Miami University announced a new partnership with Amazon on Jan. 13. The partnership offers Amazon employees the opportunity to pursue higher education at Miami’s regional campuses through Amazon's Career Choice Program, which helps employees pay for tuition at affiliated institutions.
Alecia Lipton, associate director of media relations at Miami, said that many employees taking advantage of this program are working full time and gravitate toward the online option or taking evening classes on the closer regional campuses.
“So often people will say, ‘I wish I could go back to school, but I can’t because of the cost,’ or ‘I can’t because of the work schedule,’” Lipton said. “With this partnership with Amazon, we’re able to give those people not only an education, but a Miami education.”
Ande Durojaiye, vice president and dean for Miami’s regional campuses, said the process of Amazon picking an institution is competitive.
“Amazon has to learn about the institution — the programs you have, the accessibility of the programs — and make sure that it can be [something] their employees benefit from,” Durojaiye said.
Amazon’s program offers a maximum of $5,250 per year to put toward a higher education curriculum at Miami.
“If a student has a combination of scholarships and the money from Amazon, they can cover their entire cost of tuition,” Durojaiye said.
Amazon’s offered amount, combined with scholarship eligibility, creates an accessible financial opportunity for an education online or at Miami’s Hamilton, Middletown or West Chester regional campuses.
Considering this application process, Devon Cox, regional associate director of admission recruitment, said that even with a possibility of a paid education, Miami’s application procedure stays the same.
Applicants are eligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), apply for grants and loans and apply for scholarships if they meet the requirements of a full-time undergraduate student.
With the students’ search for funds to create a possible college education, Amazon is investing $1.2 billion to educate more than 300,000 employees by 2025 in the U.S.
“[It’s] a really big bonus for [the Amazon employees] to know that they are earning money, but also that they’re earning skills … to improve in their career,” Cox said. These lifetime skills can lead to job security.
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This recent partnership also meets demand for working adults who want to continue their educational journey for their current or future roles.
Durojaiye said Amazon and other large companies recognize the importance of higher education and are supporting educational opportunities by partnering with institutions like Miami.
“[The partnership allows] for Miami to engage with a major company that’s employing individuals from all walks of life, and it’s [also] a chance for Miami to showcase the amazing educational opportunity that we have for those individuals,” Durojaiye said. “[It’s] a pathway for Amazon employees to advance in higher education … We can [now] expand our footprint, expand who we connect with, and really show that Miami is committed to educating all.”
Three students have enrolled in the program for spring, and Lipton said she sees this partnership continuing, especially through word of mouth of the employees who had good experiences. She believes this program will only grow in numbers when the summer hits and August applications start to roll in.