- Since introducing a free tuition benefit to its employees last year, Meijer announced Tuesday that enrollment in its education benefits programs have “more than doubled.”
- Eligibility for such benefits begins on the date of hire for all associates, the company said. Those benefits include free tuition at five partner schools with 40 eligible fields of study, including marketing, computer science and criminal justice; tuition reimbursement for programs that are not part of the partner program; and scholarship opportunities that can be used in conjunction with the tuition reimbursement benefit.
- "We care about the communities we serve and that ultimately begins with our team members," Keith Morrison, vice president of total rewards for Meijer, said in a statement. "We believe our education benefits provide substantial value to our team members not only because they promote success, but they also remove financial and technological roadblocks that many of them previously faced.
Thinking on education benefits has evolved in recent years, experts previously told HR Dive. Even full reimbursement programs have begun to shift into the “free tuition” style, marked by partner universities directly billing the employers instead, as in Meijer’s model.
Big name retailers and manufacturers, in particular, have joined the free tuition benefit trend or have begun to expand on current offerings. Walmart recently expanded its Live Better U education program to Canada, for example, and companies like Lowe’s, Tyson and Target all have begun offering free tuition benefits since 2020.
The trend is part of a push toward “continuous learning” as a cultural imperative, one expert previously told HR Dive. Workers across industries want access to development opportunities and increasingly expect their employers to offer as much.
That said, a majority of workers said they do not have access to promotions or training opportunities, a June report showed — especially those in retail.