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August 18, 2018

UF News Release

UF Online partners with Discover Financial Services to fund employees seeking select bachelor's degrees

| 6/14/2018

Discover’s nearly 16,500 U.S.-based employees may seek admission to the University of Florida Online bachelor’s degree in business administration and if they are admitted, the company will cover tuition, and required fees, books and supplies for eligible employees.

The University of Florida today announces a second major partnership with one of the nation’s top employers to support future Gators that wish to earn their UF bachelors in business administration fully online.

Known as The Discover College Commitment, the Discover Financial Services employee benefit will cover tuition and required fees, books and supplies needed to complete select online degrees at one of three universities – the University of Florida Online, Wilmington University, a private, nonprofit university in Delaware, and Brandman University, a private, nonprofit university in California. The benefit has no tenure requirement so employees can start participating as soon as they want regardless of how long they have been with the company, including new employees on their first day.

“We look forward to partnering with Discover Financial and providing this opportunity for their employees to pursue a degree through UF Online,” said UF Provost Joe Glover. “Programs such as Discover Financial’s go to the heart of UF’s mission of making educational opportunities as accessible as possible and are especially valuable for people who wish to remain in the workforce while they pursue that degree.”

Jon Kaplan, vice president of training and development and Chief Learning Officer at Discover, noted some of the reasons behind the program.  “Investing in our employees and their futures will not only make us a stronger company, but have a lasting positive impact on those who might otherwise never get the chance to attend college,” he said.  “We will continue to cultivate an environment that encourages employees to have the professional development they seek because the company values their skills and contributions.”

This new partnership between UF Online and Chicago-headquartered, Discover Financial Services follows on the heels of the UF Online and Walmart partnership announcement announced May 30. These new employer partnership are now possible via the UF Online Employer Pathways Program, demonstrating what is possible when leadership and investment from the private sector combine with the versatility of a large, public university. 

“Realizing new partnerships with leading employers underscores our mission at UF Online to welcome students seeking an alternative to the campus experience yet also seeking a true university degree of high value,” said Evangeline Cummings, assistant provost and director of UF Online.  “The value of a UF degree will now be within reach for so many future Gators that may have been previously unable to attend due to financial or logistical constraints. Generous and ongoing support from employers like Discover will make it even more likely that these students will succeed and thrive in their UF education.”

Kaplan added: “Unlike a number of other large companies with degree-focused education-assistance programs, The Discover College Commitment Program combines full-ride funding toward the cost of a select bachelor’s degree with no limit on the amount of assistance an employee can receive, and our employees are eligible for this benefit on day one of employment. Working with select quality schools that yield positive results will also help our employees improve their chances of achieving a brighter financial future.”

The UF Online Employer Pathways program enables companies to partner with a top public university that has a robust online learning community and set of valuable online bachelor’s degrees.  UF Online is therefore able to serve qualified students that previously found a UF degree financially out of reach and students ultimately stand to benefit the most.

“The financial investment by these companies is just incredible but beyond the financial benefits, future UF students will be pursuing their online degree with a receptive employer that is not only aware of their studies but directly in support of them. UF Online looks forward to partnering with additional forward-thinking companies to ultimately help students thrive as they earn a degree and continue to work full-time,” Cummings said.

Launched in 2014, with ongoing support from the Florida legislature, UF Online provides greater access to the strong academics at UF, offering online pathways to 20 online bachelor’s degrees all designed and taught by the very same UF faculty that teach on UF’s main campus in Gainesville, Florida. Overall UF is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities: No. 9 in U.S. News & World Report “Top Public Universities” (September 2018). UF also is one of only six universities in the country with colleges of medicine, engineering, law, agriculture and veterinary medicine located on the same campus and one of 17 schools that are designated land, sea and space grant institutions.

For more information about the UF Online Employer Pathways Program, click here.

For more information about the Discover College Commitment program, including eligibility requirements, please click here.

This story is from UF News.

Tags: Education

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