Brandman University Helps Expand Debt-Free College Degree Offerings to 1.5 Million Walmart Associates

Degree offerings provide opportunities for associates to upskill & thrive as job roles shift; 35,000 people are working in U.S. Walmart stores in roles that did not exist two years ago

IRVINE, Calif.--()--Brandman University today announced plans to provide pathways to computing technology and information technology college degrees for all U.S. Walmart associates through its partnership with Guild Education that works with Walmart to administer the program. Today’s action coincides with Walmart’s earlier announcement that the retailer is expanding the number of colleges and debt-free degree options through Live Better U. Brandman remains the only California-based institution among the expanded six nonprofit universities.

“I commend Walmart for their efforts to connect more than a million associates to U.S. universities that are purposefully designed to help working adults achieve college degrees that accelerate upward mobility,” said Brandman University Chancellor Gary Brahm. “Selecting the right college is daunting. There are tremendous differences in completion rates and the quality of the degrees that are conferred, especially among online colleges. Both Walmart and Guild Education are diligent in understanding these important distinctions. I look forward to serving even more Walmart associates with new opportunities to grow and advance in their careers.”

In 2018, Brandman was one of three universities chosen by Walmart, in partnership with Guild Education, to offer an associate or bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and a bachelor’s degree in business. Identifying universities known for helping working adults succeed is important for the employer and the student. First-generation students and individuals who enter the workforce immediately after high school, and who desire to attend college years later, have limited access to information and support systems that help navigate the college selection and admissions process. This lack of support often leads to poor choices, high debt, and no college degree.

Since the partnership was announced, more than 7,500 Walmart associates from all 50 states have been accepted into at least one of the programs at the three original university partners, Brandman, Bellevue and the University of Florida as of May 2019.

According to Walmart, 35,000 people are working in U.S. stores in roles that did not exist two years ago. For Brandman’s technology degrees, industry-recognized certifications provide stackable credentials toward a degree. For example, as a student moves through the Bachelor of Science Information Technology degree, they will earn various IT industry recognized certifications. If the student has already obtained any of these certifications prior to admission or outside of Brandman during enrollment in the degree program, the student will receive transfer credit and competency equivalent credit toward degree completion. Brandman has also evaluated Walmart’s on-the-job training through its Academy program and provides transfer credit toward degree completion.

Live Better U is part of Walmart’s efforts to ensure associates have educational opportunities to stay in front of changes in the workplace. According to a Pew Research Center survey, a majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training are essential to career success.

Public statements provided by Walmart and Guild Education:

“Walmart values learning in all forms, and we are committed to creating a workforce of lifelong learners and instilling in them excitement for retail and a passion for serving customers,” said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “Access to higher education is one way to grow your career. So, in addition to providing people with an entry to the workforce and access to our on-the-job training, I’m proud Walmart also offers our associates programs like Live Better U to help them achieve their educational goals.”

“Since launching with Guild a year ago, thousands of Walmart associates have now headed back to school debt-free, collectively saving tens of millions of dollars in student debt,” said Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education. "Walmart is on track to leading the nation's largest education benefits program, with programs that set their employees up for success."

According to Walmart’s 2019 Environmental, Social & Sustainability report:

  • 1.5 million associates are working in stores in thousands of U.S. communities. (p.85)
  • 35,000 people are working in U.S. Walmart stores in roles that didn’t exist two years ago. (p.45)
  • For many entry-level hourly positions, Walmart does not require degrees and has “banned the box” to lower barriers to entering the workforce. Through Walmart Academy and Live Better U associates are able to increase their skills, knowledge and social mobility. (p.47)
  • 75% of Walmart U.S. store operation management team members started as hourly employees (p.47).

About Brandman University: Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative curriculum and strong support services designed to help working students succeed in spite of busy schedules. Brandman serves about 25,000 students seeking licenses, credentials or degrees, of which 13,000 are on a college degree path. Programs are offered via Brandman’s fully online college, and through hybrid learning at 25 campuses spread throughout California and Washington. Brandman is the sole California provider of Competency-Based-Education through Brandman MyPath.


Terri M. Carbaugh
949-383-3150 or 916-801-8300 (mobile)

Release Summary

Brandman University to provide computing and information technology college degrees for all U.S. Walmart associates through Guild Education.


Terri M. Carbaugh
949-383-3150 or 916-801-8300 (mobile)