Pizza Hut Continues The Tuition Aid Trend of Partnering with a Single University….

I’m on the record as saying there’s no better benefit to put on your brochure than deep support for Tuition Aid.  That’s especially true if you employ a young workforce, many of whom haven’t yet achieved a college degree – retail, call centers, etc, come to mind right?

The reasons Tuition Aid is a smart benefit to add are simple.  Observe:

1. Employees who haven’t gotten their college degree are attracted to this benefit.

2.  BUT, the benefit is hard to use.  It can mean working full time while you go to school, takes persistence, sacrifice of time and at times impacts your personal life.  It’s easy to like but hard to use, which means that you can offer the benefit with little risk of all who are eligible using it to it’s full potential.

That’s the reality. But there are some big brands who have started to make it even easier to use the benefit by solidifying a single relationship with a university, effectively streamlining distance learning for the employees who work for them.  By creating a single relationship and promoting the ease of use, these companies are changing the commitment level they’re making to Learning and Development.

The latest company to take this approach is Pizza Hut.  More from Fortune:

“Yum! Brands’ YUM -1.14% Pizza Hut is the latest company to announce a plan to help employees pay for college.

Yum said Wednesday that it’s extending its partnership with Excelsior College to assist workers and their families pay tuition, The Street reported.

Called “The Life Unboxed EDU,” the program gives Pizza Hut employees a 45% discount on undergraduate tuition at the online university. The program also offers a 15% discount to graduate students. There are currently 65 employees in a pilot of the new perk.

The discount includes $5,250 for tuition, books, and other costs for full-time employees, according to The Street.”

Pizza Hut follows Starbucks into this territory of enhanced commitment to external L&D resources that have impact to employee’s careers.  Last year, Starbucks announced a similar focused relationship with Arizona State University.  The program has been a success, so much so that the cost is now referenced as a potential drag on profits.  More from the Street:

“Starbucks  is spending tens of millions more on employees and tech.

Better customer service and reduced turnover comes at a cost.

Starbucks SBUX -0.71% reported another set of stellar quarterly results, but its stock got slammed when it forecast a profit for the current quarter that missed Wall Street’s expectations because of rising employee costs and higher mobile tech investments.

Starbucks has also been spending more on employees, which the company calls “partners,”providing college-tuition help and a raise, something Schultz said is lowering employee turnover, which in turn helps with customer service.

“We are seeing improvements in partner attrition, a direct result of our partner investments at a time when the industry overall is actually moving in the opposite direction,” Schultz told Wall Street analysts. “Our comp (comparable sales) results are strongest where we are having the greatest success in reducing turnover.”

Starbucks will increase spending on employees and tech by between $100 million and $125 million in the current fiscal year that just got underway. That compares to $145 million in fiscal 2015.”

You know you’ve arrived in your commitment to L&D when that investment makes it’s way into earnings conversations and is used to point to reduced turnover.

If you can’t do that, maybe you ought to at least consider adding Tuition Aid via reimbursement.  I’m just saying…

FOT Note: This post is brought to you by the good folks at Meridian, who like us enough to be an annual sponsor at FOT for all content in our learning and development track (and don’t expect that we run any of this by them ahead of time). They’re also up for having fun to the extent that they’re sponsoring the Learning and Development Hangout Series. Check it out!

FOT Background Check

Kris Dunn
 Kris Dunn is Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinetix and a blogger at The HR Capitalist and the Founder and Executive Editor of Fistful of Talent. That makes him a career VP of HR, a blogger, a dad and a hoops junkie, the order of which changes based on his mood. Tweet him @kris_dunn. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard the good word, he's also jumped into the RPO game as part owner of a rising shop out of ATL, Kinetix. Not your mama's recruiting process outsourcing, that's for sure... check 'em out.


  1. Micole Kaye says:

    As someone who is working full time and going to graduate school part time, I can honestly say I am SO SO SO thankful to work for Ultimate Software, who also has a similar tuition program. No joke, if it wasn’t for Ultimate, I’d have been in about 80-100k$ in debt by the time I graduate. Now, I’m hoping to graduate debt-free (or with very little debt). Programs like this make college and education a very real possibility where it otherwise may not exist at all. I’m very lucky and even more grateful to work for a company with such great programs like this. (And this is just on an extremely personal level, and completely excluding all the company benefits you mentioned above.)

    Thanks for sharing. So glad others have similar opportunities as me. Happy Holidays, Kris.

  2. John says:

    I think that it’s wonderful, but I think there is another side to this coin and that’s the whole “for-profit” college side.

    What will TA folks think of the crop of recent grads that start looking for a new gig, post degree? Definitely, something to pay attention to in the future.

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