Student loan debt is a big problem in the U.S—and probably one we won't be shaking anytime soon. Students who 2016 owe, on average, $37,172—each contributing to the $1.3 trillion total of student loan debt in the country. For people who plan on getting degrees and hoping to avoid dealing with student loans for the rest of their lives, those numbers are scary, Especially when some graduates starting salaries are lower than that $37,172 average. But fear not, college students—all hope is not lost. If you're willing to work extra hard, you may be in luck. Check out the 10 companies we found that will help their student-employees pay their way through college.
They're good for more than burritos. Chipotle offers educational assistance to both part and full-time employees. The company offers up to $5,250 each year to their employees for tuition, books, and fees. If you're ready to hit the apply button, keep in mind crew cashier and takeout specialists have to work for at least one year before they're eligible for any benefits (sorry, seniors), while hourly managers and salaried employees can apply for aid now. Chipotle also has a program that allows employees to earn a a certain amount of credit hours for each promotion they receive—up to 44 credit hours, to be exact. So hit the books—or the burritos—and put your money worries aside, at least until the lunch rush is over.
Smuckers has been in business since 1897, and it looks like they have a pretty developed company culture to show for it. Their benefits are pretty impressive—among other things, they offer scholarship programs for children of employees, will match your contributions of your 401k up to 6% of your paycheck, and offer a holiday bonus of 2% of employee base pay. As for tuition, Smuckers offers up to 100% reimbursement on tuition for any course they approve. No word on what those courses might be (Peanut Economics?), but we figure it's worth looking into.
Much like Smuckers, Chevron also offers tuition reimbursement of up to 75% for "approved external training and educational pursuits." The approved additional training depends on your position, so if you have already received your degree and are looking to buff up on those engineering or marketing skills, we suggest talking to your manager ASAP.
Before you sign up for a private loan, check out what the Silicon Valley startup turned billion-dollar tech empire is offering. Depending on your position, Apple might offer a student employee around $5,000 toward related classes. As long as you are at least a part-time employee and capable of maintaining a C or higher, Apple is willing to invest in your future.
Disney isn't called the happiest place on earth for no reason—it looks like they might just have the happiest employees, too. According to their website, "Education reimbursement is available to most full-time employees and covers some or all education costs, depending on where the employee attends school." The courses available for reimbursement depend on your position—a resort manager would probably be eligible for hospitality courses, while a performer might be able to take some fine arts courses. Overall, it's a pretty magical arrangement.
6. Best Buy
Best Buy has both their undergraduate and graduate employees covered. As long as you work at least 32 hours a week, have been with the company for at least six months before the course start date, and are in good standing, Best Buy offers up to $3,500 for undergraduate courses and $5,250 for graduate classes. The reimbursement can go toward university courses, textbooks, and other fees. Also, Best Buy offers pretty stellar discounts on merchandise for employees, so if you're saving up for college and a computer, they're worth checking out.
UPS's tuition assistance program has been kicking since 1999, so it seems like they have a good idea of how to do it. In 2010, they provided more than $24 million in tuition support to around 14,000 students. Historically, those numbers increase as the years go on, so we're thinking UPS is even more generous now than they were before. All you have to do to be eligible is be a full-time non-union employee, a part-time management employee, or a part-time union employee.
Starbucks has been splashed across the news for a ton of amazing initiatives recently, including their plan to hire 10,000 refugees within the next five years. The company takes care of their own, refugees, veterans and—yes, college students—alike. If sunny Arizona looks good to you, you're in luck, because Starbucks is offering part-time and full-time employees the opportunity for discounted tuition their first two years at Arizona State University, and free tuition for the remaining two. Get ready to pack your sunglasses—er, books. We meant textbooks.
They're mobilizing your world—and making your tuition cheaper, too. Full-time employees are available for tuition reimbursement of up to $3,500 per calendar year as long as they have completed 12 months of net credited service and are working toward a degree that is mutually beneficial for the employee and company. AT&T will also pay one sum of $20,000 for an undergraduate degree or $25,000 for a graduate degree so long as the expenses are deemed eligible by the company.
10. Bank of America
A bank handing you free money with no strings attached? Yes, please! There are some hoops, of course—you have to be employed for six months prior to the course starting, the class or degree has to be relevant to your job with the bank, you must receive management approval, etc. Once you do those things, you're eligible for up to $5,250.
Paying for college can be a burden, but you can lighten the load if you're careful about who you decide to work for. When you're applying for jobs, make sure you do some research—a lot of companies offer benefits like tuition reimbursement, but if you don't ask, you won't get it. They might not all be offering free tuition, but when it comes to paying for college, every dollar really does count.