Written by Anne-Marie HaysAnne-Marie Hays is a Content Management Intern with Best Company. She enjoys comedy, hates crowds, and loves that you are reading this bio.
On November 1, ride sharing company Uber and Arizona State University announced a new educational pilot program offering eligible Uber drivers free tuition through ASU Online.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and ASU President Michael M. Crow published an op-ed about the program in the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, explaining the new program’s aims and goals.
How does it work?
It all starts with Uber Pro, a rewards platform available as a pilot program in eight locations across the country. The program currently includes all drivers in Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Seattle and randomly selected drivers in Denver, New Jersey, Orlando, and Tampa Bay.
The program gives drivers special perks and opportunities based on points accrued. They get rewards like savings on gas, car maintenance discounts, and roadside assistance, as well as the new tuition program. Drivers earn points to determine their rank in a special tiered system, The tiers start with Partner, then increase to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond level status.
Drivers will be eligible for the tuition benefit at the Platinum and Diamond levels if they have completed 3,000 Uber trips.
One of the awesome things about this program is that drivers who have earned the opportunity through the Uber program can, instead of using the benefit themselves, give it to a family member. This includes a domestic partner, spouse, child, sibling, parent, legal guardian, or dependent.
Arizona State University has been ranked the most innovative school in the United States for four years running by US News & World Report. It’s no wonder that Uber went to ASU to build this partnership. The school already has a similar tuition program with coffee megagiant Starbucks, aimed at giving employees the benefit of an education.
The Starbucks College Achievement Plan was introduced in 2014, as a way for eligible employees to earn a bachelor's degree, also through ASU Online with no cost for tuition. Eligibility is based on working an average of 20 hours per week and workers who already have a bachelor's degree are not eligible. If you have served, or are serving in the military, you can give the benefit to a family member.
The Uber Pro and the ASU program starts in the eight selected locations and will be launched more broadly after pilot program feedback. As Khosrowshahi and Crow said in their op-ed, “[W]orking together, we can deliver a more inclusive future where everyone has the chance to get ahead.” This is certainly a great move for the company to improve its image and morale among drivers who are merely freelancing at their Uber gig. It will also bring renewed job interest among those who are looking for both a flexible job and a leg up for their family’s future.
You can learn more about the program at uber.asu.edu.