Debt free college, is it possible? It is- but it won’t be easy! Debt-free college isn’t a matter of just having a huge bank account, rich uncle or perfect SAT scores. Average parents with almost no college savings can send their (large) homeschool families to college debt-free, but it takes planning and exceptional motivation! Continue reading “Saving and Shaving: Debt-Free College”
I often speak about our family’s move across the country to access a free tuition program through my husband’s employer, but these kinds of benefits are sometimes available to our teens too. Your teen’s part-time job in high school or college can have big rewards.
Tuition programs vary dramatically, there really isn’t a “one size fits all” way they work- but to give you a very simple explanation, there are companies that will pay for your teen’s tuition (full or part) while they work as employees. This is different from a scholarship, which is often a one time gift and the scholarship provider doesn’t expect anything in return.
Tuition programs usually require a relationship between the employee and employer.
Tuition programs may require working a specific number of hours per week, a commitment to work after the tuition payment is made, etc., but make no mistake, this is REAL MONEY that can help your family obtain a debt-free college degree. My husband’s bachelor’s degree and master’s degree were funded by his employer (two different ones) and my oldest son’s current employer is paying his tuition.
Our North Carolina Homeschooling for College Credit moderator shared the announcement about McDonald’s yesterday. They’ve expanded their tuition program, so this is a great opportunity to put these kinds of benefits in one place for you to access. Most teens will work part-time during high school, and there are dozens of companies that will allow your teen to continue working part-time during college – all while receiving tuition benefits.
You may remember the study from Boston University last year that followed the GPA of students who worked a shift or two per week during college. They had higher GPAs across the board. Of course, working too much correlated with lower GPAs, so we’re talking about part-time jobs that fit in and around school work – not a job that squeezes it out.
Reducing college costs by as much as possible is a bit of a hobby of mine! If your goal is to reduce your teen’s student loan debt to ZERO, make time to investigate my previous posts:
Thanks to Clarks.com posting this great fast-food summary:
This tuition-reimbursement offer is for available to both full-timers and part-timers after one year on the job.
Employees get tuition, books, and fees reimbursed by Chipotle — up to the IRS limit of $5,250 per calendar year.
Chipotle also has a partnership through Guild Education that lets you earn up to 38 and 44 credit hours through on-the-job training.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
For hourly team members and shift supervisors with at least six months of service, KFC offers the REACH Educational Grant Program.
The program provides college tuition assistance via grants of $2,000 and $2,500. Grant recipients can attend any accredited two-year or four-year college or a trade/vocational school.
Managers, meanwhile, can receive grants of up to $3,000 through KFC’s REACH initiative.
Winners are selected by a competitive application process and may reapply each year.
Through a partnership with Excelsior College, Pizza Hut offers the Life Unboxed EDU program.
Excelsior offers tuition discounts of 45% on undergraduate studies and 15% on graduate studies for Pizza Hut employees.
Similar to Chipotle, Pizza Hut’s tuition assistance offer also allows you to earn up to 63 credits for on-the-job training.
The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is perhaps the most generous of any restaurant tuition assistance plan. You basically get a free education through a partnership with Arizona State University!
Full tuition reimbursement is available for every year of college, culminating in you earning a bachelor’s degree.
The specific details of the plan are available here.
Just like Chipotle, Taco Bell has teamed up with Guild Education for certain education benefits.
Employees get tuition, books and fees reimbursed up to the IRS limit of $5,250 per calendar year. There’s also the opportunity to earn college credit for on-the-job training.
Thanks to the corporate tax savings under the new tax law, McDonald’s says it’s committed to increasing college tuition benefits for employees to the tune of $150 million over five years.
Eligible employees receive upto $2,500/year, managers, meanwhile, will have access to $3,000. There are no lifetime caps on this perk, and the super-sized benefit takes effect May 1, 2018 and will be retroactive to January 1, 2018.
Employees will be required to be with McDonald’s for 90 days before being allowed to take advantage of this benefit. Employees who want tuition assistance will only need to put in 15 hours minimum a week instead of the previous requirement for 20 hours a week.
Today’s post features a homeschooling site (and Facebook group) run by a friend of mine and a long time friend to Homeschooling for College Credit- Cindy LaJoy. Her page is called Blue Collar Homeschool, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you.
But wait, doesn’t the notion of “blue collar” conflict with earning college credit? Heck no! In fact, injecting college credit into a homeschool program doesn’t mean you only focus on a certain type of education. One thing I’ve learned by meeting thousands of parents my Facebook page is that trying to “define” what successful homeschooling looks like is a fool’s errand.
First, let me introduce you to Cindy and her homeschool family:
“We are “Team LaJoy”! We believe that the family that works together AND plays together, stays together! All of our kids have experienced public education, either in the United States or in orphanage schools overseas. All love learning at home, and the ability to work at their own pace. In our homeschool we have done a wide variety of experiential and traditional learning, with our kids doing such things as studying interior design, purchasing and refurbishing a home that was bank owned, learning about Profit and Loss statements as they help with our businesses, traveling the Lewis and Clark trail, building sheds, pottery, flying planes, and volunteering at the animal shelter, the library, the food bank, the homeless shelter and our local nursing home. We have been out in the world, as well as dedicated to class around our kitchen table! “
Cindy is one of those fantastically enthusiastic people with a lot of passion. When we first spoke, she told me her children had challenges. The topic of our conversation wasn’t homeschooling, but I underestimated HER challenges. Her children include a mix of Dysgraphia, English as a Second Language, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Gifted and Talented, suspected Dyscalculia, Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delay, Executive Function Disorders, and Speech Impairments.
Moving into high school with our kids and thinking about their futures, it was easy to see that there was an underserved group, and that was families like us…families who had kids not destined for college, who had access to few resources that truly “fit” their child’s needs. Few homeschool online groups speak to those parents of kids whose career aspirations do not include a degree, leaving us feeling inadequately equipped, and as if we are somehow underachievers. I began to develop a passion for helping our kids see the wide variety of career possibilities, not at the sake of eliminating college, but for seeing there were even more choices.”
If I can take a moment to distract you from Cindy’s specific story, I want to caution you against making the mistake that professional guidance counselors make all the time. They “track” students into paths based on early test scores and grades. In my own past, I was “guided” into food service from the moment I set foot in high school. My test scores were average, clearly not “college material.” After learning about Advanced Placement (AP) I had to get special permission to take an AP course in 10th grade (which required my parent’s signature to go against professional advice). My point is that it’s easy to default into the old idea that underachievers go to vocational school and “smart” kids go to college. We have an entire population of kids with part of a college degree who are unemployable because they can read Latin but can’t put together an Ikea bookshelf.
We need “smart” kids in trades too!
If you’ve never heard of Mike Rowe, he’s the champion of blue collar. His own liberal arts education (BA in Communications from Towson University) and career as an opera singer make him an unlikely advocate for the trades, but you might know him better as the host of Dirty Jobs.
My ALL TIME FAVORITE youtube interview is Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College (full interview below). Mike Rowe explains how he thinks we’ve gotten off course by encouraging every child to attend a 4-year college.
“if we’re lending money that we don’t have, to kids who really have no hope of paying it back, in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit.” -Mike Rowe
If you want to incorporate some blue-collar classes into your curriculum, or maybe even help your teen select a career in one of the trades, I’m going to list a combination of resources that Cindy pulled together as well as a few of my own. (and some of them are even for college credit!)
Parents: check with Human Resources immediately! Scholarship application deadlines are sometimes a year in advance.
It depends. In some cases, a parent’s dependents are eligible to apply, but in other cases, the teen must be an employee. If you or your teen already work for one of these companies, simply contact your Human Resources department and ask for more information. Continue reading “100 Employer / Employee Scholarships”