Press release

Brandman University Helps Expand Debt-Free College Degree Offerings to 1.5 Million Walmart Associates

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Brandman University today announced plans to provide pathways to computing
and information technology college degrees for all
U.S. Walmart associates through its partnership with Guild Education
that works with Walmart to administer the program. Today’s action
coincides with Walmart’s earlier announcement that the retailer is
expanding the number of colleges and debt-free degree options through
Live Better U. Brandman remains the only California-based institution
among the expanded six nonprofit universities.

“I commend Walmart for their efforts to connect more than a million
associates to U.S. universities that are purposefully designed to help
working adults achieve college degrees that accelerate upward mobility,”
said Brandman University Chancellor Gary Brahm. “Selecting the
right college is daunting. There are tremendous differences in
completion rates and the quality of the degrees that are conferred,
especially among online colleges. Both Walmart and Guild Education are
diligent in understanding these important distinctions. I look forward
to serving even more Walmart associates with new opportunities to grow
and advance in their careers.”

In 2018, Brandman was one of three universities chosen by Walmart, in
partnership with Guild Education, to offer an associate or bachelor’s
degree in supply chain management and a bachelor’s degree in business.
Identifying universities known for helping working adults succeed is
important for the employer and the student. First-generation students
and individuals who enter the workforce immediately after high school,
and who desire to attend college years later, have limited access to
information and support systems that help navigate the college selection
and admissions process. This lack of support often leads to poor
choices, high debt, and no college degree.

Since the partnership was announced, more than 7,500 Walmart associates
from all 50 states have been accepted into at least one of the programs
at the three original university partners, Brandman, Bellevue and the
University of Florida as of May 2019.

According to Walmart, 35,000 people are working in U.S. stores in roles
that did not exist two years ago. For Brandman’s technology degrees,
industry-recognized certifications provide stackable credentials
toward a degree
. For example, as a student moves through the
Bachelor of Science Information Technology degree, they will earn
various IT industry recognized certifications. If the student has
already obtained any of these certifications prior to admission or
outside of Brandman during enrollment in the degree program, the student
will receive transfer credit and competency equivalent credit toward
degree completion. Brandman has also evaluated Walmart’s on-the-job
training through its Academy program and provides transfer credit toward
degree completion.

Better U
is part of Walmart’s efforts to ensure associates have
educational opportunities to stay in front of changes in the workplace.
According to a Pew Research Center survey,
a majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training are
essential to career success.

Public statements provided by Walmart and Guild Education:

“Walmart values learning in all forms, and we are committed to creating
a workforce of lifelong learners and instilling in them excitement for
retail and a passion for serving customers,” said Greg Foran,
president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “Access to higher education is one way
to grow your career. So, in addition to providing people with an entry
to the workforce and access to our on-the-job training, I’m proud
Walmart also offers our associates programs like Live Better U to help
them achieve their educational goals.”

“Since launching with Guild a year ago, thousands of Walmart associates
have now headed back to school debt-free, collectively saving tens of
millions of dollars in student debt,” said Rachel Carlson, CEO of
Guild Education. “Walmart is on track to leading the nation’s largest
education benefits program, with programs that set their employees up
for success.”

According to Walmart’s
2019 Environmental, Social & Sustainability report

  • 1.5 million associates are working in stores in thousands of U.S.
    communities. (p.85)
  • 35,000 people are working in U.S. Walmart stores in roles that didn’t
    exist two years ago. (p.45)
  • For many entry-level hourly positions, Walmart does not require
    degrees and has “banned the box” to lower barriers to entering the
    workforce. Through Walmart Academy and Live Better U associates are
    able to increase their skills, knowledge and social mobility. (p.47)
  • 75% of Walmart U.S. store operation management team members started as
    hourly employees (p.47).

About Brandman University: Brandman University is a private,
nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and
University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System,
Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative
curriculum and strong support services designed to help working students
succeed in spite of busy schedules. Brandman serves about 25,000
students seeking licenses, credentials or degrees, of which 13,000 are
on a college degree path. Programs are offered via Brandman’s fully
online college, and through hybrid learning at 25 campuses spread
throughout California and Washington. Brandman is the sole California
provider of Competency-Based-Education through Brandman MyPath.