McDonald's recently announced that it will be investing an additional $150 million into its tuition assistance employee program. 

Over the next five years, McDonald’s will invest an additional $150 million into its tuition assistance program for employees, the company recently announced. This will give up to 40,000 restaurant employees access to the company’s Archways to Opportunity program.

The Archways to Opportunity program was started in 2015 and has provided educational benefits to 24,000 people since its inception. By providing over $21 million in both high school and college education benefits, it’s helped McDonald’s employees earn high school diplomas and college degrees. The program also offers services to help employees learn English as a second language.

The restaurant chain plans to lower the eligibility requirements for the program. Employees will now be eligible after 90 days of employment rather than nine months. And they will be required to work at least 15 hours a week instead of the 20 hours previously required. McDonald’s also plans to offer some of these benefits to family members of employees.

Managers will now have access to $3,000 of tuition assistance per year and employees will have access to $2,500 per year. Employees can apply their tuition assistance to either a trade school, community college, or four-year university. There is no lifetime cap on the amount of tuition assistance employees can receive. And McDonald’s gives its employees access to this money upfront, which will allow more people to participate in the program.

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These new eligibility requirements go into effect on May 1 and are retroactive to Jan. 1. The company credited the decision to increase its educational program to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which lowered corporate taxes.

Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s, said the company is committed to providing educational opportunities to employees so they can fulfill their potential “…whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”

McDonald’s is the latest company to announce changes to its tuition assistance program. Last month, Taco Bell announced it was offering a tuition assistance program for its employees. And the American Hotel and Lodging Association announced the launch of a pilot program that would pay for employees to earn an associate’s degree.

Increasingly, companies are recognizing the advantage of offering tuition assistance to employees in order to bring on and retain the best talent. Many top companies provide tuition assistance as part of their benefits package to employees.

The implementations of these programs do vary. Some companies offer these benefits upfront while other companies reimburse employees for their tuition. Consumers who are interested in finding a job with tuition assistance benefits can find a full list of companies that offer these benefits.