Community-Focused Corporate Giving
Walmart began as a single store in 1962, and after fifty years owned a total of 10,626 retail outlets, including Walmart locations in the U. S. and abroad and a subsidiary called Sam’s Clubs. It is the world’s largest retailer, keeping both its prices and its wages low and providing inexpensive imported goods. In terms of growth and profitability, the business model has succeeded in spectacular fashion.
Walmart’s philanthropic arm is called the Walmart Foundation, and Walmart employees also contribute volunteer service to their communities. Walmart’s corporate gifts include grants to local agencies like chapters of the YWCA and the USO, nonprofits that house the homeless and feed the hungry, and communities trying to rebuild after disasters. In addition to the scholarships described below, which are given to Walmart’s employees and their dependents, Walmart donates money to minority scholarship providers like the American Indian College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Both types of scholarship currently offered by Walmart require that you be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the U. S. in order to apply. You must be able to document financial need, and if you already have a way to pay your school expenses you are not also eligible for a scholarship from Walmart.
Walmart Associate Scholarship
The Walmart Associate Scholarship specifies that your employment with Walmart must extend at least six consecutive months before the date the application is due. You must be a graduate of high school or home school, or about to graduate, and a GED is also acceptable. Those about to graduate from high school must apply no earlier than six months before starting college.
There are three relevant sets of documents you should read, including guidelines for the program, frequently asked questions, and a checklist and cover sheet to print out. You must create an online account to apply, and meet certain criteria before entering your application (this portion of the process is called the online quiz). Pay special attention to what you will be asked in this step, because you will not be able to apply if you don’t provide satisfactory answers.
As of 2013, the most you can collect from the associate scholarship is a total of $16,000 over six years, although if you complete your degree before that total is reached your ability to renew the award will end. Walmart has set up a renewal system on the web, so you can renew online when your school wants you to do so. There are four renewal windows each year.
There are three different levels of funding distributed according to the type of school you attend:
- American Public University (APU): award ranges from $500 for between three and six credit hours to $1,000 for 12 credit hours.
- Two-year program (community college or other certificate-granting school): award terms are the same as for an APU.
- Four-year program or graduate school: award varies between $750 for between three and six credit hours to $1,500 for 12 credit hours.
There are also annual funding limits, based on Walmart’s fiscal year: $1,500 for a certificate program, $2,000 for an associate or graduate degree, and $3,000 for a bachelors degree. Renewal requirements include a transcript of your most recent grades showing a GPA of 2.0, plus proof of both successful completion of at least three credit hours and registration for another period in school. Walmart requires you to request at least two awards per year, in order to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to earning your academic credentials.
Walmart Dependent Scholarship
The Walmart Dependent Scholarship is reserved for legal dependents of Walmart employees whose employment spans at least six consecutive months as of the annual spring deadline. Dependents of corporate management (vice president and above, board members) are not eligible. The high school equivalency requirements are the same as for the associate scholarship, but to be eligible for a scholarship in the current year, your graduation must occur within the stated annual timeframe (for example, August 1, 2012-July 31, 2013).
The online documentation provided for the dependent scholarship is very similar to that discussed above, with a few points of difference. You must have a GPA of 2.0 on a four-point scale and enroll in the fall at a two- or four-year school as a full-time freshman. Your school must be not only accredited but found on this list from the U. S. Department of Education. A military academy is not an approved institution, and if you enter a two-year school, you must transfer to a four-year school by the third year (which you would have to do in any event to earn a four-year degree).
The cumulative funding limit is $13,000 in four consecutive years of full-time attendance. To receive your award money (usually $1,625 per disbursement), you must fill out a Scholarship Acceptance Agreement, and that will be required for each payment. Payments are made once in each school term. Eligible expenses include tuition, room and board, textbooks, and fees.