critics. Politicians and labor rights activists have blasted Amazon over tough workplace quotas, constant employee monitoring and higher injury rates at automated facilities, among other issues. There are also allegations Amazon has interfered with unionization votes that could improve conditions and pay. Free education while you work is only useful so long as you're happy with the work itself, and this plan won't change much.

There's also the question of Amazon's outsized influence. The company said it was the "largest job creator" in the US, with 400,000 people having joined since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paid tuition could give Amazon influence much like that of the military, where people sometimes sign up to defray education costs. As welcome as many might find the gesture, it could give Amazon more clout in society than regulators might like.

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Amazon offers to pay college tuition for most US workers

CNN 10 September, 2021 - 06:00pm

Updated 11:00 AM ET, Thu September 9, 2021

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Amazon’s free US college tuition offer is worth only $5,250 a year

Quartz 10 September, 2021 - 11:53am

These are the core obsessions that drive our newsroom—defining topics of seismic importance to the global economy.

Our emails are made to shine in your inbox, with something fresh every morning, afternoon, and weekend.

Amazon announced on Sept. 9 that it will cover tuition costs for most of its employees. The retailer is the latest company to offer education-related perks as a bid to attract more workers in a historically tight market, but there is at least one major caveat: due to current federal regulations, they will only offer up to $5,250 a year.

Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said that the $1.2 billion investment seeks to build on the company’s Career Choice program, which previously covered some tuition costs and offered on-site classes. The company now wants to remove the “biggest barriers to education—time and money” by covering some costs of tuition, text books, and other fees for more than 750,000 operations employees throughout the US, starting in January.

The Amazon announcement follows similar moves by rivals like Walmart and Target, which both recently said they would provide tuition assistance to employees. With a record 10.9 million jobs currently open in the US, employers are struggling to attract and retain workers. College tuition assistance—in addition to perks such as signing bonuses and higher wages—may help alleviate that problem.

But how far do these education benefits go? For most college-going employees, they’ll likely not cover the entire bill for a four-year degree.

While Amazon’s offer is being billed as covering “full tuition,” employees will only receive up to $5,250 a year to cover education-related expenses. This is the maximum amount that companies can put toward their employees’ education each year without the employee being taxed under a federal program called Section 127.

Many other companies, including Disney and McDonald’s, also offer up to just $5,250 in education benefits due to this regulation.

As The Aspen Institute noted in its research on employer education assistance (pdf) last June, the $5,250 tax exclusion amount was enacted in 1986, when average US undergraduate tuition was just $2,312. Today annual in-state tuition at a public four-year institution in the US is $10,560, according to research by College Board (pdf), while out-of-state tuition averages around $27,020.

Some companies have gotten past the $5,250 reimbursement cap by partnering directly with certain institutions to cover a higher share of tuition. Starbucks, for example, covers 100% of tuition if their employees complete a first-time bachelor’s degree online through Arizona State University.

Amazon says it has put out a call for schools interested in partnering with the company to help employees earn bachelor’s degrees, but no further details are currently available.

The retailer has previously offered financial support for employees looking to earn certificates and associate degrees in high-demand industries such as aircraft mechanics, commercial driving, and nursing. Some 50,000 employees have taken advantage of these benefits since 2012.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and human resources at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school, notes that with Amazon’s notoriously high turnover rate, the number of employees who have benefited from the company’s education programs thus far is likely a tiny fraction of their workforce.

Amazon will only cover 50% of college costs for part-time workers. This may make the deal less sweet for students who don’t want to work full-time while completing their degree.

“The caveat to their program is that few people can use these programs…because it means you are going to school nights and weekends, which is hard,” Cappelli told Quartz. “About 2% can do it in typical companies. Here it’s going to be much less in part because if you don’t stay long, you can’t use them.”

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.

© 2021 Quartz Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amazon’s free US college tuition offer is worth only $5,250 a year

Forbes 10 September, 2021 - 11:53am

These are the core obsessions that drive our newsroom—defining topics of seismic importance to the global economy.

Our emails are made to shine in your inbox, with something fresh every morning, afternoon, and weekend.

Amazon announced on Sept. 9 that it will cover tuition costs for most of its employees. The retailer is the latest company to offer education-related perks as a bid to attract more workers in a historically tight market, but there is at least one major caveat: due to current federal regulations, they will only offer up to $5,250 a year.

Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said that the $1.2 billion investment seeks to build on the company’s Career Choice program, which previously covered some tuition costs and offered on-site classes. The company now wants to remove the “biggest barriers to education—time and money” by covering some costs of tuition, text books, and other fees for more than 750,000 operations employees throughout the US, starting in January.

The Amazon announcement follows similar moves by rivals like Walmart and Target, which both recently said they would provide tuition assistance to employees. With a record 10.9 million jobs currently open in the US, employers are struggling to attract and retain workers. College tuition assistance—in addition to perks such as signing bonuses and higher wages—may help alleviate that problem.

But how far do these education benefits go? For most college-going employees, they’ll likely not cover the entire bill for a four-year degree.

While Amazon’s offer is being billed as covering “full tuition,” employees will only receive up to $5,250 a year to cover education-related expenses. This is the maximum amount that companies can put toward their employees’ education each year without the employee being taxed under a federal program called Section 127.

Many other companies, including Disney and McDonald’s, also offer up to just $5,250 in education benefits due to this regulation.

As The Aspen Institute noted in its research on employer education assistance (pdf) last June, the $5,250 tax exclusion amount was enacted in 1986, when average US undergraduate tuition was just $2,312. Today annual in-state tuition at a public four-year institution in the US is $10,560, according to research by College Board (pdf), while out-of-state tuition averages around $27,020.

Some companies have gotten past the $5,250 reimbursement cap by partnering directly with certain institutions to cover a higher share of tuition. Starbucks, for example, covers 100% of tuition if their employees complete a first-time bachelor’s degree online through Arizona State University.

Amazon says it has put out a call for schools interested in partnering with the company to help employees earn bachelor’s degrees, but no further details are currently available.

The retailer has previously offered financial support for employees looking to earn certificates and associate degrees in high-demand industries such as aircraft mechanics, commercial driving, and nursing. Some 50,000 employees have taken advantage of these benefits since 2012.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and human resources at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school, notes that with Amazon’s notoriously high turnover rate, the number of employees who have benefited from the company’s education programs thus far is likely a tiny fraction of their workforce.

Amazon will only cover 50% of college costs for part-time workers. This may make the deal less sweet for students who don’t want to work full-time while completing their degree.

“The caveat to their program is that few people can use these programs…because it means you are going to school nights and weekends, which is hard,” Cappelli told Quartz. “About 2% can do it in typical companies. Here it’s going to be much less in part because if you don’t stay long, you can’t use them.”

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.

© 2021 Quartz Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amazon to spend $1.2 billion for employees to attend college

WSB Atlanta 10 September, 2021 - 07:28am

In a news release, the e-commerce giant said it will cover the cost of college tuition, fees and textbooks for its hourly employees as part of a $1.2 billion investment by 2025 in the company’s Career Choice program. The program will begin in January 2022, NBC News reported.

The program will be open to hourly employees in Amazon’s operations network after 90 days of employment, the company said in its release. That includes workers in warehouses and distribution centers.

Amazon also said it will cover the cost of high school diploma programs, GEDs and English as a second-language certification for employees.

Amazon says it will offer to pay 100% of college tuition for its 750,000 US hourly employees. https://t.co/rNhuAPMJLQ

“Amazon is now the largest job creator in the U.S., and we know that investing in free skills training for our teams can have a huge impact for hundreds of thousands of families across the country,” Dave Clark, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said in a statement. “We launched Career Choice almost 10 years ago to help remove the biggest barriers to continuing education -- time and money -- and we are now expanding it even further to pay full tuition and add several new fields of study.

”This new investment builds on years of experience supporting employees in growing their careers, including some unique initiatives like building more than 110 on-site classrooms for our employees in Amazon fulfillment centers across 37 states. Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.”

Amazon said it will pay the tuition and fees in advance, rather than offering reimbursement after an employee completes a course, the company said. Employees said the employees will have access to annual funds for as long as they remain at Amazon. There is no limit to how many years an employee can benefit.

Amazon’s announcement comes after other major employees, such as Walmart and Target, extended similar offers to their employees, Forbes reported. In July, Walmart announced it will pay 100% of college tuition and book costs for employees of Walmart and Sam’s Club, NBC News reported. The following month, Target unveiled a program that covered the cost of associate and undergraduate degrees at selected schools.

Amazon invests $1.2 billion to pay for 750,000 employees' education

UPI News 09 September, 2021 - 12:11pm

The retail giant will fund the 2022 initiative by investing $1.2 billion to expand its education and skills training benefits program by 2025.

Rather than offering reimbursement after coursework completion, Amazon will pay the fees in advance. The offer stands for those who have been working at the company for 90 days, including 400,000 employees who joined the company since the start of the pandemic.

"Through its popular Career Choice program, the company will fund full college tuition, as well as high school diplomas, GEDs and English as a Second Language proficiency certifications for its front-line employees -- including those who have been at the company for just three months," Amazon said in a press release.

Amazon is also launching three upskilling programs: Amazon Web Services Grow Our Own Talent, which will train employees to become data technicians; Surge2IT, which will help entry-level IT employees pursue higher-paying roles in the company; and the User Experience Design and Research Apprenticeship, which will help employees combine education and training to work on research and design teams.

In 2019, Amazon announced a $700 million commitment to train 100,000 employees by 2025 to help them transition to higher-paying jobs. It began offering nine programs. The three new programs will affect 300,000 employees, representing 30% of Amazon's workforce.

To handle a surge in demand during the pandemic of applicants interested in the programs, Amazon switched its training to virtual sessions. These include the Amazon Technical Academy, the Amazon Technical Apprenticeship, the AWS Training and Certifications, and Machine Learning University.

The move comes after other retail giants announced similar plans. Last month, Walmart said that it would cover the cost of college tuition for 1.5 million employees and Target announced that it would fund advanced degrees in 40 different institutions.

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