JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) last week announced plans to expand its JetBlue Scholars program to include pathways for crewmembers to earn master’s degrees at discounted and affordable rates. The current program provides access to online courses and personalized coaching for crewmembers pursuing undergraduate degrees from Thomas Edison State University, with JetBlue covering most of the costs. The addition of the Master’s Pathways and new partnerships will allow crewmembers to pursue master’s degrees through five regionally accredited institutions including City University of New York School of Professional Studies, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Thomas Edison State University, University of Maryland University College and Western Governors University.
Consistent with the airline’s mission of inspiring humanity, JetBlue Scholars adds a more human touch into the higher education process by easing complexity and financial burdens for crewmembers. The new JetBlue Scholars Master’s Pathways institution partners were selected based on their online graduate program offerings and commitment to expanding access to higher education, as well as affordability and quality of support available to students. These partnerships also add more flexibility in fields of study, price points and pace of learning, offering something for everyone who would like access to graduate level courses.
Since launching JetBlue Scholars in 2016, the top question from crewmembers has been about master’s degree opportunities. The evolution of the program comes as a direct response to crewmember requests for additional options at a significantly lower cost. Through the new Master’s Pathways, crewmembers will be able to earn advanced degrees in leadership, business management, information technology, aviation management or liberal arts. Each institution has its own admissions requirements and will offer specialized support to help guide crewmembers through the admissions and academic process. To apply, crewmembers must already have a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree.
“JetBlue Scholars was inspired by our crewmembers and we’re continuing to evolve the program based on their feedback,” said Rachel McCarthy, head of talent and learning at JetBlue. “Our partner institutions share similar values with JetBlue and together we’re removing some of the complexity from the process. The online format allows flexibility, and low costs combined with specialized support is a great combination for our Scholars to earn advanced degrees at their own pace. These new Master’s Pathways will open up even more opportunities for crewmembers.”
The JetBlue Scholars Master’s Pathways will offer a variety of benefits including potential tuition discounts and scholarships and access to specialized support services. JetBlue crewmembers will receive affordable rates with total costs averaging $13,000 - $30,000. For comparison, most other master’s programs costs are estimated at $30,000 - $120,000.
The current JetBlue Scholars program for undergraduate degrees has already proven to be successful. In year one, 50 crewmembers received their degrees from Thomas Edison State University, and to date more than 185 undergraduate degrees have been conferred. The undergraduate pathway goes well beyond standard tuition reimbursement. JetBlue Scholars provides access to alternative college credit options, innovative learning platforms, online courses and internal Success Coaches to help guide crewmembers throughout the journey. The Master’s Pathways are a natural extension of this type of programming designed around adult learners and their unique needs.
The History of JetBlue Scholars – JetBlue Scholars takes an unconventional approach to employer-sponsored education. JetBlue recognized the dilemma faced by many of its own crewmembers who were trying to return to higher education and charted a new, low-cost path to make college affordable again. Through an innovative partnership model, JetBlue unbundled the higher education system, step-by-step, to make it easier for crewmembers who have some previous college credits but did not know how to move forward to complete their degrees.
The JetBlue Scholars undergraduate pathway provides a clearer path and converts aviation and military training and other professional certificates into college credit, helping to reduce the time and cost for crewmembers to complete their undergraduate degrees. The program also utilizes high quality alternative college credit options, including new technology-based learning platforms like Study.com, Sophia.org and StraighterLine.com.
JetBlue Scholars by the Numbers
- 1,000+ crewmembers (employees) have participated in the program
- 700+ crewmembers currently enrolled
- 185+ degrees earned to date, with more on their way by the end of the year
- 5,000+ classes completed from alternative credit course providers including StraighterLine, Sophia, Study.com, and internally developed and ACE-reviewed courses
- 93 percent average course completion rate
- 16 months: average time to complete a bachelor’s degree
The portrait of the traditional college student is changing. Many full-time employees are looking to complete their degrees while still maintaining full-time jobs. Non-traditional students are now the norm. More than 31 million Americans have some college education and no degree. Low cost, high-quality “a la carte” options like JetBlue Scholars are making college more accessible and affordable. JetBlue Scholars has proven to be a valuable retention and development tool, leading to increased crewmember engagement and loyalty and resulting in a greater return on investment for JetBlue. For more information, visit www.jetbluescholars.com.
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