Co-Op Empowers Small Businesses to Offer Affordable College Degrees to Employees

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New initiative at Southern New Hampshire University will help small businesses to attract, retain, and promote employees.

College for America at Southern New Hampshire University is now opening its door to small businesses interested offering their employees the chance to pursue high-quality, low-cost college degree programs. Major companies like Anthem, Starbucks and Chrysler are already part of a growing trend to offer their employees no- or low-cost college degrees, but small businesses often lack the resources to enter similar partnerships.

The College for America Co-op allows small businesses, nonprofits, and governments with fewer than 1,000 employees to give their workforce access to College for America’s affordable degree programs. The co-op gives small business employees access to College for America degree programs that are offered at $2,500 tuition annually, which is significantly less than other comparable programs. There is no fee to join the co-op. After signing up online, co-op partners can download free materials to inform their employees about the college opportunity. Small business owners, HR personnel, or administrators can sign up at

“College for America has been a catalyst in helping us to move working adults through the formal college education process and into a position that readies them for advancement,” said Catherine F. Lamson, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of MEMIC, a workers' compensation insurance company with about 350 employees. “The feedback received from those who have completed the program is nothing less than outstanding. We couldn't be more pleased with our partnership with College for America and with the positive results we see from our employees, and offering this program allows us to be more competitive with larger companies when recruiting and retaining talent.”

At a time when 94 percent of business leaders cite the need to build talent leadership and 87 percent raise concerns over employees missing skills for promotion, College for America is helping to bridge that divide. Of College for America’s first year associate’s degree graduates, more than half report getting a promotion or increased responsibilities at work, nine out of ten are still with the same employer and two thirds have gone on to enroll in the bachelor’s program. In a more recent survey, 89 percent of College for America students say their work helps build skills applicable to their currents jobs.

“We have seen how valuable business-education partnerships have been for employers and students alike – they have proven to increase employee retention, employee satisfaction and has also resulted in promotions all while building valuable workforce skills,” said Kris Clerkin, executive director of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. “Why not give small businesses, often the backbones of our communities, the same opportunities to build a stronger, loyal and more talented workforce?”

College for America degree programs are competency-based, directly applicable in the workplace, and designed to accommodate the busy lives of working adults. College for America graduates earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, at their own pace, from Southern New Hampshire University—a fully accredited, nonprofit university. Many organizations reimburse the full cost of the $2500 tuition using existing tuition assistance programs. 70% of College for America students are earning their degree without any debt, and 21% with less than $5000 in debt.

About College for America at Southern New Hampshire University
College for America at Southern New Hampshire University offers affordable, workforce-applicable higher education to working adults by partnering with employers nationwide. Since its launch, CfA has enrolled more than 3,000 students from more than 70 employers. It offers accredited associate’s and bachelor’s degrees that working adults earn online by mastering competencies through real-world projects. Its tuition is only $2,500 per year, which is often covered by employers’ tuition assistance programs. CfA was the nation’s first competency-based, fully accredited higher education provider to be approved for federal financial aid, independent of the traditional credit hour model.

Southern New Hampshire University is an accredited, nonprofit, private university with a focus on student success and a reputation for innovation in higher education. SNHU was named one of the “50 Most Innovative Organizations in the World” by Fast Company magazine in 2012 and is one of the fastest-growing nonprofit providers of online higher education in the country. The university’s home is a 300-acre main campus in Manchester, NH, and it offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, five continuing education centers across Northern New England, and the College for America degree program for working adults and employers.


Additional resources:
College for America students outperform traditional two-year college students

College for America graduate results

College for America students have high opinions of the university

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