Pizza Hut Latest Company Offering To Help Send Employees To College

What do a car manufacturer, a coffee chain, a health insurance giant, and a pizza joint have in common? They all offer to foot the bill — or at least some of it — so their employees can further their education by obtaining a college degree. 

Pizza Hut announced today that it would partner with Excelsior College, an online school, to offer discounts on tuition for employees and their immediate family members.

The Life Unboxed EDU program provides each Pizza Hut employee and their family members a 45% discount on undergraduate tuition at Excelsior College, while graduate students will receive a 15% discount.

Corporate employees can get a little extra through the program, Pizza Hut says. The company will pay up to $5,250 per year in tuition, books and fees for each salaried, full-time corporate employee participating in the program.

Pizza Hut employees-turned-students can choose from 35 online degree programs. Pizza Hut Area Coaches and General Managers are eligible to receive credit for their on-the-job training and experience.

Payments toward tuition will be made upfront by Pizza Hut, rather than employees being reimbursed after the fact. The company says this allows employees to “start their ongoing education journeys immediately, no matter their financial status.”

The pizza chain did not provide details on how much it expects to spend through the program.

“Empowering our employees to become their best selves through education is one of the greatest investments we can make as a company,” Amy Messersmith, chief people officer for Pizza Hut, said in a statement.

So far, 65 Pizza Hut employees are already enrolled at Excelsior through the Unboxed pilot program, with about 100 others currently in the application process.

Pizza Hut is just the latest company to help foot the bill for their employees to attend college. In June, health insurer Anthem launched a program that allows employees the opportunity to earn their associate’s or bachelor’s degree without incurring a massive amount of student loan debt. The program offers online classes in business and health care at the College for America at Southern New Hampshire University.

In May, Fiat Chrysler unveiled a partnership with for-profit Strayer University in which employees can earn degrees in any of the more than 40 programs offered online or on campus.

Starbucks got the employee-college program ball rolling back in 2014 when it announced it would finance workers’ dreams of attending college around the country by offering to pay their tuition at Arizona State University.