Aramark serves up free tuition benefit

Aramark is giving its 130,000 hourly employees access to free college tuition.

The food service, uniform and facility giant’s efforts are part of a $90 million investment made earlier this year in wage and benefit increases and additional training and development. Eligible employees can apply for the tuition program beginning in October with enrollment for the spring 2020 semester.

“Our mission to enrich and nourish lives means we have a responsibility to help our employees achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives,” says Eric Foss, Aramark’s president and CEO in a statement. “Education is key to making that happen, and we are proud to provide this learning pathway to our dedicated frontline team members who want to advance their education and grow their careers.”

See also: War for workers sets off emerging benefit trend: Free college tuition

More than half of employers offer some kind of tuition assistance, according to the most recent data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Starbucks began offering the benefit to workers in 2014, and others have since followed suit. Disney, Discover Bright Horizons and Walmart also offer a variation of the benefit.

College.Graduate.Bloomberg.6.20.19.jpg
New graduates walk with the processional into the chapel before their commencement at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., U.S., on Sunday, June 2, 2013. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Walmart extended its benefit to high schoolers in June. High school students will be able to earn college credit and will have access to free ACT and SAT prep courses through the nation’s largest private employer, along with the practically free college tuition. The company also added 14 new technology degrees and certifications as part of its degree program. Walmart’s benefit is provided through Guild Education, which provides tuition reimbursement and education offerings to employers.

See also: Walmart woos high-school talent pool with SAT prep, college tuition perks

Aramark’s program is offered through InStride, a provider which works with employers to organize degree and credential programs workers. InStride launched in April and has partnered with Arizona State University, which offers more than 175 degrees. Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride, says the company is excited to offer the benefit to Aramark employees.

“Aramark and its leadership team recognize the tremendous impact of providing their employees an opportunity to advance their education,” he says.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.