The company is still figuring out which colleges will be part of the program, which rolls out in January, but Amazon may be imposing a yearly maximum of $5,250 per employee.
Amazon on Thursday made headlines for offering a new perk to its “front-line employees” in the US, including warehouse workers: The e-commerce giant will pay their full college tuition if they decide to get a bachelor’s degree in certain fields.
However, the program has one glaring omission—Amazon is still determining which colleges qualify for the program. In addition, it seems Amazon is only going to pay up to a yearly maximum of $5,250 for eligible workers, which is far less than the annual tuition of many public and private universities.
The move comes as companies across the country are trying to lure more workers. But Amazon’s language around the perk arguably muddles the exact benefits to employees.
The company’s announcement currently notes that US employees “will be eligible to have their full college tuition paid for at hundreds of education partners across the country.” But what exactly constitutes an education partner remains unclear, although current partners have included community colleges.
For now, Amazon tells PCMag it’s still working to build out the full roster of partners. The company plans on releasing the full list in January when the program kicks off.
The company’s announcement also says it’ll “fund full college tuition” for eligible employees. However, a Thursday update to Amazon’s website for the program indicates there’s a $5,250 cap on how much tuition the e-commerce giant will pay each year for the employee.
Amazon told PCMag it won’t go beyond the $5,250 cap so that an employee doesn’t have to pay taxes on the educational assistance. The funds can be used for anything, including books and other fees. But it seems the education will be limited to select fields, such as IT, healthcare, and transportation.
The perk arrives on top of Amazon’s existing efforts to fund training, including associate degree education, for warehouse workers. “Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives,” Amazon says.
Over 750,000 employees, including full-time and part-time workers, in the US can try out the program once it starts in January. People only need to have been on the job for three months to become eligible.
“In addition to funding associate and bachelor’s degrees, Amazon’s Career Choice will also fund high school completion, GEDs, and ESL proficiency certifications,” the company added.
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Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity. He covers a variety of tech news topics, including consumer devices, digital privacy issues, computer hacking, artificial intelligence, online communities, and gaming.
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