With competition for retail workers heating up, Target has joined a growing number of employers, including rival Walmart, offering free college tuition. The retail giant says it plans to invest $200 million over the next four years in a program to offer " debt-free undergraduate degrees " and free textbooks, CNBC reports. The company says it will cover the entire cost of 250 programs related to its business and will offer up to $5,250 a year for non-master's degrees and up to $10,000 for master's degrees in fields unrelated to the business-aligned programs. Target says the program, which starts this fall, will be available to around 340,000 full and part-time workers, who become eligible on their first day of employment.
Target says it is working with Guild Education, a startup that also negotiates deals with educational institutions for companies including Walmart and Taco Bell, the AP reports. In a release, Target said the program will cover both online and in-person learning at more than 40 institutions, including the University of Arizona, Oregon State University, and historically Black colleges and universities like Morehouse College. Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer at Target, said in a statement that many team members want to pursue educational opportunities. "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," she said. (Read more Target stories.)