Chipotle Mexican Grill has extended a free tuition program for employees to a prominent university in Dallas.
The chain is expanding its "Debt-Free" degree program to include Paul Quinn College, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the U.S.
This will be the first HBCU in the program, says Marissa Andrada, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and People Officer at Chipotle, a very long title.
Other campuses participating include The University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Wilmington University.
"Ensuring we provide inclusive benefits and a support system for our employees and recognizing the importance of offering an HBCU in our education program will continue to aid in our efforts to cultivate a better world," Andrada says. "We want to provide employees with the tools to achieve their full potential and recognize that financial barriers can be one of the biggest obstacles for not furthering their education."
Known for its educational benefits, Chipotle covers 100 percent of tuition costs for more than 75 kinds of business and technology degrees for eligible employees through its partnership with Guild Education, an education benefits company.
Employees can apply after 120 days of employment.
Chipotle first launched its Cultivate Education program, in which employees could seek reimbursement for college costs, in 2016. They added the debt-free program, in which costs are covered up front, in 2019. More than 8,000 employees have received benefits.
The company has seen a retention rate of three and a half times higher among students enrolled in Cultivate Education.
Of those using the benefit, 85 percent of students are crew members, who are seven and a half times more likely to move into a management role within the organization.