Retail & Consumer

Walmart to pay college, book costs for full and part-time staff

2 minute read

The exterior of a Walmart department store pictured in West Haven, Connecticut, U.S., February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

NEW YORK, July 27 (Reuters) - Walmart Inc (WMT.N) on Tuesday said it will pay the full cost of college tuition and books for its roughly 1.5 million full and part-time employees, effective Aug. 16.

The largest private U.S. employer said it will drop the current $1 a day fee paid by associates at Walmart and its subsidiary Sam's Club.

Consumer demand is soaring as the U.S. economy reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic, deepening a national labor crunch. Employers are adding benefits and boosting wages as they struggle to find and keep enough workers, particularly in retail and restaurants.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Walmart has been criticized for years because thousands of its workers are below the poverty line, and it has also been rapped for paying less than rivals including, Kroger and Target.

In February, Walmart said it would raise average pay for U.S. hourly workers to at least $15.25 an hour.

Then in March, the world’s biggest retailer said it would further boost pay for its hourly workers on the U.S. east and west coasts, where the cost of living is higher and competition for labor among retailers more intense. read more

Nearly 28,000 employees have been active in Walmart's educational programs this summer alone and 8,000 have graduated since it began in 2018 to offer college degrees, skills training and other certificate programs, the company said.

The company also said Tuesday its educational offerings are tied to its growth areas, and that it will add programs in business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Reporting by Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Franklin Paul and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters