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These days, "tuition assistance" is a popular perk. Find out which companies are legit when it comes to paying your loans.

2 minute read

Student loan debt doesn’t just go away. You can use one of these weird ways to pay off your college loans — or you could work for someone who pays it off for you.

Since Starbucks announced the details of their College Achievement Plan in 2014, it seems like companies have been scrambling to offer tuition assistance as a job benefit. It’s a great way for employers to attract talented and competent employees, and the workers benefit by receiving deeply discounted degrees. In some cases, they’re free.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 54 percent of employers offered “undergraduate educational assistance” in 2014. But not every company offering college benefits is legitimate.

In some cases, like Red Lobster, employers are simply herding potential students into private tuition loans financed by big banks. Especially for low-income, non-traditional students working in the foodservice industry; A private college loan from a bank like Wells Fargo isn’t the best way to go.

We found the best companies that will pay for your college…

1. Starbucks

The coffee company made big news in 2014 when they announced that any of their employees could take two years of online courses at Arizona State University, but they recently made news again when they expanded that coverage to include all four years of tuition at ASU. The college has 49 online degree programs to choose from, and the benefit is available to all of Starbucks’ 140,000 full- and part-time employees.

2. Fiat Chrysler

Any salesman who works at a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, or Fiat dealership (that’s about 118,000 employees across the country) will be eligible for a free ride to Strayer University, Chrysler recently announced. The company plans to cover the cost of a bachelor’s degree ($42,000) plus “books and expenses.” Courses can be taken online or at the Strayer campus in Virginia.

3. Apple

Apple pays up to $5,000 a year of any employees’ tuition.

4. UPS

Available to full and part-time employees, the UPS tuition assistance program offers up to $5,250 per the calendar year, up to $25,000 total.

In 2010, the company said it provided $24 million to approximately 14,000 students.

5. Verizon

LearningLINK, the Verizon Wireless tuition reimbursement program, allows employees to get reimbursed for up to $8,000 a year for full-time employees and up to $4,000 a year for part-time employees. The money can be used for associate’s, bachelor’s, or MBA programs at colleges and universities across the country.

6. Google

The search giant was named No. 1 on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For,” and for good reason. They offer up to $12,000 in tuition reimbursement per year, as long as you get a B or higher in all your courses.

7. Smuckers

Their jammin’ tuition assistance program covers 100 percent of company-approved college courses. Your kids also benefit — they can apply for one of the 10 $3,000 renewable scholarships each year.

8. Publix

The best part about the grocery chain’s tuition program is that you only need to work there for a minimum of 10 hours a week to get the benefit. They cover individual courses and occupational or technical programs up to $3,400, or reimburse up to $12,800 for any of the 15 undergraduate degree programs that qualify. Plus, “other majors may be approved if related to an associates’ current position or established career path.”

9. Chevron

The international energy corporation will reimburse up to 75 percent of your college education.

10. Wells Fargo

Big banks aren’t all bad — Wells Fargo reimburses its employees’ “eligible tuition expenses” of up to $5,000 per year.

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About the Author

Jess Miller

Jess Miller

Jess is the former assistant editor at and previously worked for National Journal and Scripps Howard. Her work spans from print to financial services to UX/UI design, and her expertise includes copywriting, social media, content marketing, design, and editing.

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