UF Online welcomes Disney into Employer Pathways Program

Expanded UF Online partnership will provide education benefits to more than 80,000 hourly Disney employees nationwide

PRESS RELEASE: Disney employees now have largest selection of degrees and courses through UF Online of any private sector partner

GAINESVILLE, FL -- University of Florida Online is once again partnering with a leading employer – The Walt Disney Company – to expand access to high quality online bachelor’s degrees. Disney Aspire, recently launched by The Walt Disney Company, is a comprehensive education benefits program focused on the career development of Disney’s workforce. With the Disney Aspire initiative, more than 80,000 full-time and part-time hourly employees, who have more than 90 days of service, will be eligible to have 100 percent of their tuition, required textbooks and course materials, plus application and program fees paid up front by the company.

As part of this relationship, Disney employees may apply to one of several fully online bachelor’s degrees – the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in business administration from the Warrington College of Business; the Bachelor of Science in sport management from the College of Health and Human Performance; and the Bachelor of Arts in public relations, and the Bachelor of Science in telecommunication from the College of Journalism and Communications. If granted admission by the University of Florida, Disney cast members could begin UF Online classes in January 2019 as part of the University’s spring semester. Once cast members sign up for the Disney Aspire educational benefit, a coach from Guild Education will contact them to determine their eligibility to receive educational benefits, review their academic background, and to provide qualified prospective students with a unique link to the UF Online admissions application.

“Expanding access to high quality education and career development is a core value for the University of Florida and we look forward to working with Disney,” said UF Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joe Glover.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce projects that by 2021, 64 percent of Florida jobs will require a post-secondary degree.

“Disney sets the standard for customer experience and we are happy to partner with them to set the standard for education programs as well,” Glover added.

Disney is the third employer in UF Online’s growing Employer Pathways program, which launched in June. Walmart and Discover Financial Services are the two other major corporate partners that have also introduced generous education benefits for students that are qualified to gain admissions into UF Online.

“This UF Online and Disney partnership is another great step forward for future Gators. Able to enroll and complete their UF degree at no cost, and in a versatile online format, qualified Disney cast members now have an amazing opportunity to earn a UF degree and join the ranks of Gator grads across the state and around the world,” said Evangeline Tsibris Cummings, Assistant Provost and Director of UF Online.

“At The Walt Disney Company we strive to empower and support employees in their professional and personal lives,” said Jayne Parker, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for The Walt Disney Company. “We are constantly looking at ways to help people realize their ambitions and fulfill their dreams, and, as part of that, we are proud to offer Disney Aspire, the most comprehensive program of its kind.”

UF Online is the University of Florida’s online undergraduate experience. A highly selective and engaging online pathway to a UF degree, UF Online academic programs are all designed and taught by the very same faculty that teach on the University’s main Gainesville campus. Welcoming applications into 20 fully online bachelor’s degrees, UF Online currently serves over 3,000 students. And as of summer 2018, UF Online has celebrated the graduation of over 1,500 Gators through the UF Online pathway.