Employers encourage college dreams with benefit programs

By Hunter Lacey

Fast-food companies and other employers are investing in employees’ education dreams by helping cover some of the costs of college.

If you are considering enrolling in a degree program, these five employers can provide a source of income and possibly extra funds for college.

1. Chipotle Mexican Grill

The “fast-casual” restaurant will extend benefits, such as paid sick leave, paid vacation and tuition reimbursement, to hourly employees, as of July 2015. “We work very hard to attract and retain the very best people and are always open to opportunities to improve upon the benefits and incentives we offer to help us do that,” Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s communications director, said via email.

2. Apple

The tech giant’s benefits include tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 and benefits for even part-time workers, according to Glassdoor.com. Don’t forget the 25 percent employee discount on iPod, iPad and computers, which can cut the costs of supplies when you go back to school.

3. Starbucks

As of April 2015, the Seattle-based coffee chain’s Starbucks College Achievement Plan offers 100 percent coverage for eligible employees in partnership with Arizona State University’s online degree program. This benefit applies to part-time and full-time workers.

4. UPS

The world’s largest package delivery company offers tuition assistance benefits to full-time non-union employees, part-time management employees and part-time union employees. UPS also provides opportunities to pursue online undergraduate degrees from Thomas Edison State College.

5. AT&T

Full-time employees for the telecommunications provider are offered up to $5,250 annually to offset education costs. According to AT&T, employees in an approved undergraduate degree program may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $20,000 and those pursuing an approved graduate degree may receive up to $25,000.

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