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Amazon Will Pay Employees’ Full College Tuition, But Which Colleges?

Amazon Will Pay Employees' Full College Tuition, But Which Colleges?
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Amazon on Thursday made headlines for introducing a new feature to US “front-line employees”, including warehouse workers: The e-commerce giant will pay full college tuition if they decide to earn a bachelor’s degree in certain fields.

However, the program contains one glaring omission – Amazon still determines which colleges are eligible for the program. In addition, it appears that Amazon will only pay up to a maximum of $5,250 annually to qualified workers, which is well below the annual tuition fees of many public and private universities.

The move comes as companies across the country are trying to attract more workers. But Amazon’s language about the feature arguably confuses the exact benefits for employees.

The company’s announcement currently notes that US employees “will be eligible for full college tuition at hundreds of education partners across the country.” But what constitutes an educational partner remains unclear, although current partners have included community colleges.

For now, Amazon tells PCMag that it is still working on building a full list of partners. The company plans to release the full list in January when the program begins.

Thursday update of the program’s Amazon website.

Amazon's Weird Language About Maximum Tuition Fee Payments.

Amazon’s Weird Language About Maximum Tuition Fee Payments.

The company’s announcement also states that it will “fully fund the total tuition fee” of eligible employees. However, Thursday’s update to Amazon’s website for the program notes that there is a cap of $5,250 on the amount of tuition the e-commerce giant will pay each year to an employee.

Amazon told PCMag it won’t exceed the $5,250 cap so the employee doesn’t have to pay taxes on educational assistance. The money can be used for anything, including books and other fees. But it appears that education will be limited to select areas, such as information technology, healthcare, and transportation.

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The feature comes on top of Amazon’s current effort to fund training, including associate’s education, for warehouse workers. “Today, more than 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and have seen firsthand how it can change their lives,” says Amazon.

More than 750,000 employees, including full-time and part-time workers, in the US can try out the program as soon as it begins in January. People only need to work for three months to become eligible.

The company added, “In addition to funding associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, Amazon’s Career Choice will also fund high school completion, GEDs, and certificates of proficiency in English as a second language.”

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