The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Amazon Partnership Provides Tuition for Employees

Amazon’s Career Choice program now includes NKU.

August 3, 2022

NKU recently announced a new partnership with Amazon to provide employees with free or reduced tuition. 

Employees who work at Amazon for a minimum of 90 days can enroll in the Career Choice program. Full-time employees will receive $5,250 and part-time employees will receive $2,650 toward their tuition. 

This is the newest of around 20 employer partnerships NKU holds. Amazon also hosts similar partnerships with universities across the nation, so students can learn while they earn.

Carmen Hickerson, NKU Assistant Vice President of Economic Engagement and Government Relations, pointed out that this partnership was ideal since there are three regional Amazon facilities in the Northern Kentucky area. Participation in the program is not limited to this region, however. Employees from across the nation can enroll in the program, which is available for in-person, hybrid and online classes.

“This is a tremendous learn-while-you-earn benefit for employees of Amazon. [NKU] hopes that not only will we get some new students as a result of this, but that other employers will see what Amazon is doing, and how it’s an advantage in recruitment and retention, and perhaps offer the same thing to their employees,” Hickerson said. 

There is also no specific major required to receive the tuition benefits. Hickerson expects to see a continued influx in those majors that are already popular at NKU.

“We may see everything from the healthcare field to the College of Business, like business management. I would also think that there are some people who might be interested in technology fields, so the College of Informatics,” she said. 

Hickerson believes that such partnerships are a positive trend. Companies like Amazon being willing to invest in their employees is admirable, and students should seek out such benefits when looking for a job. 

“I think more and more you’re going to see this kind of thing. It’s going to be a competitive advantage for those employers who are willing to make this kind of investment, and NKU is excited and ready to be that partner,” she said.

Sophomore Joel Katterheinrich agrees with Hickerson, and for him the partnership could not have come at a better time.

The mechanical and manufacturing engineering major, who works at Amazon’s Hebron branch, had started the new job hunt when news of the partnership broke.

“I was actually in the process of looking for another job that offered some sort of tuition reimbursement,” Katterheinrich said.

Since NKU became part of Amazon’s Career Choice program, the sophomore has taken the necessary steps to enroll in the program, which he said was a straightforward process.

“It’s actually really easy. You log in with your work credentials, apply to the school, tell them what your major is, and enter your student information,” he said.

Katterheinrich sees even more benefit to the program than just reduced tuition, though. He pointed out that nearly all higher-level positions at Amazon require a Bachelor’s degree.

“It can be very difficult to balance having to go to work because I have to pay for school, and I’m trying to go to school so I can get a better job. For a lot of people, if they can take advantage of this program, they can obtain that Bachelor’s degree to help in their advancement in the company,” he said.

Katterheinrich spoke highly of his experience at Amazon and would recommend the company to college students, especially given the new benefits.

“I have the opportunity to only work two days a week, and I’m still eligible for this benefit as a part-time employee. I would encourage people to definitely explore that as an option.”

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