Target Becomes Latest Retailer to Offer Employees Free College Tuition
Following in the footsteps of one of its largest competitors, Target announced Wednesday that it would cover the cost of college for its more than 340,000 U.S.-based part-time and full-time employees working in Target stores, distribution centers and headquarters beginning this fall.
The move comes days after Walmart announced it would cover college tuition and books for about 1.5 million employees starting Aug. 16.
Target is earmarking $200 million over the next four years for the tuition assistance program to cover business-related associate and undergraduate degrees as well as high school and college prep classes, English language learning classes, and select certificates at more than 40 partner schools, colleges and universities. Textbooks and course fees will also be covered.
"A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities," Target's Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said in a press release. "We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone.”
Total Retail's Take: Attractive employee benefits such as free college education are quickly becoming the norm as big-box retailers seek to attract and retain enough hourly workers in a tight labor market. Target also recently invested $75 million on a round of worker bonuses for frontline team members.
In addition to the program's partner schools — which thoughtfully include several historically black colleges and universities such as Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College — Target is also offering to partially cover degrees at nonparticipating schools, paying up to $10,000 each year for Master's programs.