It’s a fact: everything is more magical at Disney, including working there. In August, Disney announced that it would begin offering hourly employees tuition assistance as an employment benefit through the Disney Aspire Program. Tuition assistance is quickly gaining traction as a work benefit. Though it has long been offered to employees working 9 -5 in corporate America, it’s relatively new to those working part-time jobs or flexible hours in fast food or retail. Starbucks, Chipotle, Pizza Hut and McDonalds rule the fast food industry with this benefit, and Walmart announced this summer that it would be providing similar assistance. Many fast food and retail workplaces provide scholarship opportunities for employees, but those dollars don’t stretch as far as tuition assistance. Additionally, these scholarships sometimes require competition with other applicants to win, whereas tuition assistance is a sure thing.What is included in Disney’s tuition assistance program? Disney isn’t just paying a fraction of tuition costs; they’re offering to foot the entire tuition bill for employees interested in attending college, finishing high school or learning a new skill, according to Yahoo. Currently, tuition assistance from Disney will cover online classes only. Who qualifies?Yahoo states that, right now, roughly 80,000 employees will qualify for tuition assistance. This is in addition to those full-time employees that already receive tuition reimbursement, according to the Orlando Sentinel. It’s also reported that employees are not obligated to take courses that are related to their job and that they are free to leave Disney employment if they choose to after they finish their degrees. Just like Pinocchio, there are no strings attached. How will the Disney Aspire program expand? Eventually, Disney intends to expand the program in order to allow employees to take in-person courses at Valencia College as well as other schools with full tuition assistance. This next step will be taken in January, states the Orlando Sentinel. In total, Disney is investing $50 million in the launch of this program and will continue to fund the program with another $25 million next year, according to Yahoo.As you search for part-time jobs, don’t just look for the opportunity that pays the most. Consider other factors – like benefits, for example. Like Disney, many companies are opting to offer even part-time employees tuition assistance. Your next part-time job could not only provide income but a way to pay for school.
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