This Major Retailer Will Cover Employee Tuition and College Costs to Attract More Workers

by Natasha Gabrielle | Published on Sept. 6, 2021

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College students working on coursework

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Target will pay for school and tuition costs for all part-time and full-time workers in the U.S. beginning this fall.

In an effort to attract and keep workers amid the pandemic, some companies have increased their wages and offered additional perks. Target began offering $15 per hour to U.S. employees during the second half of 2020. Now, the retailer is offering additional measures to attract and retain workers. Keep reading to find out more.

Target's debt-free educational program

Target wants to make it easier for its 340,000 U.S. employees to pursue their educational goals. Beginning this fall, workers will be able to take advantage of tuition-free assistance. This perk is available to both part-time and full-time workers. Over the next four years, Target will be investing $200 million to fund its debt-free education program.

Target has been developing its own program through the upskilling platform Guild Education. Employees will be able to pursue select undergraduate and associate degrees, certificates, and bootcamp programs. Support will also cover the cost of textbooks and course fees with no out-of-pocket costs to workers. Workers can begin their educational goals or continue them without having to worry about personal finances. Since so many people across the country put off pursuing education because of their financial situation, this kind of program is a big deal.

Here's what to expect

Through Guild Education, Target employees will have access to more than 250 business-aligned programs made available from over 40 schools, colleges, and universities. Classes will be available both online and in person, and there will be no out-of-pocket costs.

Here's a look at some of the included institutions:

  • University of Arizona
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Denver
  • Morehouse College
  • Paul Quinn College

Workers can also pursue educational opportunities outside of the programs offered through Guild Education. The retailer will provide direct payments to institutions, so workers don't have to worry about any upfront costs. Target will pay up to $5,250 for non-master's degrees and up to $10,000 for master's degrees each year. Target will also cover the smaller costs associated with continued learning, like textbook costs and course fees.

This tuition-free program will likely attract new workers and help to retain current employees. It'll be interesting to see if other retailers step up and offer to cover the cost of education for their workers.

Tips to prioritize education without going into debt

It's no secret that the cost of education can be high. If you want to get a degree or are looking to further your education but are nervous about the financial impact, here are some ideas that you can explore to make the cost of college less detrimental to your bank account:

  • Open a high-yield savings account and start a college savings fund.
  • Start by going to school on a part-time basis to better balance work and school goals.
  • Enroll in a local community college or state school for lower tuition costs.
  • Work for a company that covers some or all educational costs.
  • Consider non-traditional educational opportunities like online courses and free online college programs to enhance your skills without the high cost of continuing education.
  • Get a side hustle while going to school full-time to help cover the cost of additional school expenses like course materials and books.

Your path to education doesn't have to look the same as those around you. There's more than one way to pursue education. Choose whatever option works best for your interest, goals, and financial means.

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