Free College? 11 Jobs That Pay For College!

Go to school. Work really hard. Get a degree. Land a job and live happily ever after. Sound familiar?

Maybe that old adage worked for the parents of the millennials and gen-z's of the world, but in today's financial climate, going to school is not only super expensive…

Student loan debt can have a devastating impact on your future finances.

However, a college degree is very much so part of the American Dream and the job prospects certainly increase with a diploma. But is there an affordable way to go to college?

Aside from community college and the military, there are actually some jobs that will pay for you to go to college.

Don't believe me? Keep reading!

Read Time: Five Minutes

Keep reading to learn which jobs will pay for you to go to college and what options you have to avoid taking out massive amounts of student loan debt.

Already in student loan debt? Learn how to pay off your debt fast here!

Why do jobs pay for college?

It's pretty well documented within most of the content on Money Life Wax on my personal viewpoint when it comes to the student loan crisis in the United States:

  1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is unstable
  2. College is not always the best choice. Like any investment, there needs to be a consideration from all angles and personal scenarios.
  3. There should be lending limits for student loans.

All that being said, a college diploma still carries a ton of value. For those interested in formal education to leverage for job prospects, you will most likely need a degree. But at what cost?

Companies have begun to recongize that good talent is hard to come by, especially when potential employees are saddled with $1,000's of student loan debt.

So in order to attract talent and retain long term employees, some corporate companies are not only offering tuition assistance, they're offering to pay for college!

Here is a complete list of 11 jobs that will pay for you to go to college!

1. Starbucks

I remember when an adult friend without a degree got a job at Starbucks.

A little awe-struck by the notion that they thought a Starbucks career was the answer to their finances, the person politely told me how Starbucks,

“Is one of the only jobs that will pay for you to go to college,” he said!

Sure enough, he was right.

According to Starbucks, all part-time and full-time employees are eligible to earn an online bachelor's degree from Arizona State University, 100% FREE!

If you're interested in a job that pays for college, Starbucks might be your best bet! Learn more about the details of the program here.

2. Chipotle

I personally have considered getting a part-time job at Chipotle just so I can get a shift burrito bowl every time I worked!

Besides the amazing guac and burritos Chiptole serves, their college tuition reimbursement program isn't too bad either! In fact, just recently, Chipotle expanded its college tuition assistance and reimbursement program!

In order to retain employees, coupled with unemployment rates that are historically low, Chipotle and other chains have increased college assistance for employees who qualify!

According to Resturant Business Online, Chiptole will,

“Cover all upfront tuition costs for 75 different business and technology degrees at select universities, through a partnership with education benefits company Guild Education. Employees are eligible for the program after 120 days of employment.”

However, even prior to the new initiative, Chipotle already offered reimbursement money to eligible employees. Qualified employees could be paid back up to $5,250 a year in tuition at the school of their choice.

The coolest thing about all of this?

Over two-thirds of those enrolled are first-generation college enrollees (Yay to Chiptole – they're also serving up hope in addition to their fat burritos!).

Learn more about the Chipotle tuition program here.

3. Walmart

Walmart might catch some flak for how they treat employees or how they drive small businesses out of business, but they do employ over 1.5 million people.

Well not only does the mega superstore employ millions, they recently launched a new tuition reimbursement program… for just $1.00 a day.

According to a recent Forbes article, Walmart is willing to help employees of 90 days or more (Assuming they get into) go to the following colleges for $1 a day after financial aid:

  1. University of Florida (Florida)
  2. Brandman University (California)
  3. Bellevue University (Nebraska)
  4. Southern New Hampshire University (New Hampshire)
  5. Purdue University Global (Indiana)
  6. Wilmington University (Delaware)

Additionally, as of 2019 Walmart has expanded the degree offerings from business and logistics to over 14 different degree options.

So next time you're upset with a Walmart, keep in mind they're helping employees go to college and avoid the student loan debt crisis!

4. BestBuy

BestBuy is another great example of a job that will pay for college.

According to the BestBuy tuition assistance program, BestBuy will pay up to a maximum of $3,500 for undergraduate and $5,250 for graduate-level course work per calendar year for all employees who:

  • You are an active, full-time Best Buy employee, in good standing, working at least 32 hours per week; and
  • You have completed six months of continuous service on or prior to the course start date; and
  • You are listed as a full-time Best Buy employee in the HRIS system, at both the course start date and reimbursement date.

In other words, $3,500 over four years is $14,000 worth of undergraduate money! Gotta love these employers who are paying for college!

Related: Don't Rely on PSLF to Pay For College

5. FedEx

Not only is FedEx delivering packages to your door, but they're also helping deliver education for their employees.

All joke attempts to the side, FedEx like many of the large corporations on this list is another job that pays for college for qualifying employees.

While the FedEx website doesn't provide a ton of upfront information on their process, as of 2017 they offered $1,500 per year in tuition reimbursement.

6. UPS

What they call the “Learn and Earn” program, similar to the other companies on this list, UPS also offers college assistance to its qualified employees.

The goal is to help train and promote from within and keep good talent within UPS. As of 2019, employees of UPS could earn up to a grand total of $25,000 to go to college!

Side Note:

Wondering if you should work for UPS or FedEx?

Figure out which one offers the most tuition reimbursement (In this case UPS) and factor that in with your decision making!

7. Smuckers

Fact #1 about Smuckers: They make the best thing ever – Uncrustables.

Fact #2 about Smuckers: You can get 100% of your college paid for by them if you qualify.

So if you really like to eat delicious jams and you enjoy a PB&J that doesn't require you to take the crust off, then working at Smucker's might be a good next job idea.

Not only will Smuckers help with college tuition for company-approved programs, but they also offer scholarships for children of their employees!

8. Comcast

In the battle of shipping companies and college tuition assistance, UPS came out on top. Who will win between mega cable providers Comcast and Verizon?

All kidding aside, Comcast offers an education assistance program for eligible employees that will pay for books, approved tuition, and other fees of up to $5,750 per year.

Over the course of four years, Comast will pay for $23,000 in college costs. In some cases, this can exceed 50% of a person's college tuition! Now let's see what Verizon offers…

9. Verizon

As of 2012, Verizon employees (23,000 but who is counting) took advantage of their college tuition program. The offer?

$8,000 big ones… per year!

Verizon is willing to help qualified employees go to school and assist with costs up to $8,000 per calendar year, or $32,000 over a four year period.

So in this case, Verizon beats Comcast, but the two exceed quite a few on this last alone and many others out there!

10. Fidelity

Let's say you're done with college, you have your finance degree and you want to go back and get your MBA somewhere… what is something you might want to consider?

Graduate school costs obviously!

Well, in that case, Fidelity's college tuition reimbursement program isn't a bad option if you happen to be looking for a job that will pay for college. According to a CNBC article, Fidelity will give employees of over six months up to $10,000 per year to go to an accredited university!

11. Join the military for free college!

The GI Bill was established after World War II to help veterans get training and college partially/fully paid for.

While joining the military is more than just a job that pays for college, the GI bill is one of the perks of enlisting in the United States military and serving our country.

Like anything, there are both upsides and downsides to joining the US military, however, the fact that after your commitment you can land free college is a huge pro!

Side note: Don't just join the military for free college benefits. There are other ways to pay for college and while the GI bill is a nice incentive, ultimately joing any military branch is a sacrifice you have to be willing to take on!

Bonus: Side hustles to help pay for college!

There is no rule when it comes to making money in college unless of course, you're an NCAA athlete, then there are many!

However, with unsubsidized loans collecting interest for some student loan borrowers, just making an extra $100 to $500 a month can be a game-changer while you're still in college!

A lucrative side hustle, whether walking dogs or driving people around, can help you:

  • Pay for rent
  • Land some spending money while in college
  • Start paying student loans off

The cool thing about having a side hustle over a part-time job is that a side hustle allows you flexibility! Here are two articles to help you figure out a side hustle:

Other jobs that pay for college:

Wells Fargo – $5,000 annually

Publix – $12,800 over a lifetime

Bank of America – 5,250 per calendar year

McDonald's – Varies based on empoyment

My take on jobs that pay for college:

At the end of the day, it's pretty well documented that the United States has a student loan debt epidemic.

Forecasts indicate that the people like my wife who entered the workforce with six figures worth of student loan debt is only going to grow… along with the growing costs of college!

It doesn't matter how we got here (Unfettered lending, no lending limits, the mentality that everyone must go to college), at the end of the day paying for a degree doesn't have to ruin your financial future… thanks to companies like those above who help employees with college.

There is nothing wrong with taking 5-6 years to earn a degree while simultaneously working so that you don't come out with student loan debt, or if you do it is at least very minimal debt.

Take it from someone who has to help his wife pay off $200,000+ in student loan debt… a job that will pay for college is better than just taking out student loan debt!

Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.