UF Online is proud to partner with Walmart and other employers to support students as they pursue their University of Florida bachelor’s degree
Employees from Walmart and Discover Financial Services have expanded opportunities to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida (UF) thanks to a new and significant investment in their education from their employers. This remarkable step by these and other large employers demonstrates the value of a UF degree and the accessibility of UF Online, UF’s online undergraduate experience. Employers will provide a robust support package covering tuition, fees, plus access to life coaching and college readiness programs.
The University of Florida has a long commitment to an expansive campus through online and distance learning programs. Most recently, launched in 2014, UF Online provides 20 online bachelor’s degrees to qualified students regardless of their location or life stage. As the University of Florida continues its mission of access to higher education, realizing new partnerships with employers underscores our mission to welcome students traditionally underserved by higher education. The flexibility and versatility of UF Online enables students to pursue their academic goals while working full time or tending to other pressing responsibilities, including the care of family members or service in their communities.
UF Online provides a digital path and a flexible format, while not eroding the value of a UF degree and maintaining the critical relationship among faculty, students and their academic advisors. UF Online programs are all designed and taught by the very same faculty that teach on the main campus in Gainesville, plus our class sizes remain small and our standards high. Our programs are highly selective, relying on the same admissions standards as campus and currently only admitting 40% of applicants into UF Online. Our online students also enjoy the benefits of their own virtual community, the UF Plaza, and the opportunity to tailor their own involvement and engagement. Students are in the driver’s seat in UF Online, customizing the pathway with their academic advisor that’s right for them.
UF remains committed to providing flexible and accessible pathways so that students may earn a degree of real value while also focusing on other important aspects of their full lives. UF also applauds the employers that build these access pathways for their employees. Employers stepping up today are showing their workforce the value of a degree and the reality of the impact it has on the corporate bottom line. The University of Florida is eager to partner with employers that wish to provide these great pathways for their employees while not compromising on the quality and value of the degree earned.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- If I work for Walmart or Discover and want to take advantage of my employer’s educational benefit, how do I learn more and who should I contact?
Guild Education is supporting Walmart and Discover Financial Services in the delivery of this remarkable employer pathway program. Walmart and Discover employees must first sign up for their company’s education benefits at the following website:
Once you sign up for your company’s educational benefit, a coach from Guild will contact you to determine your eligibility to receive educational benefits, review your academic background, and provide qualified prospective students with a unique link to the UF Online Admissions Application.
Keep in mind that the University of Florida cannot determine your eligibility to receive your employer’s educational benefits. All questions about your eligibility for benefits and admissions to UF Online should therefore be directed to Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-709-2871.
- When is the earliest that employees can use their educational benefit?
The educational benefits for Walmart and Discover are effective for Fall 2018 enrollment.
- What degree programs are available to Walmart and Discover employees?
This partnership provides a pathway to the UF Online Business Administration Bachelor of Science degree. Learn more here about this degree here. Classes are fully online and taught by the same faculty that teaches on our Gainesville campus. These programs are offered through UF’s world-renowned Warrington College of Business.
- What are the admissions standards for applicants who come through a corporate partnership with UF Online?
The admissions standards for Walmart and Discover applicants are identical to the existing UF Online admissions standards.
Once you submit this form, a coach from Guild will contact you to review your academic background, review UF Online’s admission requirements, and provide qualified prospective students with a unique link to the UF Online Admissions Application.
- How do employees from corporate partners apply to UF Online?
Walmart and Discover employees must contact Guild prior to applying to the program to ensure the educational benefit is applied correctly to the student’s account. Once you sign up here (Discover or Walmart), a Guild coach will provide qualified applicants a unique link to the UF Online Admissions Application.
After receiving your UF Online application, the UF Online Admissions team will notify you of the remaining documents that you need to submit for your Admissions file.
- What happens after an application is submitted?
Once a prospective student takes the first step and submits an online application, a member of the UF Online admissions team is assigned to guide each applicant through the rest of the process. The admissions team will reach out after receiving an application and, from that point forward, be the main point of contact. They will let the applicant know what additional steps need to be taken to complete the full application package.
- How will transfer credit be evaluated for employees from corporate partners?
Transfer credit for Walmart and Discover employees will be evaluated using the university’s standard transfer credit policy.
It is the prerogative of the student’s UF college to determine how transfer credit satisfies the specific degree’s course requirements. Courses from Florida public community colleges and State University System schools generally adhere to the Statewide Course Numbering System. If the prefix (first three letters) and the last three digits of the course number are the same, then the course is considered equivalent.
- Will transfer credits be accepted from corporate training programs like Walmart Academy Learning?
No, UF will not accept Walmart Academy credits for transfer credits. These credits do not reasonably parallel UF curriculum. Refer to the Office of Admissions’ transfer credit evaluation practices as well as to the university’s official transfer credit policy for complete information.
- After admission, what are the next steps?
Once a student has been admitted to UF Online, the student will continue to work with our admissions team and will start working with their assigned academic advisor. Students will be sent invitations to complete the required online orientation and to attend a welcome webinar. Students will also need to make an appointment with their academic advisor before enrolling in their first class. The admissions team will continue to work with students and help them through the onboarding process up until enrollment. Academic advisors become the primary point of contact after enrollment.
- Can students in this program take classes on campus?
No. UF Online students are admitted into our fully online program. Online students cannot enroll in or attend on campus classes.
UF Online students can participate in study abroad and other similar programs. Additionally, some colleges offer boot camps or institutes where UF Online students can come to campus for labs or other specialized programs for a designated time period, usually 2-3 weeks.
- Will students in this program have access to campus?
Yes. UF Online students are Gators from day 1 and are welcomed here in Gainesville as part of our campus learning community. UF has a beautiful and expansive campus that is open to visitors from the public, let alone all UF students. Beyond campus UF Online students also enjoy their own virtual community forum, the UF Plaza. Furthermore, our UF Online students get special invitations to UF Online student campus events such as our annual Homecoming Tailgate in the fall. We also encourage students to get involved with student organizations and even their local Gator Club. Research shows that engaged students are more successful.
Earning a UF degree is more than getting a piece of paper, it is an experience. It is becoming part of the Gator Nation. These students are joining a powerful alumni base and that begins with a robust and engaging student experience. Learn more by visiting our Student Experience page.
Additionally, students can also take advantage of the Optional Fee Package which provides access to a variety campus based services. However, the optional fee package may not be covered by employer reimbursement programs.
- So what is different for students who enroll in UF Online from these companies?
Students enrolled in UF Online via an employer pathway receive specific educational benefits from their employer. The University of Florida, however, provides the same enrollment pathway, curriculum, support, and experience for all students, independent of their employer.
- Are tuition and fees different for this program?
No. There is no difference in tuition or fees for students enrolled in UF Online via an employer pathway. The only difference is that employers are often fully funding these costs for these UF Online students.
- Why is this important for UF?
Providing affordable access to a high-quality, elite education is a driving principle of UF Online. Partnering with an employer who is providing funding to encourage their employees to seek a bachelor’s degree aligns with this guiding principle.
- Why is this important for employers like Walmart and Discover?
More and more employers are looking to education benefit programs to help attract and retain employees. Additionally, they want to make sure employees are getting a quality education for the investment the company is making and that employees are graduating.
Walmart executives answered this question best in a New York Times article about the launch of this partnership and the other schools involved. “The three universities were chosen because of their high graduation rates, particularly among part-time students, and their experience with those already in the work force.”