What is a secret is how much. Is it changing a lot? Has most of the change already happened?
The company said it estimates as many as 68, of its employees initially could sign up for the new college program. The company declined to comment on how much this initiative will cost it. Walmart will cover the rest of the tab.
Workers will be able to choose from the three nonprofit schools and have the option of taking classes online with the flexibility to study during the evenings or on weekends. Today UF Online announced another partner: Discover announced a significant new education assistance benefit that provides all eligible U.
Known as The Discover College Commitment, the benefit covers tuition and required fees, books and supplies needed to complete select online degrees at one of three schools — the University of Florida via UF OnlineWilmington University and Brandman University. The benefit has no tenure requirement so employees can start participating as soon as they want regardless of how long they have been with the company, including new employees on their first day.
The two partnerships are part of what UF Online calls their Employer Pathwaysand in the process seem to be defining an alternate method of marketing and enrollment management, in contrast with most Online Program Management OPM assumptions.
Employers will provide a robust support package covering tuition, fees, plus access to life coaching and college readiness programs. Both packages of education benefits is managed by Guild Education"a tuition reimbursement and education platform that helps large employers extend education benefits, including tuition reimbursement, to workers".
I think these moves are more significant than just individual benefits. What we are seeing is UF Online, along with a handful of others, defining a different approach to marketing and finding potential online students, at least for undergraduate degrees. Historically, there is a common assumption that to enable a scalable online program there is a need for traditional digital marketing as the primary approach - Google AdWords, call centers, social media campaigns - with a partnership or two thrown in on the side.
The Employer Pathways approach by UF Online has the potential to flip the student acquisition assumptions - primarily driven by employer partnerships with traditional digital marketing channels as a secondary approach.
Walmart and Discover already have potential students identified, and the companies have the incentive to internally market these education benefits to employees.
UF Online needs to support that internal marketing and feed applicants into the same application process, but they have a reduced need for general-purpose marketing. UF Online started out with Pearson Online Learning Services formerly known as Embanet to be their OPM partner, but in late they pushed Pearson out and decided to take over this management internally.
Part of that move is to spend less trying to get out-of-state students, which may pay higher tuition but still cost much more per student in acquisition costs.
But the other move is to decrease the need to spend on traditional marketing channels.
We can think of Guild Education in this case as a derivative of the unbundling version of OPM, enabling the front-end services with an alternative approach and what appears to be a lower revenue share. Rather than charge a transaction fee per student to the employer, Guild takes a cut of the tuition revenue from the universities it works with.
The tuition fees are not discounted for the employers and will be charged at in-state or out-of-state rates depending on the location of the student.
Neither Guild nor the three universities involved in the Walmart offer would disclose what percentage of tuition revenue Guild will take. The online education space is maturing and becoming a lot more interesting.A potential M&A between Walmart and Humana took healthcare industry observers by storms.
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Kroger is going after Target and Walmart by expanding a new type of store featuring home goods, clothing, and kitchen appliances. The store, called Kroger Marketplace, features nearly everything.
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