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Amazon expands program offering employees free college to study high-need fields like tech, healthcare
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Employees must choose from an approved list of programs in high-need areas, such as mechanics, information technology and healthcare

Amazon, America’s second-largest employer, is expanding its free college program for eligible U.S. employees, in part through new partnerships with more than 140 universities and colleges across the country, the company stated Thursday.

The move follows its September 2021 decision, in which Amazon announced it would cover the total cost – including tuition, books, and fees – of some degree-granting college programs for eligible hourly U.S. employees.

More than 750,000 operations workers stand to benefit from the program as part of the company’s Career Choice initiative, which offers free language, skills and job training as well as formal educational opportunities.

Amazon has committed to investing $1.2 billion in employee training and education by 2025. It pays the cost upfront; no reimbursement process is required.

Though Amazon describes the benefit as “full” tuition, the coverage maxes out at $5,250 per year, which may limit the number of courses employees can take without covering part of the costs themselves, according to Money.com.

Additionally, employees enrolled through Amazon must choose from an approved list of programs in high-need areas, such as mechanics, information technology and healthcare, Money.com stated

The new higher education partnership Amazon unveiled this week brings the total number of schools workers can attend to 180, reports Fortune Education.

Additionally, the free college program will be eligible for employees who have worked for the company for just 90 days.

Acceptance requirements vary by school, Fortune stated, but many require a GED or high school diploma at minimum to apply for a bachelor’s degree.

Students can complete most classes online and some on campus. They also have the option of attending courses offered by the university at more than 110 “U.S. Career Choice classrooms” at Amazon facilities, which can reduce commute times and cost, according to Fortune.

The 140 schools where eligible Amazon employees can now complete degrees cost-free include California State Fresno, University of Connecticut, Florida State College, Columbia College in Illinois, and the University of North Texas.

Read the full list of schools by state here.

MORE: Forbes deletes article from professor calling for Amazon to replace libraries

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About the Author
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Maggie has previously worked as an associate editor of Columbia magazine, an editorial assistant at DNAinfo.com, and an elementary school teacher at a charter school in Phoenix. She holds a B.A. from New York University and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.