- Ride-share company Uber is expanding its education benefits to include food-delivery drivers, the company announced Thursday.
- The program, which is available in 200 cities worldwide, gives drivers or their family members access to tuition-free degrees through Arizona State University's online program.
- The benefit was introduced last year as part of a company-wide incentive program, Uber Pro, and reflects growing interest among employers in subsidizing postsecondary credentials as a way to recruit and retain workers.
Uber Pro rewards drivers with points based on the number of rides they give or deliveries they make, and the quality of ratings they earn. In addition to free college tuition, perks include discounts on vehicle maintenance, cash back on gas purchases and faster pickup times at airports. The company has tailored the benefit slightly to Uber Eats drivers.
To qualify for the tuition benefit, drivers must obtain a certain ranking in the Uber Pro or Uber Eats Pro programs. Drivers can transfer the benefit to close family members. Uber covers the degrees upfront, rather than reimbursing students for costs.
The move helps Uber address a shortage of quality food-delivery drivers, especially considering that most such companies view their drivers as independent operators. Competitors including Postmates, DoorDash and GrubHub have also expanded perks for their drivers.
Arizona State and Uber teamed in November 2018 to pilot the program in eight cities. It is broader than the university's arrangement with Starbucks to offer educational benefits because it includes family members.
Earlier this month, fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle announced it is offering its workers tuition-free degrees at a handful of universities through Guild Education. That organization also delivers Walmart's $1-a-day degree, which the company expanded earlier this year with more program options and a path for high school students.
Other major employers have announced hefty tuition benefits in recent months, including Papa John's and Southwest, which is using the concept to recruit future pilots amid a pending shortage of qualified workers.