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Part of Western Governors University

March 9, 2022

McDonald’s USA and WGU Launch Nationwide Partnership

McDonald’s restaurant employees* to have access to WGU’s competency-based college education at little to no cost** through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program and WGU tuition discounts and scholarships.

SALT LAKE CITY - McDonald’s and Western Governors University (WGU) today launched a partnership to help employees at company-owned and participating franchisee-owned restaurants nationwide to pursue their education by making college more affordable and attainable.

McDonalds Archways to Opportunity

Through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education program, employees at company-owned and participating franchisee-owned restaurants who work a minimum of 90 days at 15 hours per week are eligible for tuition assistance of up to $2,500 per year, for crew members, and up to $3,000 per year for managers. Through WGU’s competency-based education model, which measures learning instead of time spent in a classroom, eligible employees who are enrolled at the fully online, nonprofit university can put their on-the-job training toward the completion of their bachelor’s degree, allowing them to graduate faster.

“McDonald’s and its independent franchisees provide jobs to more than 850,000 people across the U.S. and are committed to creating workplaces where everyone – from crew to C-suite – is equally supported and empowered to realize their full potential at McDonald’s or elsewhere,” said Tiffanie Boyd, Chief People Officer of McDonald’s USA. “Bringing together the proven success of the Archways to Opportunity program and WGU’s online competency-based education model offers crew and managers the mobility and access they need for an affordable college education while they work.”  

“I am inspired by McDonald's and its franchisees’ commitment to help restaurant employees achieve their dreams. It’s a complement to WGU’s commitment to be the most student-centric university in the world,” said WGU President Scott Pulsipher. “Together, we recognize the inherent talent that McDonald’s and its franchisees’ employees possess, and no matter where they live, work, or what passion fuels their career aspirations, our partnership is designed to advance their skills, knowledge, and ability for their next opportunity.”

Since its launch in 2015, McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program has increased access to education for over 75,000 U.S. restaurant employees and awarded more than $165M in tuition assistance. 

In addition to tuition assistance through Archways to Opportunity and an accelerated pathway to earning a degree, the partnership provides the following benefits to eligible restaurant employees, resulting in little to no out-of-pocket costs** for those pursuing a degree through WGU Online:

  • Students and their families receive a 5 percent discount on tuition and are eligible for WGU-funded scholarships, ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Applicants who demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for the WGU Online Access Scholarship, which covers internet installation and monthly access costs and provides refurbished laptops—complete with a webcam—for the duration WGU students who qualify are active and in good standing.
  • Eligible students enrolling in WGU Academy can access an optional series of courses that prepare students with little to no college experience for their bachelor’s program, and will have 100 percent of their tuition covered through Archways to Opportunity. The typical cost for WGU Academy is $150 per month for the duration the student is enrolled. 
  • Restaurant employees who receive training through Hamburger University will be able to transfer their credits to WGU.

WGU’s competency-based education will allow restaurant employees to work with a WGU faculty mentor to support them along their personal journey to earn a degree. WGU’s flexible online model gives students the option to study, complete coursework and take tests on their schedule, and at their own pace with support along the way to ensure success. 

WGU offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the most in-demand workforce areas of business, IT, K-12 teacher education and health professions, including nursing. WGU typically offers students a flat-rate tuition of approximately $3,800 per six-month term, allowing them to take as many courses each term as possible without any added fees, and through the partnership, tuition will now be as little as zero cost** for eligible restaurant employees at McDonald’s company-owned and participating franchisee-owned restaurants.

For more information about WGU and McDonald’s partnership, visit To learn more about the McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education program, visit any participating McDonald’s restaurant or the Archways to Opportunity website

*Most McDonald’s restaurants are operated by independent franchisees who are independent employers and set their own employment policies and practices, including pay and benefits for the people working in their restaurants. McDonald's does not control independent franchisees’ employment policies and practices and does not employ those working at franchised restaurants.  The benefits described here are available at McDonald’s-owned restaurants and the restaurants of participating franchisees. Each franchisee makes the independent decision, like with any benefit for their employees, whether to participate in the Archways to Opportunity program.
**Costs for WGU tuition and learning resource fees billed by the University will be covered by federal financial aid (if applicable), Archways to Opportunity tuition assistance, WGU tuition discounts and WGU scholarships.

About McDonald's 

McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by business men and women. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook at

About McDonald's USA Education Efforts

To serve up bright futures and provide opportunity for education and skills in the communities we serve, McDonald’s has created numerous initiatives and programs. The Archways to Opportunity® program provides eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/career advising services, and learn English as a second language (ESL). Since 2015, the education program has increased access to education for over 75,000 people and awarded more than $165M million in high school and college tuition assistance. Additional efforts include scholarship and mentoring opportunities through the Black & Positively Golden HBCU Scholarship Fund and the Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program; college application assistance through  the HACER® Education Tour; and support of the Boys & Girls Club of America's diplomas2Degrees program to familiarize teens with post-secondary education opportunities. Together, with our independent Owner/Operators, we are committed to feeding and fostering our communities.

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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