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Discover employees have just received a new benefit: a free college degree. The financial services company recently announced its new program, The Discover College Commitment, enabling full-time and part-time U.S. employees (minimum 30 hours per week) to obtain a college degree by helping them pay for college.
Discover will cover full employee costs for books, fees, supplies, and tuition for the program. Workers are eligible for it beginning on the first day of employment and can complete their degrees on their own timeline.
Around 99 percent of Discover’s 16,500 employees will qualify with some potential appeal coming from its 7,000-plus U.S. call center workers: 70 percent don’t have a college degree, CBS News reported.
Workers can pick one of seven business or computer science degrees from three selected online universities. The degrees will include four business majors or a computer science, cybersecurity and organizational management emphasis through Brandman University, the University of Florida (via UF Online), or Wilmington University.
But there’s more to the benefit as it is also about Discover’s employee retention. The company said it has a two-fold motivation behind this perk: helping to recruit and retain good employees and “doing the right thing” by preparing workers for a broad spectrum of internal or external career opportunities.
To administer the program, Discover is partnering with Guild Education, an online education and tuition reimbursement platform that assists large employers with education benefits. Guild will offer coaching to Discover workers by assisting them through the application process and helping them determine a suitable degree.
If Guild sounds familiar, it might be from Walmart’s May employee education announcement. Guild is undertaking a similar role for the large retailer. This comes as offering education benefits to employees has been rising as the competition to obtain good workers is increasing.
More Companies Offering Education Benefits
In 2018, numerous companies have expanded tuition benefits. Besides Walmart, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and some hotel chains have joined the party, reported CNN. Also this year, Lowe’s announced a contribution of up to $2,500 for employees to receive skilled trade education while Lyft began offering education discounts to its drivers last December.
This trend comes as a recent Harvard Business School study found that tuition assistance benefits rank high on workers’ desired benefits, surpassing child-care assistance and parental leave. Many companies offer up to $5,250 annually; anything higher can be taxed as income.
Author: Debbie Baratz
Debbie Baratz has written about topics including personal finance, financial markets, and banking. And as a media relations professional, she spent 10+ years working at not-for-profit, private, and publicly-traded financial institutions. When Debbie isn’t working, she can be found working out, reading, or traveling.