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Walmart offers free higher education to its 1.5 million employees

Walmart has launched a programme to fund education for its US employees.

It is open to 1.5 million people to take advantage of.  In addition to tuition fees, the company will offer students free books.  A set of textbooks per person may cost more than a thousand dollars.

The retail giant is looking to invest almost a billion dollars in the education programme over the next five years.  The campaign will be part of Walmart's "Live Better U" initiative, now in its third year.  During this time, 52,000 employees have participated in it, 6.5% of whom have obtained higher education through this initiative.  A student had to pay $1 per study day under the programme.  Indeed, this is nothing compared to the full cost of higher education in America (between 10 and 70 thousand dollars for a three-year bachelor's degree).  Now just under 30,000 people participate in the programme, which is 2% of the company's entire employee pool.

Experts attribute such generosity of the company to competent employer branding. For example, Walmart pays its "rank-and-file" employees only $11 per hour, compared to Amazon or Target who pay at least $15 per hour.  Nevertheless, Walmart's investment in educational programmes may provide Walmart with a workforce that has turned down offers from companies that don't provide employees with education.

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