McDonald’s triples its tuition assistance to help pay for higher education

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Think working at a fast food restaurant is a dead-end job? Think again…

The Golden Arches is tripling its tuition assistance program for employees — and that’s just one on several restaurants that offer financial incentive for employees to get an education!

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College tuition benefits get a boost at McDonald’s

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.

The company is raising the amount of assistance it gives on an annual basis to eligible salaried employees to $2,500/year, up from $700/year previously.

Managers, meanwhile, will have access to $3,000 annually for education, which is up from $1,050/year.

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.

In addition, the restaurant is also lowering the eligibility requirement for tuition assistance on two fronts.

First, employees will only be required to be with McDonald’s for 90 days before being allowed to take advantage of this benefit. That’s down from nine months previously.

Second, 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.


McDonald’s say it expects 400,000 employees to take advantage of the newly enhanced tuition assistance program.

Meanwhile, the Golden Arches is far from the only fast-food employer with a program to help employees pursue their dreams of higher education…

Other tuition benefits across the industry


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 between 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.

Pizza Hut

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.

Taco Bell

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.