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Walmart announces college tuition perk, relaxed dress code

By Sara Shayanian
Walmart announces college tuition perk, relaxed dress code
Walmart unveiled a new employee perk Wednesday -- a college credit program in which the company will subsidize the cost of higher education for its associates. File photo by Ken Wolter/UPI

May 30 (UPI) -- Walmart announced new perks for employees Wednesday -- subsidized college tuition and a relaxed dress code.

In a partnership with Guild Education, an education benefits firm, the retail giant said in a statement that employees can begin enrolling Wednesday. They can obtain degrees through the University of Florida, California's Brandman University or Nebraska's Bellevue University.

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Under the program, workers pay $1 per day in pursuit of a degree. Walmart said it will subsidize the cost of tuition, books and fees, eliminating the need for student loan debt.

"I'd tried to go back about a year ago, but the program I was following just wasn't easy for someone working full time," Carl Beckman, a store planning project manager in Michigan, said. "I knew what I needed to do and how to do it. I felt very supported."

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Employees will receive coaching for application, enrollment and choosing a degree.

"Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart's future success," Walmart CEO Greg Foran said. "We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers."

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Walmart also announced a new dress code Wednesday that allows workers to wear denim and shirts of any color. Also, managers can wear athletic shoes.

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"Letting people bring their whole selves to work just makes good sense for the business, for our people -- and for fashion," Walmart Senior Vice President Karisa Sprague said.

Earlier this year, the retailer hiked its starting wage for U.S. employees to $11 per hour, while expanding maternity and parental leave.

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