Benefits extend to over 8,000 McDonald’s crew members across Kansas City, St. Joseph, cities in Eastern Kansas, and Nebraska

Columbia College and McDonald’s owner-operators across the Great Plains Co-Op announced an expansion of the educational alliance that will provide discounted tuition to more than 8,000 restaurant employees at approximately 240 locations across Missouri, Eastern Kansas, and Nebraska. Students who take classes online or at one of Columbia College’s locations nationwide will also have access to the Truition® program, which offers a transparent look at the cost of college by eliminating some fees and providing books at no cost.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to offer quality, affordable educational opportunities to McDonald’s team members,” said Stephanie Johnson, the college’s interim vice president of Enrollment Management and Marketing. “Aligning with a global brand like McDonald’s and helping its restaurant employees advance in their careers is in lockstep with our mission of changing lives through education.”

Columbia College is offering a discounted tuition rate to all McDonald’s restaurant employees who are looking to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education program. The program provides eligible restaurant employees a chance to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language. Restaurant managers can receive up to $3,000 in college tuition assistance and crew members can receive up to $2,500. Last year, the Great Plains Co-Op awarded over $408,000 in college tuition assistance. All eligible employees taking advantage of Archways to Opportunity and attending classes at Columbia College will also benefit from the discounted tuition rate, free schoolbooks and waived fees.

“As local owner-operators, we take pride in each member of our team, and we are dedicated to seeing them succeed both in their jobs and beyond. And that begins with their education,” said Lisa Essig, McDonald’s owner-operator and Great Plains Co-Op president. “The McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program is a tremendous resource for our crew and managers, and Columbia College is a perfect partner to provide our team a great option for online higher education learning and career advancement. We’re proud to collaborate with Columbia College.”

Since its inception in 2015, McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program has increased access to education for nearly 55,000 people and awarded more than $100 million in tuition assistance. This shows McDonald’s ongoing commitment to increasing education accessibility across the workforce.

As co-chair of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Board of Directors, Gov. Mike Parsons recognizes that Missouri’s future depends on having a prepared workforce and applauds the alliance between the McDonald’s Great Plains Co-Op and Columbia College. “Great partnerships between organizations like McDonald’s and Columbia College make education more accessible and equip students with the skills and resources they need to be successful, which is critical to developing a strong workforce,” Governor Parson said. “This program is an excellent opportunity for our citizens to sharpen their skill sets, advance in their careers, and move our economy forward.”

Columbia College offers six class sessions lasting eight weeks each, allowing students to complete their degree quickly. Students can earn an associate degree in 20 months, a bachelor’s degree in 3 1/2 years, and a master’s degree in just 12 months. The college is very transfer-friendly, which may allow a student to graduate even earlier if they have previously attended an accredited institution.

Restaurant locations across Missouri, Eastern Kansas, and Nebraska expect to hire more than 8,000 restaurant employees this summer who can qualify for this educational benefit after an eligibility period of 90 days. Job seekers can visit to learn more and apply to a restaurant near them.